05/07/17 - 7:20 PM
Vittel - La Planche des Belles Filles
Tour de France • Stage5

Vittel - La Planche des Belles Filles
Tour de France - 5 July 2017

Tour de France – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 19:20 on 5 July 2017. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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The new top ten: Froome in yellow.


Confirmation of the stage result today as Contador and Quintana lose some seconds...


After Geraint Thomas tailed off towards the finish, Froome will take over as the new yellow jersey. Can he hold it all the way to Paris? It's going to be a big ask. Froome now holds a 12-second lead over Sky team-mate Thomas, with Aru up to third place at 14 seconds.


Dan Martin took second place ahead of Chris Froome, Richie Porte and Romain Bardet.


A superb ride from the Italian national champion, Fabio Aru. He picked his moment, went for it, and benefited from the lack of cohesion behind. And didn't he look the part in his superb Italian jersey...


Victory for Fabio Aru of Astana!


The Quintana group have ridden back to the Froome group, with Porte and Martin leading the way.


Just one kilometre to go now as Aru approaches the summit ahead of the slight downhill towards the line. It may yet come back together behind - but Aru is going to win this...


Porte, Martin and Bardet follow Froome. Fuglsang is there but Quintana, Contador and Yates are struggling and Thomas is off the back.


Aru has 15 seconds on this yellow jersey group, which has pegged back Yates. And now Froome attacks!


No response from Sky or the main pack. Nieve continues his pace-setting as Simon Yates makes a move... this forces a response from Thomas, who has Froome in his wheel.


Attack! Fabio Aru dances clear in the Italian national champion's jersey - and he opens up a gap over this small leading group of 20 riders. Aru takes a swig of water and then throws away his bottle. No more drinking for the Astana man until the finish...


Of course, Froome also has Geraint Thomas, in yellow, tucked in just ahead of him. Kwiatkowski is the first to pop, his work done for the day. It's worth noting that there's no Mikel Landa, so either he hasn't got the Planche shift on his time table, or he's struggling.


It's former world champion Michal Kwiatkowski who sets the tempo for Team Sky ahead of Mikel Nieve and Sergio Henao. This is why Chris Froome is favourite to win the Tour, regardless of his form.


Calmejane is caught by the Sky train - just as he catches Gilbert and Bakelants. So it's all back together - except the vast majority of riders are out the back, including Warren Barguil, who smiles at the camera while taking his foot off the gas.


The first attack from the pack comes from Lilian Calmejane of Direct Energie. Ah, the folly of youth.


There's my answer from earlier: Thibaut Pinot has already been dropped, so the Frenchman is not in the kind of form to go for a home win. He'll be trying to keep fresh for stage 9 and his likely assault on the polka dot jersey...


Boasson Hagen, Voeckler and Perichon have been caught by the pack. Gilbert, on his 35th birthday, leads Bakelants on this climb, but the gap is down to 30 seconds.


We're on to the final climb, the Cat.1 ascent of La Planches des Belles Filles (5.9% at 8.5% with a maximum gradient of 20%).


Now Movistar have moved up alongside Sky - and all of BMC's work seems irrelevant. It's showtime.


Perichon has joined the two chasers, but there's no sign of Van Baarle. Team Sky have now come to the front of the peloton to set a fierce tempo ahead of the final climb - and that's Van Baarle swallowed up by the men in white.


Voeckler and Boasson Hagen have joined forces in chasing down the two Belgians on the front of the race - the gap is 18 seconds.


So, we have two Belgians out ahead: Gilbert and Bakelants. They crest the summit of this hill and now have the descent to the foot of the final climb. The gap is down to 1:25 for the two leaders back to the streamlined peloton, which has been whittled down thanks to the pace-setting of BMC.


ATTACK: Philippe Gilbert jumps clear from his fellow escapees on this pre-final climb hill. Bakelants can follow the birthday boy, Voeckler does his best, but the others have no answer.


Trek-Segafredo have gathered near the front, too, for their man Alberto Contador. The Spaniard looked troubled on the punchy finish to Longwy on Monday, so he'll be hoping for a psychological boost on today's first mountaintop finish. Contrary to our icon, Trek are sporting a special white kit not entirely dissimilar to Sky's limited edition Tour white kit.


And that's it for most of the sprinters: the likes of Demare and Kristoff have already been dropped from the pack, as has Greipel - and the man who rode for 190km out ahead of the peloton yesterday, Guillaume van Keirsbulck. The gap is down to two minutes now.


BMC still set the tempo but Astana have moved forward to help in the chase. The Kazakh team have two cards to play today in Fabio Aru and Jakob Fuglsang. The leading six-man break are now tackling that hill before the final climb.


Having earlier been in the break, Thomas De Gendt is now rooted to the back of the peloton. Clearly not enjoying a good day in the saddle, is the Lotto Soudal Belgian. The gap is down to 2:30.


We're well onto this fast descent now with the gap still around the 2:40 mark for the six leaders. Thomas Vockler has just empties the contents of his bidon all over his face in a bid to cool down - it's a sunny day in the Vosges. The experienced Frenchman drops back to his team car to speak to his DS and pick up a sticky gel (or should that be a sticky sticky gel?).


Of course, Thibault Pinot is very much the local rider today: the final climb in the Vosges is just a few kilometres away from where he lives and was brought up. The Frenchman rode the Giro in May, finishing fourth. He's not here for GC and so may have the freedom to attack on the climbs. Apparently he's ruled himself out of making a move today, but we'll believe that when we see it. PInot finished behind Nibali for second place here in 2014.


Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) has been caught by the peloton, which is still being controlled by the BMC team-mates of yellow jersey candidate Richie Porte and Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet. Meanwhile, Bakelants has been caught by his pursuers, so we have a six-man break with a 2:30 gap ahead of this descent.


Jan Bakelants made headlines for the wrong reasons ahead of the Tour thanks to an interview he gave with the Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws. Asked - in a humorous interview - about going three weeks on the Tour without sex, he said: "It’s not too difficult with those porn films, and there are always those podium girls." When then asked would pack with him for his free moments during the Tour, the former stage winner and wearer of the yellow jersey joked: "A packet of condoms, for sure. You never know where those podium [hostesses] hang out." The 31-year-old Belgian later apologised on Twitter.


Boasson Hagen, Gilbert, Vocekler, Van Baarle and Perichon ride in a chasing group of five behind lone leader Bakelants; De Gendt is behind and Delage, the last of the initial eight-man break, has been caught. That's your race scenario as the road continues up on a false flat on a plateau ahead of a fast descent to the town of Servance. Bakelants' gap over the peloton is 2:45.


Mikel Delage of FDJ is the first of the break to be caught by the pack - just as they crest the summit of the climb. Delage has a large bandage of his left knee - he went down heavily yesterday, I think, or in that crash on the roundabout which gave Froome and Bardet a scare on Sunday.


Bakelants goes over the summit in pole position to pick up 2pts, which puts him in joint second place in the KOM standings. He has about 15 seconds over the break, which is led over by Perichon. The gap back from the Belgian Bakelants to the BMC-led peloton is around 2:25.


If De Gendt is off the back, then Bakelants is out ahead: the Ag2R-La Mondiale rider attacked early on this climb and has opened up a gap. It's Voeckler who leads the chase from the break.


Thomas De Gendt has already been dropped by the leaders. This happened a couple of days ago when the Belgian was in the break and the road headed uphill. He clearly doesn't have the same climbing legs as he did in days past on the Stelvio and Ventoux.


Right, time for some climbing. The riders have just edged onto the first categorised climb of the day, the Cat.3 Cote d'Esmoulieres, which precedes another hill ahead of the final Cat.1 climb to the finish. The gap is under two minutes now.


When the peloton comes to the sprint it's Matthews who beats Kittel and Kristoff, with Demare coming another place back after one of Kristoff's Katusha team-mates. It won't have much bearing on the green jersey competition, but every little helps - especially in a stage with an uphill finish.


The escapees put on a good show at the sprint with Boasson Hagen rounding De Gendt to take maximum points ahead of Gilbert, with De Gendt settling for third.


We have the intermediate sprint coming up shortly - and while these eight escapees will pick up the lion's share of the green jersey points, there will be 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 points available for the other sprinters when the peloton comes along...


Of course, it's not merely a showdown between two riders, Porte and Froome, today. There are a whole host of GC riders and climbers who could contest the win today: last year's runner-up Romain Bardet, the Italian Fabio Aru, the Irishman Dan Martin, the liberated Thibault Pinot, Colombia's Nairo Quintana, Spaniard Alberto Contador, Poland's Rafal Majka, British youngster Simon Yates, perhaps even the likes of Pierre Rolland, Andrew Talansky, Robert Gesink and Jakob Fuglsang...


Chris Froome has good memories of today's final climb to La Planche des Belles Filles: he won the firs Tour stage finish here in 2012, the year he rode as Bradley Wiggins' chief mountain domestique. Two years later - and after Froome had crashed out of the Tour - Vincenzo Nibali won when the Tour returned to the climb for the second time. That means that ever rider who has won atop the Planche des Belles Filles has gone on to wear the yellow jersey in Paris. Will that trend continue this year? CORRECTION: Wiggins of course won the Tour in 2012, not Froome. D'oh...


The break has gone through the feed zone with a gap of just over two minutes on the peloton, so it's clear they're not making too much headway. Voeckler is not the only former Tour stage winner in this move: De Gendt won on Mont Ventoux least year, Gilbert won the opening stage in 2011 to take the yellow jersey, Bakelants won stage two in 2013 and Boasson Hagen bagged a brace of wins for Team Sky back in 2011.


With this stage being followed by two sprint stages, it's no surprise to see BMC going all in. Their man Richie Porte has been on stellar form this season, and has been climbing consistently well - certainly better than his former team-mate, Froome. But the Australian was cautious in the opening time trial in Dusseldorf, on account of the rain. He conceded 35 seconds to Froome and so has time to make up if he wants to build on his early season promise and finally finish on the podium of a Grand Tour.


It's great to see Thomas Voeckler in this break - the Frenchman is riding his final Tour de France and he very much has a love-love relationship with this race, having famously worn the yellow jersey for long stints on two separate occasions: once in defiance of Lance Armstrong, and the other time during the race which saw Andy Schleck and Cadel Evans, the eventual 2011 winner, go head to head. 38-year-old Voeckler has won four stages on the Tour and this is his 15th participation in the race. His best finish was in 2011 when he just dropped off the podium to fourth place, but he did make an appearance on the podium in Paris one year later when he won the polka dot jersey in the year Bradley Wiggins became the first British rider to win the Tour.


Geraint Thomas, the yellow jersey, is currently back with his team car. He has three Sky team-mates to help pace him back into the peloton. It remains to be seen how Sky play things today: Froome won't want to take the yellow jersey so early, but if Thomas fails to stick with him, then he may well do so by default. If Froome does go into the race lead, then we have the prospect of Sky leading the Tour from start to finish - which won't please many of the British team's critics.


Tony Martin, who didn't win the opening Dusseldorf TT as expected, and who crashed heavily one day later, is receiving some medical attention from the frizzy haired race doctor.


With BMC controlling things, the break is being given very little leeway out there.


Should Peter Sagan have been sent packing from the Tour? After the dust settled over night, I added an addendum to my opinion piece. If Andre Greipel can change his mind, then so can a humble cycling journalist... Click on the link below for more.


Another classification that should get a shake up today is the white jersey youth classification. French time trial champion Pierre Latour (Ag2R-La Mondiale) currently leads the youth standings by 12 seconds over Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) and 13 seconds over Stefan Kung (BMC). By the end of the day, you'd expect Simon Yates (Orica-Scott; +20), Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe, +15) or Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates, +47) in white.


One thing is certain today: if we may not see a new rider in yellow or green, we will certainly see a new rider in polka dots. The American Nate Brown has been wearing the KOM jersey for the past two stages after taking it off the shoulders of his compatriot and fellow Cannondale-Drapac rider, Taylor Phinney. But today's stage boasts a maximum haul of 12 points - which means whoever wins the stage will easily take the polka dot jersey. Brown is currently on 3pts but he stands no chance of being the first man up La Planche des Belles Filles...


With BMC and Team Sky marshalling the peloton, the gap comes down to 3:05 for the eight leaders. A reminder who these escapees are: Jan Bakelants (Ag2r La Mondiale), Mickael Delage (FDJ), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data), Dylan van Baarle (Cannonale-Drapac), Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fortuneo-Oscaro), Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie), Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal).


What about the green jersey? Well, French national champion Arnaud Demare (FDJ) was the big winner yesterday - picking up maximum points at the intermediate sprint and the finish, and zipping ahead in the points classification. Even without Sagan's initial 80-point punishment, the Frenchman was firmly in green - and following the Slovakian's elimination, he is now leading Marcel Kittel by 124pts to 81pts in the green jersey battle.


Let's have a look at the general classification: Geraint Thomas still leads the race by 12 seconds over his Sky team-mate Chris Froome, the triple Tour champion. Michael Matthews, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Pierre Latour and Philippe Gilbert are all within 30 seconds of the yellow jersey - and so if this break stays out today, then a certain Norwegian or Belgian may well take over the race lead... But they'll need a big gap to make that happen, what with that big climb at the finish.


The entire BMC team is on the front of the peloton pulling for their man Richie Porte. The Australian entered this race as joint-favourite for yellow alongside his former team-mate Chris Froome - and today's stage will be the first time we can see a proper duel between the two on this year's race. The gap is 3:30 for the eight leaders.


Grmay is swept up by the BMC-led pack after his failed attempt to join the leaders. The terrain is very different from yesterday, where we had long, flat, straight roads over which the lone leader Guillaume van Keirsbulck - remember him?! - built up a maximum lead of 13 and a half minutes. Today the terrain is much more undulating - even though we won't see a categorised climb until 107km into the stage.


Tsgabu Grmay of Bahrain-Merida has tried to bridge over but it looks like the Ethiopian is fighting a losing battle, as the break stretches its lead to over three minutes.


The gap is quickly up to two minutes for this break - and Boasson Hagen is in the virtual yellow jersey. The Norwegian was only 16 seconds down on Welshman Geraint Thomas this morning on GC.


Welshman Rowe is no longer in this leading group after being pulled back by the BMC rider. Boasson Hagen, Voeckler, De Gendt, Bakelants and Gilbert have been joind by Jean-Luc Perichon (Fortuneo-Oscaro) is there with Dylan van Baarle (Cannondale-Drapac) and Mikel Delage (FDJ). So, eight men out ahead.


Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) have joined this break - as has Luke Rowe (Team Sky) and a BMC rider. A frantic start in north-east France.


There's an attack from the outset from French veteran Thomas Voeckler of Direct Energie, who is joined by birthday boy Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) and Jan Bakelants (Ag2R-La Mondiale).


They're off! Race director Christian Prudhomme waves the flag and this first mountaintop finish stage is under way.


Right, on to today's stage - and here is what the riders have on the menu...


Hello and welcome to live coverage of Stage 5 of the Tour de France - a 160.5km ride from Vittel to La Planche des Belles Filles. It's the first mountaintop finish of the Tour as the race enters the Vosges mountains for what should be an explosive finale and what was - frankly - a pretty uneventful finale yesterday in Vittel...