the australian cyclist simon clarke (Israel-Premier Tech) won the fifth stage of the Tour de Francethis Wednesday between Lille and Arenberg, after which the Belgian Wout van Aert kept his yellow jersey leader of the general classification.
The phasewhich included sections of pavés (cobblestone), was negative for the Jumbo-Visma teamwho had dominated on Tuesday: although van Aert was able to salvage first place overall despite a crash, the Slovenian Primoz Roglic lost more than two minutes compared to his compatriot Tadej Pogacarthe first of the favorites to cross the finish line on Wednesday.
Pogacarchampion of the last two editions of the Tour, went on the attack on the pavés, 18 kilometers from the finish line, in the company of Belgian Jasper Stuyven. Very solid, he managed to distance all his opponents from him, although without managing to wear yellow, from which he is 19 seconds away.
For the stage victory, Clarke beat his teammates in a breakaway from the first quarter of an hour of the race. The photo finish it was necessary to decide the winner between Clarke and the Dutch Taco van der Hoorn, who was second.
The Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen was third in the stage, ahead of the other member of the leading quartet, the American Neilson Powless, now second in the general classification, 13 seconds behind. van Aert, who went through all stages of emotion throughout this day full of tension
Van Aert fell next to one of his teammates (Steven Kruijswijk) about 97 kilometers from the finish, at the exit of a roundabout. He managed to regain his position in the peloton eight kilometers further on, having narrowly avoided another crash.
At the front, a breakaway with six runners was presented in the first of the eleven sectors with cobblestones 3 minutes and 30 seconds ahead. In those sectors, falls and punctures followed one another.
Pogacar was soon isolated, without teammates, in that cobbled area. But the Slovenian star showed his strength and his leadership.
Roglicsecond on the Tour in 2020, was seen involved in a collective fall. With the Australian Ben O’Connor, who was distanced in one of the first sectors, he was the main loser of the day. Roglic is 2 minutes and 36 seconds behind the leader van Aert in the general classification.
simon clarke, who will soon be 36 years old, gave his first victory on the Tour for the Israel-Premier Tech teamwho offered him a “saving” contract a few months ago that allowed him to continue with a career that, until now, had as main successes two stage victories in the Vuelta a España and a second place in the classic Amstel Gold Race in 2019.
“Last (boreal) winter I was without a contract. So imagine how I feel today, this is beyond what i imagined. Thanks to my team, which has given me a new opportunity. I try to take advantage of opportunities, which is what I did today,” Clarke explained.
“I gave it my all, I had leg cramps. I tried to speed up as much as possible. I know how to sprint when necessary”, she pointed out.
Thursday will be the sixth stage of the tour de France, the longest of this edition with 219.9 kilometres, between Binche and Longwy. Sixty kilometers will be covered in Belgium, before heading towards the Ardennes, towards the finish line of Longwy, a town of 15,000 inhabitants that is a stage city of the Tour for the seventh time. (D)