TDF’17 St5: Italian Arrow Aru!
Race Report: Italian champion Fabio Aru seizes his chance on the Planche des Belles Filles as Chris Froome takes yellow from Sky teammate Geraint Thomas. On the final climb of the Planche des Belles Filles the 2017 Tour de France came alive.
It has been 25 years since a Cat -1 climb has appeared this early in the Tour de France and three years since the Planche des Belles Filles appeared at all (where the Pez himself was roadside for an action-packed day). On that occasion in 2014 it was then Italian national champion Vincenzo Nibali who proved victorious. Thus it seemed fitting that another Italian champion Fabio Aru should repeat that performance in the same colors of Astana.
The race rolled out of Vittel without two of the best riders in the world – Mark Cavendish due to a shoulder injury and Peter Sagan due to disqualification. Yesterday’s drama was soon forgotten however as an action packed stage unfolded.
A deluxe breakaway formed from the gun containing Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors), Dylan Van Baarle (Cannondale-Drapac), Edvald Boasson-Hagan (Dimension Data), Jan Bakelants (AG2r-La Mondiale) and Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fortuneo-Oscaro).
Back in the peloton Geraint Thomas pulled in for a toilet break, giving the break even further leeway. Looking at the calibre of riders in the breakaway and the relaxed pace in the peloton it became clear early on that without a quick reaction that this move would go the distance.
BMC realized the danger and quickly got to work to peg the move back. As the gap peaked at 3:30 the work of Richie Porte’s men slowly chipped away at the advantage with little cooperation from the other squads. With 8 riders in the breakaway and 9 Tour de France stage victories between them it was clear that this breakaway had serious firepower. Edvald Boasson-Hagen held the virtual lead on the road, the Norwegian just 16 seconds off the yellow jersey of Thomas. When the break reached the intermediate sprint at 58km to ride the gap held steady a two minutes as BMC continued on the front.
Now in his final Tour de France, Thomas Voeckler was present at the front with his aggressive riding and eccentric personality in full-flight. He looked determined as ever as the race came into the closing 30km, throwing water over his head and shaking his head in his trademark style.
The race exploded with 13km to go with a strong solo attack from Philippe Gilbert who was keen to push on the pace in the breakaway. He was quickly joined by Jan Bakelants and the two battled on towards the base of the Cat.1 finish of La Planche des Belles Filles.
The peloton exploded at the bottom of the climb with a heavy day of riding causing riders to go backwards 5.5km from the line. Among these riders was Thibaut Pinot who was clearly paying for his efforts in the Giro D’italia in May. Sky were displaying their strength in depth with Kwiaktowski leading the Sky train as they swept up Gilbert and Bakelants with 4km to ride.
Aru went on the attack 2.5km from the line as Sky whittled down the group to about 15 of the favorites. As Aru pulled out the lead Froome pulled the pin and attacked putting some major names into the red including Quintana and Contador. It was too late – at this stage Fabio Aru was already flying home to his first stage victory and laying down his intent to win the Tour de France outright when it reaches Paris.
Tour de France Stage 5 Result:
1. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana in 3:44:06
2. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors at 0:16
3. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:20
4. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC
5. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:24
6. Simon Yates (GB) Orica-Scott at 0:26
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac
8. Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:34
10. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:40
11. Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates
12. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
13. Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC at 1:05
14. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNl-Jumbo at 1:07
15. Mikel Landa (Spa) Sky
16. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
17. Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:10
18. Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data
19. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 1:13
20. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC
21. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac
22. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 1:17
23. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Sky
24. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky at 1:36
25. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Sunweb at 1:39.
Tour de France Overall After Stage 5:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 18:38:59
2. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:12
3. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:14
4. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors at 0:25
5. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC at 0:39
6. Simon Yates (GB) Orica-Scott at 0:43
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:47
8. Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 0:52
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:54
10. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 1:01
11. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac
12. Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:07
13. Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates at 1:24
14. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 1:29
15. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 1:33
16. Mikel Landa (Spa) Sky at 1:47
17. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:51
18. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 1:56
19. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac at 1:57
20. Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data at 2:00
21. Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC at 2:14
22. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 2:27
23. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 2:30
24. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky at 2:32
25. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNl-Jumbo at 2:34.