2014 Tour de France – Etape 5

Ypres to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut

Winner: Lars Boom

Have you ever wished they’d fit Paris-Roubaix into the middle of a Grand Tour? Well, today’s stage provided that. In the wind and the rain, the race was blasted apart over the cobbles. Even though the organizers removed two secteurs, the race was still a battle with the road and the elements. Defending champion Chris Froome crashed twice and slumped into the team car before he even made it to the cobbles.

Crashes galore, including one by Kittel, meant the racers were fighting just to keep the rubber side down. A fast pace was set in order to get onto the cobbles at the point end and avoid the crashes. Despite the conditions, the stage was completed in an utterly astounding 47 kilometers per hour. If this doesn’t mean much to you, see if you can get up to this speed on a flat road. Then see how long you can hold it. PROs exist in their own realm of awesomeness. Yet again, I have a new level of respect for the Skinny Men in Lycra. Fuck, that is fast.

Nibali flew across the cobbles like a man possessed, giving a big Fuck You sign to the 500-1 odds bookmakers placed on his win.

An incredible display of timing and power saw Lars Boom, the Dutch hardman with oh…a cyclocross World Championship on his palmares denied Nibali the win, but he finished only nineteen seconds back, putting huge time into his rivals Valverde and Contador. He was led home by the Danish do-it-all’er Jakob Fuglsang.

What a display! We know Nibali can fly down mountains, now we know he can fly over the pave du Norde. Fantastic!