Tour de France Femmes 2022, stage five
Start location: Bar-le-Duc
Finish location: Saint-Dié-des-Vosges
Start time: 10:45 BST
Finish time (approx): 15.12 BST
The second half of the Tour de France Femmes begins with the longest stage of the Tour, and the longest stage of any Women’s WorldTour this year, exceeding the UCI maximum recommended length for a women’s race, which is 160km.
Following on from a day of ups and downs and changes of surface, the fatigue combined with the sheer distance will be the biggest challenge facing the women, on a route that is far from flat, with a couple of categorised climbs and a few more lumps and bumps along the way.
The stage marks a transition, from the central region of France further east, towards the border with Switzerland ahead of the big Alpine stages that await at the end of the Tour.
Tour de France Femmes 2022 stage five route
The race begins in the town of Bar-le-Duc, in the Grand-Est region of France. The commune has a special claim to fame: it was home to Pierre Michaux, the inventor of the bicycle, back in 1862. The Tour pays tribute to Michaux with a start in Bar-le-Duc, a pretty town situated on the Ornain River, historically significant for its Renaissance architecture.
The routes heads east, rolling along a false flat all the way towards the first uncategorised climb of the day which comes at around 40km. From here, it’s up and down all day, with the first QOM points on offer after 61.4km on the climb up to the Fort at Pagny-la-Blanche-Côte (1.4km at 5.5%). It’s the first of two category four climbs in the Meurthe-et-Moselle department. The second is the Côte de Gripport (1.3km at 5.3%), and the descent from this climb leads towards the day’s intermediate sprint in Charmes, where riders contesting the points competition will fight it out for the spoils.
From there, the riders still have another 60km of undulating terrain to cover, including one final uncategorised climb, the Col du Haut du Bois (1.3km at 4.9%) which is the designated point for the GC hopefuls to go for bonus seconds, before heading into the finish town of Saint-Dié-des-Vosges.
Tour de France Femmes 2022 stage five contenders and prediction
It’s set to be a gruelling day in the saddle, but the climbing is unlikely to unduly trouble the sprinters, and the most likely outcome is a bunch sprint finish in Saint-Dié-des-Vosges – the last chance of the race for the pure sprinters to claim a prestigious stage win for their palmarès. The last time the women’s peloton visited the town for La Route de France in 2010, Marianne Vos won over Annemiek van Vleuten.
This time around, Vos could make it two wins in the same location, or pick a name from Lorena Wiebes, Elisa Balsamo, Lotte Kopecky and Marta Bastianelli for another likely winner.
Cover image: Zac Williams/SWpix