Stage 5: Onet-le-Château to Albi
Date and time: Thursday, July 27, 2023. Official stage start at 14:20, the start of live coverage at 15:00 CEST. The predicted finish is around 17:29 CEST.
Stage type: Somewhere between hilly and flat.
What to watch for: Maybe another chance for the breakaway, but more likely to be a sprint.
Stage summary: With only eight stages there are precious few chances for a breakaway to make it to the line, and with a race like the Tour de France Femmes, where a stage win can be career-changing, there are even fewer chances. Expect a bunch of riders to try getting away throughout the day – those late climbs could be a springboard – but a bunch sprint seems the most likely outcome.
The stage is constantly rolling with three categorized climbs and one uncategorized ascent with bonus seconds on offer in the second half of the race. The first half has a few launchpads for breaks to go, and if a small group makes it to the bonus climb with a good gap there’s little road left for an organized chase (even less likely to organize if SD Worx decides to put their hands in their pockets).
But there are also a lot of riders who will want to get into a move and a lot of teams who want to be represented ahead of the race so the first half of the day could be brutally fast. The faster it is, the harder it will be for the break to succeed. It’s kind of a snake eating its own tail situation, so it’ll all hinge on what happens in those opening 50 km.
Whether or not it’s the whole peloton or a small group that makes it to the line there will be some form of sprinting at the end, with a flat and pretty straightforward final run-in to Albi.
My Pick: Perhaps based on heart alone I am going with Marianne Vos for stage 5. The G.O.A.T. didn’t have the best Giro Donne, but after stage 3 it looks like her legs are coming around. She’s said a stage win is the goal, so why not stage 5 into Albi?
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