Live: 2012 Tour de France – Stage 5 – Rouen to Saint-Quentin
Tour de France 2012 (Poster by Chungkong)
Join me later today for live coverage of Stage 5 of the 2012 Tour de France. The 197-kilometer route runs from Rouen, where the riders finished yesterday, to Saint-Quentin. Live coverage will begin at 9:00pm AEST with updates throughout the stage.
What can be said about this one? It’s pancake flat. Not a single categorised climb for the entire 197km.
There are really only two ways I see this playing out.
First, a break goes with not a single rider even close to the yellow jersey of Cancellara, and the main field lets them have so much time that someone from the break will end up winning.
If this ends up being the scenario, I would expect an insanely fast start to the stage because until a proper combination of riders gets away, Radioshack-Nissan will likely chase everything down.
On the other hand, I see this stage being controlled by teams who have sprinters capable of winning. We know that Sky isn’t going to do a lick of work because they are mainly concerned with keeping Wiggins protected.
However, the Stage 4 win to Lotto-Belisol’s Andrew Greipel means the team will be eager to set him up again. And Orica-GreenEDGE will undoubtedly be doing the same for Goss. Lampre was on the front today trying to set up Petacchi, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they tried the same thing tomorrow.
Unless a break survives, this will be a finish for the sprinters. I’m hoping we get to see another head-to-head sprint between Cavendish and Greipel. Yesterday’s finish was marred by a crash, in which Cavendish went down.
If he manages to stay upright, I’m predicting another win for Cav. Greipel appears to be very strong and he is definitely my second choice. Sagan, while great at positioning himself, just doesn’t appear to have the kick to contest the sprint against Cav or Greipel.
But if I had to pick who will be in the top 5, Cavendish, Goss, Greipel, Petacchi, Sagan – in alphabetical order.