Orcières-Merlette (dpa) – Emanuel Buchmann fought hard to join the first climbing show, but the German motorcycle heap was powerless against the strength of ex-ski jumper Primoz Roglic.
Last year’s fourth lost nine seconds on the first mountain slope of the 107th Tour de France at 1,825 meters – a minor downer for last year’s fourth in the 4th Tour stage, but that’s all. Roglic underscored his role as a favorite at the Orcières-Merlette ski station, even though he didn’t endanger French star Julian Alaphilippe’s yellow jersey.
Roglic won after 160.5 kilometers before his fellow countryman Tadej Pogacar. Last year’s winner, Egan Bernal from Colombia, was also in tow with the two Slovenes and lost no time. “I haven’t lost much yet, that’s still within limits,” said Buchmann. The fall injuries are halfway through. Where cycling legend Eddy Merckx lost almost nine minutes on the Spanish climbing tops Luis Ocaña in 1971, the fourth of last year had only minor problems on the final 7.1 kilometer climb with an average gradient of 6.7 percent.
Alaphilippe also struggled, but he made up for his weaker climbing ability with a different energy output. The darling of France will wear the yellow jersey for the 17th time in his career on Wednesday, taking him to ninth place in the French all-time standings – on the same level as former world champion André Darrigade and former tour champion Roger Pingeon. “An Art Déja-vu”, wrote the sports newspaper “L’Equipe” in view of Alaphilippe’s triumphant drive last year.
The decision on the day’s victory was made on the last kilometer when Roglic took over command. “My boys did a great job. I was in a good position,” said the 30-year-old. For Tony Martin’s teammate it was already the sixth victory of the season in 13 racing days. The fall on the Dauphiné tour does not seem to affect him anymore.
Previously, a six-member breakaway with Nils Politt dominated the event. Immediately after the start, the sextet had fled and now had a four-minute lead. On a descent, Politt tried alone, but was overtaken again. It was the first time that the Paris-Roubaix runner-up performed in 2019. The Cologne man had already started the trip with back pain. However, on the penultimate mountain, Politt’s venture was over.
The sprinters are popular again in the 5th stage. More than 183 kilometers from Gap to Privas there are only two mountains of the fourth category.