2022 Tour of Denmark Stage 5 Preview

Give > Vejle 125.4km

The final stage is one that’s well known to those who watch the Tour of Denmark. Repeated laps of the circuit in Vejle has been a staple of this race for many years, but the organisers have moved it to the final stage and significantly shortened the stage, I like it a lot! Normally, we’re talking around 200km, but this year it’s only 125km and it still features lots of climbing, including the famous Kiddesvej. The organisers want to see some action and I’m sure that’s exactly what they’ll get.

Weather

Sunny and the wind will interest some. We have lots of crosswind throughout the stage, including all of the opening 25km. The problem is the wind will stay under 20km/h, making it hard to create echelons, but the cross/tailwind in the opening 25km will ensure some will try.

Before the Circuit

There are four categorised climbs between km42 and km72, the final one is very steep indeed. Given the length of the stage, there’s a good chance these climbs are done at pace and riders will be dropped before the circuit.

The Circuit

A circuit I know very well. It was back in 2013 when I first watched this race, and I’ve watched it every year since. I love the Kiddesvej, it’s my type of climb (to watch!). It might only last 300m, but an average gradient of 13% means damage will be done. Positioning on the climb is vital, if you are on the wheel of someone who lets a gap go, it’s game over. The climb is perfect for a strong sprinter/puncheur, you need a lot of grunt to smash it over the top. 

Tactics

The first intermediate sprint comes after 15km, surely Jumbo-Visma will hold the bunch together for this one. Laporte currently sits on the same time as Sheffield, this is a great chance to move ahead before even getting to the lap circuit, where you just never know what will happen.

With so many riders still close on GC, and the stage only being 125km, it’s highly unlikely the break will stay away. Ineos, Jumbo-Visma, DSM and Trek-Segafredo will all have interest in chasing the morning move and setting up a big finish in Vejle. One thing no one knows is just when the finale will kick off, six times up the Kiddesvej is going to be very demanding. In previous years we’ve seen attacks early in the circuits, but we’ve also seen the race altogether for the final ascent of the climb. As we have so many riders still close on GC, things could get very tactical.

Ineos have a job on their hands, Sheffield is in the race lead, but how will they hold off Laporte and Skjelmose, two riders who should have a faster finish. They would love the bonus seconds to be taken by a rider who isn’t a threat on GC, but that is very unlikely. They do have Thomas sitting just 15s down, he has to be used as an attacking rider, forcing Jumbo-Visma into working. The Dutch team also have two riders high on GC, Mike Van Dijke is just 30s down on GC. Trek-Segafredo also have two options, Skjelmose is 3s down and Stuyven is at 24s.

Having so many riders close on GC makes it a tactical nightmare, for me at least. Both Jumbo-Visma and Ineos have strong teams, I would expect the race to be held together until the final 20km, then the fun will start. Given the way he’s been punching up the hills this year, Laporte will start as the big favourite to win the stage and GC, it’s up to the others to manufacture a race situation where he’s put under pressure. If the race is altogether for the final climb, I can’t see him being beaten, that means the others must attack before then. 

Contenders

Christophe Laporte – it’s a good stage for him, one that’s previously been won by Wout Van Aert and Mads Pedersen. Jumbo-Visma have a strong team at this race, most of them will be able to go very deep into the stage, which is important as it could get chaotic towards the end. The team will have one goal, get Laporte to the foot of the final climb in the front group, then it’s over to him. 

Mattias Skjelmose – current form is off the chart, he’s enjoying one of those spells where everything clicks. Yes, he is a climber, but he also has a very fast turn of speed. To win this stage you need a proper kick for Kiddesvej, he should be able to go with the best. The problem for him will be Laporte, getting the better of him will be very hard.

Magnus Cort – another who has the kick required for Kiddesvej. He sits 16s down on GC, winning the overall will be difficult, but not impossible. Cort is one of the best climbing sprinters in the world, I expect him to go early and throw caution to the wind.

Søren Kragh – another who won’t be waiting for the final lap. His TT was good, but if he was on top form he would have won it. I don’t think he’ll win this stage.

Jasper Philipsen – I find him an interesting pick for this stage. The Belgian is very good at punching up short hills, but can he cope with the repeated efforts in this stage? It wouldn’t surprise me to see him in the mix when we hit the final lap, but I think he’ll run out of gas last time up the climb.

Mauro Schmid – another rider who is good on steep climbs, but given the level of his competition, the best he can hope for is a top 5.

Mads Würtz – he’s a bit of a dark horse for this stage. The Dane sits 35s down on GC, it’s not far enough down to buy freedom. He knows that he won’t be able to win from the front group if it’s all together for the final climb, he needs to attack early. He is no stranger to riding an attacking race, he’s exactly the type of rider to go from distance and try to surprise the bigger names.

Magnus Sheffield – this is a tricky stage for him to negotiate. He’s no slouch in the sprint, but he’s not as fast as Laporte. Ineos will need to come up with a plan that includes Laporte having to use energy before the big finish, that’s their only hope of winning the race.

Prediction Time

He’s been one of the best on kickers this year, so I’m taking a win for Christophe Laporte.

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