Simon Clarke wins the 5th stage, Wout van Aert stays in yellow, Tadej Pogacar wins time, Primoz Roglic loses big

Simon Clarke wins the 5th stage, Wout van Aert stays in yellow, Tadej Pogacar wins time, Primoz Roglic loses big

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Unbreathable. Until the end. In the dust raised by the crossing of 11 cobblestone sectors between Lille and Arenberg, the 109th Tour de France experienced its first major skimming this Wednesday. The Jumbo-Visma first experienced a nightmare, with the fall of Wout van Aert then that of Primoz Roglic, with a mechanical incident in the meantime suffered by Jonas Vingegaard.

If the first finally kept his jersey, 13 seconds ahead of the breakaway Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost), all suffered the law of Tadej Pogacar, the main beneficiary of this 5th stage won by Simon Clarke (Israel – Premier Tech) . Roglic is the big loser: he lost more than 2 minutes on his compatriot, double defending champion.

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He fell and then dodged a car: Van Aert got hot

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Untenable, at ease on the cobblestones as if he were playing in his garden, the 23-year-old Slovenian multiplied the battering before flying away with Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) 19 km from the finish, in sector 3. This duo seemed to be able to come back to the “morning” breakaway for a time, made up of six riders before Alexis Gougeard was won and then the polka dot jersey Magnus Cort Nielsen, on the attack for the fourth day in a row. The gap fell to 38 seconds but the leading quartet then went back on the gas to explain themselves for the victory.

One puncture, three bike changes: Vingegaard in panic

Glory day for veteran Clarke

The best-placed rider in the breakaway, 1’13” behind Van Aert, Neilson Powless seemed in a position to score a double blow (victory and yellow jersey) by attacking under the red flame with the apparent blessing of his breakaway companions. At the wrong time, Edvald Boasson Hagen (TotalEnergies) ended up chasing him. Powless got stuck, but so did the Norwegian!

And it was after a sprint sprint, between lumberjacks, that Clarke beat Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux). A close victory, confirmed at the photo-finish. It is his first victory on the Tour (excluding CLM by team), at 35, and the third on a Grand Tour after two stages on the Vuelta in 2012 and 2018.

A crazy final like the stage: Clarke’s victory at the photo-finish

Van Aert, miraculous yellow jersey

Behind, the suspense remained intact for the yellow jersey. If Powless has long been the virtual leader, until the last hectometres, Pogacar was also in the game since he was only 32 seconds behind Van Aert this Wednesday morning. It was a match of three – even four with Boasson Hagen -, from a distance, and paradoxically “WVA” rolled less for its own account than for that of its leaders.

Victim himself of a fall before the start of the cobblestones – but also of a huge fright going up in the line of cars – the Belgian had to put away his personal ambitions when Vingegaard suffered a mechanical incident, at 37 km from the goal. He got up to wait for him and rode like a teammate to try to bring his leader back to the first group of favorites, something done less than 10 km from the line. And we saw him redouble his efforts in the last hectometres, the imperative to limit the gap on Pogacar linking perfectly with his desire to keep the yellow jersey, saved by a miracle, it must be said.

After his fall, Van Aert narrowly avoids another accident

Pogacar impresses, Roglic cashes

In the meantime, Pogacar had therefore spun. Basically, the accounting operation remains minimal for the Slovenian, who only took 13 seconds over his main rivals who arrived in a group of 46 units (Vingegaard therefore, Vlasov, Thomas, Martinez, Bardet, Mas, Yates, Gaudu but also Martin and Pinot). But it still remains a huge punch on the table from the leader of UAE Emirates. Worthy of a Tour boss.

Big names were missing in the yellow jersey group. First trapped, victim of a mechanical incident, Ben O’Connor (AG2R-Citroën) spent 3’21” on Pogacar. But it is indeed Primoz Roglic who will therefore be remembered as the big loser. Falling 30 terminals from the finish, hit in the shoulder, the Slovenian benefited from the support of three teammates – Jumbo-Visma therefore cut itself in half for each of its leaders – but still lost 2’08 ” on “Pogi”.

The Tour has lost its first rider. He is a leader. Jack Haig (Bahrain-Victorious) did not start again after his crash. Michael Gogl (Alpecin-Deceuninck) did not finish either. They are only 174 in this Grande Boucle. But many have already left feathers.

“I felt good from the first sectors”: Gaudu relieved after the cobblestones

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The peloton shudders in front of the cobblestones: “We’re scared but we want to go”

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Pogacar: “When I saw that Van Aert had dropped Vingegaard, I stopped worrying”

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