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Tour de France 2021: Stage 5 preview

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Stage 5 profile 2021 Tour de France

Stage 5 profile (Image credit: ASO)
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Stage 5 map 2021 Tour de France

Stage 5 map (Image credit: ASO)

Stage 5: Changé - Laval

Date: June 30, 2021 

Distance: 27.2km 

Stage timing: 12:15 - 16:50 CEST

Stage type: Individual Time Trial

There hasn’t been a time trial as long as this 27.2-kilometre test in the first week of the Tour since 2008. Inevitably, it will provide the most significant opportunity so far for the GC favourites to show their colours, with the best rouleurs likely to establish substantial gaps on the pure climbers.

This is very much the home patch of Madiot brothers Marc and Yvon who head the management team at Groupama-FDJ, and in Stefan Küng the French outfit will have one of the favourites for success on this course. Defending Tour champion Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and 2018 winner Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) should also find it to their liking, while for climbers such as Groupama’s David Gaudu and Arkea-Samsic’s Nairo Quintana this will be a day that’s all about containing their losses.

Feedback from the reconnaissance that various Tour big hitters have undertaken suggests this is the more challenging of the race’s two TTs, the terrain more undulating and the descents more technical. The course begins in Changé, a small town just to the north of Laval, and heads northwards from there, mixing long straights with a couple of twisting sections and undulating all the while to reach St-Germain-le-Fouilloux.

Turning east, the route descends gradually through Saint-Jean-de-Mayenne to reach the first intermediate checkpoint after 8.8km. Beyond here, it rises steadily again on the main road that skirts Louverné. The TT specialists should take advantage of this section through to the second checkpoint at Bonchamp-lès-Laval with 10km to go.

Switching west towards Laval, the closing section mixes longish straights with sharp corners. Entering Laval itself, the riders will cross the waters of the Mayenne, swing hard right to follow the river bank, and then switch away from it for the final two kilometres, the course twisting and rising as it nears the finish at the Espace Mayenne exhibition centre in Laval.

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