An extremely strong Emanuel Buchmann celebrated his return to the top of the world at the first Pyrenees spectacle and paved the way for his captain Jai Hindley to get the yellow jersey. Thanks to the strong support of the German champion, Hindley took the lead in the overall standings with his solo victory on the first high mountain stage of the 110th Tour de France on Wednesday and gave the German Bora-hansgrohe racing team the second yellow jersey in team history. Buchmann completed the triumph with fourth place. “The result is just perfect,” said Buchmann.
Meanwhile, two-time Tour champion Tadej Pogacar suffered a heavy blow, being duped by defending champion Jonas Vingegaard on the final climb and losing a good minute to the Dane.
Hindley single-handedly won the fifth stage from Pau to Laruns over 162.7 kilometers ahead of Italian Giulio Ciccone and Austrian Felix Gall. The 2022 Giro d’Italia champion thus replaced British winner Adam Yates as the leader. “That’s incredible. I don’t even know what to say,” Hindley stammered.
The day’s big loser, however, was Pogacar, who, similar to last year, was left behind in the high mountains of Vingegaard. In 2020, Pogacar had won his first stage of the tour in Laruns.
But the Bora racing team managed a real coup. The team was represented by three drivers in a high-calibre breakaway group. The plan worked out perfectly. German champion Buchmann accompanied Hindley over the 1540m Col de Soudet and also provided great help on the ramps of the Col de Marie Blanque before Hindley completed the job. For the team of team boss Ralph Denk it was only the second yellow jersey, for the first time ex-world champion Peter Sagan catapulted the Raublinger team to the top for a day in 2018.
The tour de force also paid off for Buchmann. The native of Ravensburger, who had even finished fourth overall in 2019, moved back up to fourth place in the classification. He is 1:11 minutes behind Hindley, overall second is Vingegaard again (0:47). “We didn’t expect that before the stage,” assured Buchmann. The starting shot in Pau had hardly been given before things got down to business. In particular, all-rounder Wout van Aert put a lot of pressure on the pace and blew up the peloton. Pogacar and his UAE team had underestimated the action and had to follow and do a lot of work for the rest of the stage.
The main victims of the hell of a pace were the sprinters, who had to let the track break free. Especially the Dutch sprint star Fabio Jakobsen, who was already suffering from injuries from a fall the day before, had a hard time struggling. For the German sprint surprise Phil Bauhaus, on the first tour stages in the high mountains of his career, it was only about staying in the waiting period.
Bauhaus had surprised at the first two mass arrivals of the tour with second and third place. However, he was subsequently punished for his sprint on Tuesday: 50 points deducted in the fight for the green jersey, a time penalty of 30 seconds and 500 Swiss francs cost the Bocholter a bump in the sprint final. Bauhaus should be able to get over the punishment.
The suffering in the Pyrenees continues for the sprinters on Thursday when the first mountain finish is on the agenda. At the end of the sixth stage over 144.9 kilometers, the ascent to Cauterets-Cambasque, a mountain in the first category, awaits. Before that, it also goes over the Col d’Aspin and the legendary Col du Tourmalet at an altitude of 2115 meters.