Stage 5: Vittel – La Planches des Belles Filles
160.5km – Suited to Climbers
Amid chaotic scenes overnight, Arnaud Demare took a well deserved debut Tour de France victory, one of many in the future The Wolf suspects. However the dominating story was the disqualification of world champion, Peter Sagan, from the race for an elbow aimed at Mark Cavendish in the final sprint. Initially the race jury disqualified him only from the stage but The Wolf understands that Dimension Data pressed for a more severe sentence and the jury returned about an hour later with the news that Sagan would take no further part in the race. The replay of the incident does Sagan no favours but it looked like Cav was already going down as he tried to squeeze through a gap on the inside that maybe just wasn’t there. In the process of his fall, he took out both Swift & Degenkolb, whilst Kristoff & Greipel made up the podium places.  If you watch the replay you’ll clearly see Demare deviate from his line, disrupting Bouhanni but the race jury chose not to even look at that. What’s done is done and we now move to the first mountain summit finish of this years Tour. Time for the mountain goats to shine!

Stage 5

One of only three summit finishes in the 2017 Tour de France, Stage 5 will give us the first clear indication of who has the legs to challenge for the overall Maillot Jaune. The stage starts fairly easily with only small uncategorised climbs to manage up until the immediate sprint point.  From there the road heads upwards with the first categorised climb, a CAT 3 climb of Cote d’Esmoulieres. Strangely, the peloton has to climb for a further 10km or so to reach the actual summit of the mountain before descending into the valley. There follows a further uncategorised climb before the final brutal climb of La Planche des Belles Filles. At 6km in length and averaging 8.5% this will really test the legs. At various points during the climb, the gradient becomes very severe, with the final 0.5km to the summit at a horrid looking 20%. Only the best climbers in the peloton will be in contention for the stage win and The Wolf gives no hope to any breakaway that forms early on in the day. The teams with GC aspirations will chase hard and the pace will be on into the bottom of the climb.  From there we could see some early attacks with the GC boys waiting for their chosen attack point to pounce. It should be an epic battle that you don’t want to miss as the race springs into life.

Richie Porte – $4.50
The Tasmanian has been the outstanding climber of 2017 and the climb of Belles Filles is perfect for him to launch an attack in the hope of clawing back some of the 35 second deficit he has to his rival and friend, Chris Froome. His dominant performance over Froome in the Dauphine will give him confidence that he has the legs to punish his rivals, as evident from his short burst on Stage 3. He is clearly the most powerful rider in the race based on 2017 results and tonight could be the night that we see Porte putting himself firmly back into GC contention.

Chris Froome – $4.30
The defending champion won his first ever Tour stage here back in 2012 and he’ll be hoping to repeat that performance tonight. Over the past few years, Froome has used the first climb to really stamp his authority over the race, The Wolf will be glued to his TV to see what he can do, especially given his really poor climbing in the Dauphine. Despite his current position in the race, The Wolf cannot escape the fact that Froome looks vulnerable. His build up has been far from ideal and at some point he might just go pop.

Fabio Aru – $12.00
The Italian National Champion looks to be back to his best and with a flying Fuglsang in support, he might just be able to mount a strong challenge against Porte & Froome for the stage win at double figure odds. He is more than capable of attacking on the steep sections and his performance in the recent Italian Championships was simply breathtaking. He’ll hope to take advantage of Froome & Porte marking each other and has a huge chance of slipping away towards the summit for a famous win. He looks to be the main challenger to the favourites for the race.

Esteban Chaves – $34.00
Making his debut in the Tour this year, Chaves is far enough back in the GC standings to maybe allow him more freedom from the main players to attack for the stage win tonight. A light & explosive talent, Chaves performed well in the Dauphine after a four-month break with a knee injury and alongside Simon Yates, the pair could be a formidable force in the high mountains.  He might just surprise all at big odds.

Recommended Bets

Best: Richie Porte – $4.50
Value: Fabio Aru – $12.00
Roughie: Esteban Chaves – $34

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