Tour de France: Pogacar smashes stage 5 time trial

Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) laid down a weighty marker at the Tour de France as he claimed victory in the stage 5 time trial to Laval. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) put up fierce resistance to retain the yellow jersey by 8 seconds, but it is clear that the road to overall victory at this race runs through the defending champion.

Pogačar made light work of the rolling 27km test from Changé to Laval, setting the best time at each of the intermediate checks and he clocked an average speed of 51kph as he beat European time trial champion Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) by 18 seconds.

At that juncture, Pogačar looked set to move into the yellow jersey to boot, but Van der Poel conjured up a fine finishing effort to finish 5th on the stage at 31 seconds, and thus hold onto the overall lead by 8 seconds.

While Pogačar missed out an early stint in the maillot jaune, he had the considerable consolation of gaining significant ground on all of the men with designs on wearing it in Paris. He picked up 44 seconds on his fellow countryman Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), 1:18 on Geraint Thomas (Ineos), 1:41 on Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma), 1:43 on Richard Carapaz (Ineos), 1:48 on Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) and 2:08 on Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar).

Just five days into the Tour, Pogačar already finds himself 1:36 clear of Carapaz, 1:40 ahead of Roglič and 1:46 up on Thomas. Last September, the youngster came from behind in the most dramatic of circumstances at La Planche des Belles Filles. This time out, the onus is on Roglič et al to conjure up a response once the race hits the mountains. On Wednesday’s evidence, it will not be straightforward.

“It was just a really good day today. I didn't do any mistakes,” Pogačar said. “It was perfect weather for me but sadly some guys went out on wet roads. Luckily I had perfect conditions and also the temperature for me was perfect. Today was a really good day for me.

"I checked the course. In the last few time trials I did mistakes because I started super fast. Here with little climbs, I started pacing myself pretty good and found a perfect rhythm until the end.

"The goal was not to lose time, but I gained time so I'm super happy. I'm just excited for the whole Tour. I would love to have the yellow jersey but Mathieu looks super nice, so it's fine.”

Van der Poel began the stage just 8 seconds up on Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and 31 ahead of Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), both of whom set out with realistic ambitions of moving into yellow. Neither Van Aert (4th at 30 seconds) nor Alaphilippe (14th at 1:11) ever looked entirely comfortable on the course, however, while Van der Poel strained every sinew to defend his lead.

The Dutchman was 7 seconds down on Pogačar at the first check after 8.5km and 22 seconds down at the second after 17km, but he did enough to finish the day in 5th on the stage, 30 seconds behind the Slovenian. He keeps yellow by 8 seconds, with Van Aert 3rd at 30 seconds and Alaphilippe a further 18 seconds back in 4th.

“I surprised myself today. I have to thank the team, we worked until midnight on the bike fit to try and get some more watts,” said Van der Poel. “I pushed myself beyond my limits, I am super proud of myself. I knew the last 2km were decisive. I had some left in the tank - I'm really proud of myself. I said yesterday I thought I would lose the jersey and it wasn't a lie. It's not my specialty but I've outdone myself today."

How it unfolded

While Van der Poel outdid himself, a number of general classification contenders were essentially riding within themselves, handicapped by the injuries sustained in crashes earlier in the week.

Roglič fell heavily in the fraught finale to stage 3 and he was clearly shy of his best here, even if he still produced a consistent display across the course to place 7th on the stage, 44 seconds down on the flying Pogačar. Last September, his Jumbo-Visma team looked to control the Tour. This time out, they will have to find a way to prise it open.

“It’s hard, definitely. All the time trials are always very painful, let’s say it like that,” Roglič said. “But I just missed some power. I really squeezed totally everything out of myself. I stand behind it and I’m super proud of myself.”

It was a similar kind of an afternoon for Thomas. This time trial should have been an opportunity for him to gain time on Pogačar et al, but after dislocating his shoulder on Monday, his expectations lowered accordingly. He took 16th on the stage, 1:18 down on Pogačar.

The early pace-setter in the hot seat was Pogačar’s teammate Mikkel Bjerg, who finished the stage in 11th place, but it was a more trying afternoon for another UAE Team Emirates rider, Brandon McNulty, who crashed heavily after a rain shower made the course treacherous in the middle of the afternoon.

Stefan Bissegger (EF-Nippo) narrowly avoided falling in that period, but the conditions had mercifully abated in time for the later starters. European champion Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) was already in the hot seat by then, and the Swiss rider must have thought he had done enough to win the stage when men like Roglič, Jonas Vingegaard (3rd at 27 seconds) and Kasper Asgreen (6th at 37 seconds) failed to better his time. His disappointment was palpable as he watched Pogačar flash across the line with the day’s best time. “I did a good performance, I did what I wanted but it wasn’t enough,” he said.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 0:32:00
2Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:19
3Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:27
4Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:30
5Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 0:00:31
6Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:37
7Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:44
8Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:55
9Richie Porte (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers
10Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech 0:01:00
11Mikkel Bjerg (Den) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:01
12Magnus Cort (Den) EF Education-Nippo 0:01:07
13Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-Nippo 0:01:08
14Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:01:11
15Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies 0:01:14
16Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:01:18
17Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team DSM 0:01:19
18Stefan Bissegger (Swi) EF Education-Nippo 0:01:22
19Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-Nippo 0:01:40
20Luke Durbridge (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:01:42
21Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
22Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis
23Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 0:01:44
24Omar Fraile Matarranz (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 0:01:46
25Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:47
26Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:49
27Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe
28Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Qhubeka-NextHash
29Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana-Premier Tech 0:01:52
30Harry Sweeny (Aus) Lotto Soudal 0:01:53
31Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team 0:01:56
32Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:01:57
33Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma
34Hugo Houle (Can) Astana-Premier Tech 0:01:58
35Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:02:00
36Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious 0:02:01
37Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:02:04
38Sergio Henao Montoya (Col) Qhubeka-NextHash 0:02:05
39Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Victorious 0:02:07
40Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Movistar Team 0:02:08
41Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious
42Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Education-Nippo 0:02:09
43Jonas Rutsch (Ger) EF Education-Nippo 0:02:14
44David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
45Stefan De Bod (RSA) Astana-Premier Tech 0:02:19
46Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:02:24
47Simon Yates (GBr) Team BikeExchange 0:02:25
48Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:02:29
49Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:02:31
50Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo 0:02:34
51Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:02:36
52Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 0:02:38
53Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain Victorious 0:02:41
54Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education-Nippo 0:02:45
55Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 0:02:47
56Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:02:48
57Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-Nippo
58Jeremy Cabot (Fra) TotalEnergies 0:02:51
59Anthony Turgis (Fra) TotalEnergies
60Louis Meintjes (RSA) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:02:56
61Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 0:03:03
62Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Team BikeExchange
63Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fra) Cofidis 0:03:05
64Michael Schär (Swi) AG2R Citroën Team 0:03:07
65Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
66Jan Bakelants (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:03:08
67Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 0:03:11
68Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:03:13
69Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
70Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 0:03:15
71Mark Donovan (GBr) Team DSM 0:03:18
72Jonas Rickaert (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:03:21
73Connor Swift (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:03:22
74Nils Eekhoff (Ned) Team DSM
75Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
76Nils Politt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
77Mark Cavendish (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:03:24
78Silvan Dillier (Swi) Alpecin-Fenix 0:03:25
79Franck Bonnamour (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM 0:03:32
80Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
81Tony Martin (Ger) Jumbo-Visma 0:03:33
82Omer Goldstein (Isr) Israel Start-up Nation 0:03:37
83Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team DSM 0:03:41
84Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Team DSM
85Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 0:03:42
86Victor de la Parte (Spa) TotalEnergies
87Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
88Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:03:43
89Marco Haller (Aut) Bahrain Victorious 0:03:44
90Danny van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:03:47
91Elie Gesbert (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:03:48
92Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team
93Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis 0:03:49
94Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM 0:03:51
95Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Qhubeka-NextHash 0:03:52
96Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep
97Casper P