Stage 5: Pau to Laruns – 165 km
Date: Wednesday July 5, 2023
Stage type: High Mountains – Pyrenees
What to watch for: The fight for the break will be fierce.
Stage summary: The first true mountain day, though without a mountain-top finish.
Stage 5 tackles the hors-categorie Col du Soudet at its halfway mark, climbing 15.1 km at 7%. It’s a climb that’s unlikely to see GC fireworks but the day’s breakaway, which could be large given the high likelihood of survival for any breakaway group, will seek to shed some of its members.
The category 3 Col d’Ichère punctuates the second half of the stage before the final test: the category 1 Col de Marie Blanque, 9.2 km at 7.6%. That sounds hard, right? It’s even harder. The last 4.5 km average over 10%.
The distance from the bottom of the final descent to the finish line is a bit too far for any real GC moves to stick, but expect a high pace to be set on the slopes of the Marie Blanque. It’s likely some B-level GC contenders lose contact and struggle to come back.
Dane Cash’s picks: This looks like a great day for the breakaway, which will make it next to impossible to predict who will take the stage. Should things actually come back together, Tadej Pogačar and Tom Pidcock seem like good picks to win from a small group of GC contenders, with Wout van Aert also a possibility to hold on and contest the win. Otherwise, Neilson Powless, Julian Alaphilippe, and Felix Gall are on the very long list of potential breakaway winners.
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