Stage 5: Arras to Amiens

Remembering the Great War

Our ride today takes us through one of the most renowned and deadly battle zones of World War I, the Somme.  On the first day of the Battle of the Somme alone, British forces suffered a devastating loss, racking up approximately 60,000 casualties.  This part of the war has been memorialized in literature and the movies and, according to critics, may have indelibly stamped the imaginations of those who fought there.  Both C.S. Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia) and J.R.R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings) fought in the trenches at the Somme, and many readers believe the magnitude of that experience comes through in their writing.

Today’s stage route meanders around battlefields and cemeteries, taking 189 km to traverse a 70 km distance between the start and end points.  It is a flat stage, open and exposed to the wind, with a multitude of twists and turns that will challenge the riders’ ability to keep tabs on their rivals.  Opportunities to launch a surprise attack could be there for the taking – but only by a racer who is alert and ready to pounce in a split second.  It will be a fast and furious stage, one that should entertain and keep us in suspense!

My Pick to Win the Stage:  I’m sticking with Peter Sagan.  He will have to stay near the front of the pack to help protect Alberto Contador.  Plus, he’s been in the hunt for a stage win every day.  He’ll win one eventually; maybe today is his day.

My Pick to Wear the Yellow Jersey:  Tejay Van Garderen (BMC).  If he can pick up a few seconds on Chris Froome (Sky), the jersey is his.  Both teams are riding superbly thus far, so either one is a good bet.

My TDF BTG Recommendation:

We’re still in northern France, so let’s celebrate by sampling more Champagne.  When is that ever a bad idea?

Vive le Tour!