It’s time for the mountains. They may not be the high mountains to come, but could this be the first time we see the GC contenders sharpen their claws and come out swinging just a bit at each other. Could this be Chris Froome’s first challenge to the defence of his crown?
Stage 5: Limoges to Le Lioran – 216 kilometres
Today the complexion of the tour changes as it hits the mountains, with the final 50 kilometres featuring two category two and two category three climbs. Throw in another category three climb at 142 kilometres, just before the intermediate sprint at 144 kilometres, along with a category four climb to wake up the legs after 16 kilometres, and you have the recipe for a very exciting stage indeed.
Today should see the overall contenders sitting close to the front of the field as they look for any sign of weakness from their competition. However, it does not seem too likely that any of the main contenders will drop out of contention on this stage unless they are unwell, while at the same time it would seem a bit early in the tour to grab the yellow jersey and try to defend it all the way to Paris. A break could succeed today, if there are a couple of very strong climbers in there, but that would very much depend on how hard the overall contenders decide to hit one another on the ascents.
After the final climb the run in to the finish features a slight descent for a couple of kilometres before a final six per cent kick up to the line.