Stage five of the Tour de France presents one of the hardest tests of the entire 2022 race as the peloton takes on 11 sectors of cobblestones on a hilly 157km route from Lille to La Porte du Hainaut.
The cobbles – or pavé – provide an often brutal challenge on the Paris-Roubaix monument race, where crashes are frequent and injuries commonplace, and the riders will need all their bike-handling skills in order to stay upright and avoid an incident which could lose them time or even force them to abandon the Tour.
The stage begins with an early intermediate sprint after 37km, which could bring out some of the sprinters to the front of the pack looking to pick up the green jersey points on offer.
At the halfway point the cobbles begin. Most of the pavé sectors are around 1.3km long and take pro riders around two and a half minutes to complete, but there are some longer stretches of 2.5km which will take more than four minutes to get through. They will be gruelling and physically demanding, and so riders must find a balance between caution in order to avoid trouble and aggression to pick up valuable time gains on the rest.
Who could profit on a stage like this? Of the yellow jersey contenders, Geraint Thomas is proficient on the cobbles, Primoz Roglic has the skillset to hold his own, while reigning champion Tadej Pogacar is inexperienced on this terrain but showed his talents when he nearly won the Tour of Flanders earlier this year.
The man who beat Pogacar there, Mathieu van der Poel, is the favourite here – as well as his two Flanders wins also finished third at Paris-Roubaix itself last year. But he will have plenty of competition, not least from the man in the yellow jersey Wout van Aert, who won so brilliantly on stage 4 in Calais, as well as Ineos’s cobbles specialist Dylan van Baarle, who won Paris-Roubaix this year.
Stage 5 profile
Stage 5 start time
The stage is scheduled to begin at around 1pm BST and should finish around 4:30pm BST.
How to watch on TV and online
Tour de France coverage can be found this year on ITV4, Eurosport, Discovery+ and GCN+ (Global Cycling Network).
Live racing each day will be shown on ITV4 before highlights typically at 7pm each day. ITV’s website lists timings here.
It is also being shown on Eurosport’s Discovery+ streaming service, with broadcast info here.