Chaos on the Cobbles
Young rider leader Pogacar shattered rivals plans with a well crafted ride on the cobbles of Northern France while veteran Australian Simon Clarke took a maiden Tour de France stage victory at age 35.
Arenberg Porte du Hainaut, Wednesday, July 6th – Australia’s Simon Clarke claimed his maiden Tour de France stage victory as the early breakaway survived to the line. The Israel-Premier Tech veteran, aged 35, pipped Taco van der Hoorn on the line while Edvald Boasson Hagen rounded out the podium. Wout van Aert who crashed before the cobbled sector and waited for Jonas took third spot.
The yellow jersey battle took a new twist with a big re-jig at the top of the standings. While Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) who had punctured retained the yellow jersey by a margin of 13 seconds over breakaway member Neilson Powless a late attack by Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) in the company of Jasper Stuyven (Trek – Segafredo) saw the UAE rider move into third and extend the gap to rivals such as Vingegaard.
How it happened
Edvald Boasson Hagen (TotalEnergies), Magnus Cort and Neilson Powless (EF Education-Easypost), Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech) and Alexis Gougeard (B&B Hotels-KTM) entered the second cobbled sector with an advantage of 3’25”.
Clarke described what it meant to win his first Tour de France stage: “I mean, after winter I had, I had no team and Israel-Premier Tech rang me up. I was given that chance… Today is the reality check that everything can happen if you take the opportunity. The first few days of the Tour, I was looking after the team. But this morning, the team director said: ‘Clarkey, today is a breakaway day!’ The stages I won at La Vuelta and the pink jersey I had at the Giro all came in the first week of the race. So I thought today was maybe the day… But I still can’t believe it. I passed Taco less than 50 meters to go. I gave my bike the biggest throw I could. My stages at La Vuelta came in similar finishes. I chose to sit back and hope for the other guys to crack before. I really had to chase Edvald down. We’ve been sprinting since the last corner. I went as hard as I could until the line. I moved to Europe for racing when I was 16 and I’ll turn 36 on the second rest day of the Tour, so after 20 years, now the dream comes true. Hi to everyone in Australia and thanks for the support through all those years!”
Stage 5 Results: Top 10. (Full result here)