Tour de France 2018 stage five preview: A hard one-day classic for a specialist like Greg van Avermaet to shine

Lawrence Ostlere
The Independent

After stage four’s gentle pedal through Brittany, this Tour de France is about to turn mean. The roads will narrow, the climbs will steepen and there will be casualties, if not in the hospital tent then in the race standings.

Stage five begins in Lorient on the Brittany coast before snaking north to the finish at Quimper.

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The peloton face 205km of rolling up-and-down racing over five categorised climbs which, for the first time this year, will really drain the legs.

It is something of a one-day classic which will suit specialists like Michael Matthews and the man currently wearing the yellow jersey, Greg van Avermaet, as well as French rider Arnaud Demare and Italian Sonny Colbrelli, but if the peloton can reach the finish as a group then expect more orthodox sprinters like Fernando Gaviria to be in the mix.

This will be a difficult stage for the big teams to control and bend to their will, and is likely to be far more chaotic. We can expect more action than Tuesday’s lull here, with asserted attacks and maybe even a one of the big contenders losing time as the going begins to get a little tougher.

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