As expected, this fifth stage of the Tour de France women was played in a sprint, Thursday July 28 between Bar-le-Duc and Saint-Dié-des-Vosges. And as often, in this little game, Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) did not go into detail, four days after her first victory on the Champs-Elysées. The best sprinter on the planet still held her rank, signing her 17th victory this season. Present in the leading group and third at the finish, Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) keeps her yellow jersey.
She is gargantuan, the type to leave only crumbs to her opponents. When a sprint looms, its dominance is such that venturing into it is sometimes not even worth it. In Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, as soon as the first pedal stroke was triggered, Lorena Wiebes’ opponents were left behind. Her direct pursuers, Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) and Marianne Vos, are however particularly formidable clients… But there is a class of difference between the Dutch from Team DSM and the rest of the world when it comes to set a massive sprint.
Close to a new stage victory, Vos still remains in yellow. Getting involved in the sprint was not a bad idea: with her third place, she grabbed four bonus seconds allowing her to increase her overall lead. She is now twenty seconds ahead of the Silvia Persico (Valcar-Travel & Service)-Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon) tandem.
Still fourth, Elisa Longo Borghini is the loser of the day. The Italian champion lost thirteen seconds on the lead, the fault of a bad trajectory in the last hectometres of the stage. Literally, the Trek-Segafredo rider took the wrong route to the left, before realizing her blunder moments later and rejoining the peloton. She limited the break, coming in 34 seconds behind Vos.
The outcome was cruel for the escapees.ed, including the young Frenchwoman Victoire Berteau (Cofidis). Her decision to get out of the group of four riders up front with Antri Christoforou was the right one. But the duo, despite a cordial agreement, was caught three kilometers from the final finish. The pursuer believed in it, but she could not materialize at the end of the longest route of this Tour (175 km).
This was, precisely, not akin to a health walk. An impressive fall, for example, affected more than thirty runners 45 kilometers from Saint-Dié-des-Vosges. Emma Norsgaard (Movistar), seriously affected, was also forced to abandon.