Tour de France 2014: stage five – five observations

Vincenzo Nibali proves his class as the cobbles provide enthralling drama

It was always going to be a decisive, enthralling stage but few could have predicted just how stage five of the 2014 Tour de France was to pan out.

It had been dramatic enough before they even hit the seven secteurs of pavé – down from the proposed nine due to bad weather – with defending champion Chris Froome abandoning after yet another crash.

The cobbled stage five was every bit as dramatic as we were promised it would be (pic: Bruno Bade/ASO)

He was not alone in taking a tumble – Andre Greipel, Arnaud Demare, Marcel Kittel, Jurgen van den Broeck, Andrew Talansky and Richie Porte were all among the men to taste the tarmac.

For Froome however, already suffering a wrist injury after his crash on stage four, it meant the end of his yellow jersey defence before it had even really begun.

And when the race hit the cobbles, it got even more dramatic still – Vincenzo Nibali putting paid to the theory he would struggle on the pave with a stunning mastery of the secteurs while Lars Boom took the stage.

Where Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) lost time, the Italian flew down the cobbles with the same grace he showed on the fearsome, snow-covered descents of last year’s Giro d’Italia.

But with the GC blown apart just five days into the race, where does it leave us going forward?

Read our five observations over the following pages.


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