UAE Team Emirates’ Louis Meintjes put in a strong display amongst the climbers during stage five of the Tour de France, crossing the finish line in 11th place, only to be denied a top 10 finish by Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), who had started the day wearing the yellow jersey.
Riders were tasked with a brutal up-hill climb to end stage five – the first summit finish of the Tour. Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team) rode to a clear victory, having made a break from the front pack with less than 3km to go.
Chris Froome remains at the summit of the General Classification while Meintjes moves up 100 places to 13th.
Speaking after the stage, Meintjes said: “It was really fast right from the start, they let a strong breakaway go but they kept the gap small so all day was fast and nervous. The last 2km was really fast and the guys that had legs left on the finish. It was almost like a sprint finish with a really steep final. I was just a little bit empty when I arrived there.”
Riders will head in to stage six having an understanding of how the Tour is starting to play out. The 216km flat between Vesoul and Troyes will give sprinters ample opportunities to pull back crucial seconds after the previous stage’s summit finish.
However, the terrain may cause some riders issues and a series of sharp corners, curves and roundabouts leading to the finish-line could make for a thrilling end to the stage.