Outgoing champion Tadej Pogacar (UAE – Team Emirates) won the fifth stage of the 108th Tour de France, the 27.2 kilometer individual time trial from Changé to Laval. The Slovenian champion was 19 “ahead of the European Champion, the Swiss Stefan Kung (Groupama FDJ), with the young Dane Jonas Vinegaard (Jumbo Visma) surprising third at 27”. Tooth and nail, Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin Fenix) kept the yellow jersey with a lead of just eight seconds over Pogacar. Wout van Aert, fourth today, climbs to third place in the ranking exactly half a minute behind his historic Dutch antagonist.
The fraction went the way UAE – Team Emirates wanted with its captain who inflicted heavy gaps on the opponents, but avoided winning the yellow jersey. At least until Saturday, when the race meets the Alps, Alpecin will have to bear the weight of the record. Meanwhile, Pogacar can boast a substantial advantage over his direct opponents for the final victory in Paris: Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers), who has dropped to ninth in the standings, is 1m36 “behind while his compatriot Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma), which follows closely the Ecuadorian in the ranking, is exactly one hundred seconds behind the winner of the last Grande Boucle. To say that the Tour is already over might be premature. However, something extraordinary will have to happen to prevent the 22-year-old from Komenda from repeating last year’s success.
With the classification well defined, the sixth stage is scheduled for tomorrow. We will travel from Tours to Châteauroux along 161 km of almost total plain. A group sprint looms, hopefully without falls.