Stage five of the 2022 Tour de France was the most brutal yet as the cobblestones of northern France took plenty of prisoners, dishing out dents in the yellow jersey ambitions of several contenders including Jumbo-Visma’s Primoz Roglic, but there is little respite on stage six as the peloton faces the longest route of the race.
Stage six begins in Binche, Belgium, before winding south-east along the border to Longwy, France. The general classification contenders are unlikely to want a dust up on a stage like this one, particularly with this Tour’s first summit finish to come on Friday where the gloves will be off. That means any breakaway made up of riders outside the GC mix could be allowed to run free and make a move stick all the way to the finish.
Whether the winner comes from a breakaway or from the main bunch, they will need the strong legs of a puncheur, capable of handling the four climbs and three descents which lie before the finish like hurdles. First is the category four Cote de Montigny-sur-Chiers, before an uncategorised climb, and then the much more gruelling Cote de Pulventeux which, at an average 12 per cent gradient, has enough about it to thin the crowd should someone attack here.
Once over the top and down the other side, the stage winner faces a final slow drag up the Cote des Religieuses to the line.
One might naturally pick Julian Alaphilippe for a day like this one if the road race world champion was not absent. Mathieu van der Poel would be an obvious choice too, except that he is struggling to find anything in his legs this week and seems unlikely to make it to Paris on current evidence, perhaps suffering a hangover from the Giro d’Italia.
Who does that leave? Perhaps Wout van Aert is best suited of those looking fresh, but the man wearing the yellow jersey has other responsibilities protecting team leader Jonas Vingegaard, which held him back during stage five, and he may not be allowed to go roaming for victory here. He may not feel up for it either, having crashed during Wednesday’s race.
Other potential candidates near the top of the general classification include Mads Pederson (Trek-Segafredo) and Ineos riders Adam Yates and Tom Pidcock. But if it is to be a day for a breakaway artist then how about Marej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious) or Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), who both love to escape up the road and then plot their way to victory.
Stage 6 profile
Stage 6 start time
The stage is scheduled to begin at around 11.15am BST and should finish around 4:30pm BST.
How to watch on TV and online
Tour de France coverage can be found this year on ITV4, Eurosport, Discovery+ and GCN+ (Global Cycling Network).
Live racing each day will be shown on ITV4 before highlights typically at 7pm each day. ITV’s website lists timings here.
It is also being shown on Eurosport’s Discovery+ streaming service, with broadcast info here.
Overall standings (top 10)
1. Wout van Aert, Belgium, Jumbo-Visma, 16:17:22.
2. Neilson Powless, United States, EF Education-EasyPost, +13 behind.
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen, Norway, TotalEnergies, +14.
4. Tadej Pogacar, Slovenia, UAE Team Emirates, +19.
6. Yves Lampaert, Belgium, QuickStep-AlphaVinyl, +25.
7. Mads Pedersen, Denmark, Trek-Segafredo, +36.
8. Adam Yates, Great Britian, Ineos Grenadiers, +48.
9. Thomas Pidcock, Great Britain, Ineos Grenadiers, +49.
10. Geraint Thomas, Great Britain, Ineos Grenadiers, +50.