Just five days into the 2023 Tour de France, the general classification battle was turned on its head as Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) stormed to the stage 5 win and the yellow jersey out of the breakaway while Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) put over a minute into Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates).
Hindley was one of several big names in a large, dangerous break that formed on the up-and-down stage from Pau to Laruns, and he soloed clear on the final climb of the day, the Col de Marie Blanque. Behind, Vingegaard made a powerful surge to get clear of Pogačar and quickly built up a substantial advantage. Eventually, Vingegaard teamed up with a handful of riders from the early break in pursuit of Hindley, but there would be no catching the Australian.
When all was said and done, Hindley took the win 32 seconds ahead of Giulio Ciccone (Lidl-Trek), with Felix Gall (AG2R Citroën) taking third. Vingegaard finished in that same group, just over a minute ahead of Pogačar and erstwhile race leader Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates).
Hindley now leads the Tour with a 47-second advantage on Vingegaard, with Pogačar now 1:40 down on the race leader.
How it happened
- After a fierce battle to form the early break, the main move that did ultimately form featured some big names, including Hindley, Gall, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), and Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep), to name just a few. Despite the presence of a GC contender of Hindley’s quality in the move, the peloton gave the escapees some breathing room.
- The break saw plenty of attacks over the course of the challenging stage, with Krists Neilands (Israel-Premier Tech), Van Aert, and Alaphilippe spending time off the front together before being pulled back. The main body of the group reached the Col de Marie Blanque with a dangerous three-minute gap. Behind, Jumbo-Visma took up the pace and started shelling riders out the back of the GC group, including yellow jersey Yates.
- As the escapees made their way up the Col de Marie Blanque, Gall and Hindley left the rest of the move behind, and then with a kilometer and a half to go Hindley dropped Gall and zoomed to the top. In a similar spot on the climb a few moments later, Vingegaard made a powerful surge clear of Pogačar and proceeded to weave his way through riders who had been dropped from the break. Pogačar settled into chase mode but Vingegaard built a substantial advantage.
- Alone out front, Hindley went up and over the summit and then maintained a healthy advantage on the descent. Vingegaard and a handful of riders from the early break linked up in pursuit, while Yates and a few other notables joined back up with Pogačar nearly a minute behind that. Hindley held on to win and take yellow, with Ciccone besting Gall for second out of the Vingegaard group and Pogačar and Co. well behind.
- Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe)
- Giulio Ciccone (Lidl-Trek) +32s
- Felix Gall (AG2R Citroën)
- Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe)
- Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) all at same time
- Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) +47s
- Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +1m3s
- Giulio Ciccone (Lidl-Trek) +32s
- Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) +1m11s
- Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) +1m34s
- The GC action we saw on Wednesday’s stage 5 was the sort of thing usually reserved for the second week of a Grand Tour at the earliest, but riders took full advantage of the challenging climbs in the early goings of this year’s Tour. It was particularly notable that UAE and Jumbo allowed Hindley, the consensus third favorite with oddsmakers at the start of the Tour, to get into a break that had so much time to play with.
- That gap did come down considerably when Jumbo decided to step on the accelerator on the Col de Marie Blanque and then when Vingegaard launched a move that Pogačar was completely unable to match. At the moment, it certainly seems like advantage Vingegaard in that two-rider battle. Meanwhile, Yates lost contact with Pogačar for a while when things started to heat up but when all was said and done, the pair finished together, ostensibly keeping the UAE two-pronged approach intact.
- Hindley’s ascent to the top of the standings serves up a whole new helping of drama at this Tour that seemed like a two-horse race beforehand. His 47-second gap to Vingegaard is nothing to sneeze at.
- Gall, who proved his stellar climbing chops at the recent Tour de Suisse, secured a hefty haul of mountains points on the day and now leads that classification, taking over the polka dot jersey from EF’s Neilson Powless.
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Jai Hindley (figuratively) emulating Rigoberto Urán paid off on stage 5,
Jonas Vingegaard isn’t counting his chickens yet.
What’s next: Stage 6 preview
As challenging as stage 5 was, Thursday’s stage 6 will offer no reprieve as more Pyrenean climbs await. The journey from Tarbes to Cauterets-Cambasque will feature a first-category trip up the Col d’Aspin and the hors categorie Col du Tourmalet before the first-category finish to Cauterets. The day’s total elevation gain and a steep final few kilometers will again bring the climber’s to the fore. Jonas Vingegaard sure looks like a formidable favorite after his stage 5 showing, though the break could also have its day again on the up-and-down profile.
Quote of the day
“I have no words; I cannot believe what happened. I was surprised when I was part of the break, and the bunch didn’t really react. We decided to start working in the group and just have fun,” Jai Hindley said after the stage. Obviously, that plan worked pretty well.
“Initially my idea was to just get a buffer to the other GC guys. On the [Col du] Soudet I started thinking about a stage win, at the bottom of the climb I also saw my parents which was really special and emotional. When I attacked, everything went so fast, I knew I had a good chance, but I only started really believing on the home straight. It still feels surreal to have that jersey on my shoulders.”
- Annemiek van Vleuten wasn’t going to let the stage win slip away at the Giro Donne on Wednesday.
- Regardless of any tactical concerns, Jonas Vingegaard was just plain stronger than Tadej Pogačar on the Tour’s fifth stage.
- Things are going very well for Jumbo-Visma five stages into the Tour.
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