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Gallery: Is the Tour de France already over after Stage 5's time-trial?

Joe Robinson
1 Jul 2021

Tadej Pogacar crushes rivals on Stage 5 time-trial to Laval Espace Mayenne

Is the Tour de France already over? After the Stage 5 time-trial from Changé to Laval Espace Mayenne, it kind of feels that way.

Defending champion Tadej Pogacar won the stage but he also did much more than that – he absolutely crushed his yellow jersey opposition.

In just 27.2km this race of truth told no lies as Pogacar banked 44 seconds on Primoz Roglic, 1 minute 18 seconds on Geraint Thomas, 1 minute 44 seconds on Richard Carapaz, 1 minute 49 seconds on Wilco Kelderman and 2 minutes 8 seconds on Miguel Angel Lopez.

Pogacar is the strongest rider at this race.

Just five days in, the 22-year-old is already sitting in virtual yellow – the actual thing being kept warm by another phenomenal rider, Mathieu van der Poel – and with a buffer of 80 seconds to his nearest legitimate rival, EF Education-Nippo's Rigoberto Uran.

From this moment onwards, the pressure will be on Roglic, the Ineos Grenadiers, Julian Alaphillippe and the rest to take the race to Pogacar in the upcoming mountains – a tough task. 

Looking at how last year's race unfolded, the only time the young Slovenian lost ground to his rivals was in crosswinds early in the race. Throughout the mountains and on that now-infamous La Planche des Belle Filles time-trial, Pogacar was only in the business of taking time.

Obviously, this is an overreaction. Grand Tours are slow burners with multiple acts, and nobody ever wins in the first week. There is far too much road ahead for that. But barring injury or incident, it is becoming incredibly tricky to picture a Tour winner not called Tadej.

Below, Chris Auld's images from the Stage 5 time-trial: