In the most exciting stage of the 2022 Tour de France, Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech) rode to a victory in Stage 5 during a hellacious route that included 19 km of cobblestones from Lille to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut.

Stage 5 2022 Tour de France Simon Clarke Cobblestones Crash Roglic
Simon Clarke barely reaches the finish line first ahead of Taco van der Hoorn during a Stage 5 victory at the 2022 Tour de France. (Image: Getty)

Clarke edged out Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) in a photo finish to take the top step on the Tour de France podium after dominating the cobblestones in Stage 5. The two were a part of a small breakaway group that also included Edvald Boasson-Hagen (TotalEnergies) and American rider Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost), who all avoided getting caught by the chase pack.

2022 Tour de France – Stage 5 Results
  1. Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech) 03:13:35
  2. Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) +0:00
  3. Edvald Boasson-Hagen (TotalEnergies) +0:02

Despite a crash and nearly hitting another one, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) retained the yellow jersey for another day. However, van Aert’s overall lead shrunk to just 13 seconds, with Powless in second overall in the GC.

Most importantly, defending champion Tadej Pogacar survived the cobblestones in Stage 5 without any issues and is now only 19 seconds off the lead after taking advantage of a disastrous day from Jumbo-Visma.

Stage 5: Lille > Arenberg Porte du Hainaut

Clarke, 36, began the new year without a team or a contract. Israel-Premier Tech finally added the Aussie and he rewarded his new team with their first-ever stage victory.

In order to avoid crashes due to Tour de France cobblestones, Clarke was a part of a six-man breakaway in Stage 5 with Taco van der Hoorn, Edvald Boasson-Hagen, Neilson Powless, Magnus Cort, and Jasper Stuyven. In the final stretch of Stage 5, all of the breakaway riders were gassed, but they had enough of a lead that none of them had to worry about Pogacar catching them.

“I still can’t believe I got it on the line,” said Clarke. “Taco was well ahead of me with less than 50 meters to go, both legs were camping and I just lined up the biggest throw I could possibly do and prayed it was enough. I need to watch the replay. Still don’t quite believe it.”

Van der Hoorn lost to Clarke in a photo finish, while a drained Boasson-Hagen finish in third two seconds later.

Powless took fourth in the stage, finishing four seconds behind Clarke and Van der Hoorn. Powless missed a chance to snatch the yellow jersey away from van Aert and is now just 13 seconds behind the leader. He made his move with 1 km to the finish, but he ran out of gas.

“Despite missing out on yellow, I’m very, very happy,” said Powless. “I accomplished my goal of getting into the breakaway ahead of all the mess. I was able to move up a few spots on GC, which was a bonus. In the end, I was just happy to be up there and safe.”

Jumbo-Visma bad beats: Van Aert and Roglic crash

Jumbo-Visma’s Wout van Aert — in the yellow jersey — crashed with 95 km to go. It looked like he might have hurt his collarbone, but he quickly got back on the saddle and chased down the peloton. While getting instructions from a teammate, van Aert almost crashed a second time when he avoided a rear-end collision with a DSM team car.

With approximately 30 km to go, Roglic crashed in a roundabout. Roglic suffered a dislocated shoulder, but he pulled a Mel Gibson from “Lethal Weapon,” popping his dislodged shoulder back in without assistance from medical staff. What’s even crazier is that Roglic jumped on his bike and finished the stage.

Roglic lost over two minutes due to the crash and it’s doubtful he can shed one minute, let alone two. Roglic plummeted to 44th place and is now 2:36 off the lead, and 2:17 behind Pogacar.

Jumbo-Visma’s awful day continued when Jonas Vingegaard suffered a bike malfunction. A much taller teammate attempted to give him his bike, but it wasn’t feasible, and he had to wait for the team car to provide him with a replacement. With Roglic down and Vingegaard swapping out bikes, Pogacar took advantage of the situation, chasing down the breakaway group to pad his lead on the GC contenders from Jumbo-Visma.

Thanks to van Aert pulling Jumbo-Visma, Vingegaard trimmed Pogacar’s lead. Vingegaard is currently in seventh place overall, finishing 40 seconds behind teammate van Aert. The unflappable young Dane is only 21 seconds behind Pogacar. Although it looks like Roglic’s dream of winning the Tour de France has been crushed, Vingegaard still has a shot thanks to van Aert’s heroics and Jumbo-Visma’s team effort to reduce Pogacar’s push.

On Deck Stage 6: Binche > Longwy

The peloton faces a hilly 220 km ride from Binche to Longwy as Stage 6 hugs the French-Belgian border. The route dips into Belgium before the first summit finish on Le Tour after a Category 3 ascent of Cote de Pulventeux.

Expect some climbers to stage hunt in Stage 6, while other big dogs in the GC might take it easy after surviving the cobblestones. Van Aert is the betting favorite to win Stage 6 at +350 odds via DraftKings, but if anyone needs an easy day, it’s him. Then again, when you’re wearing the yellow jersey, it’s proper etiquette to do everything possible to retain it.

Pogacar is the other betting favorite to win Stage 6 at +850 odds, but we’ll see if he applies more pressure to the other GC contenders, or if he takes a casual ride into Longwy.

Keep an eye on stage hunters Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Victorious) and Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco), who are both +1400 odds to win Stage 6.

2022 Le Tour – Overall GC Standings
  1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 16:17:22
  2. Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) +0:13
  3. Edvald Boasson-Hagen (TotalEnergies) +0:14
  4. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +0:19
  5. Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) +0:25

Pogacar sits in fourth place in the GC standings and 19 seconds behind van Aert. Pogacar is -360 to win Le Tour this year and secure a three-peat. Vingegaard, last year’s runner-up, is Pogacar’s closest competition at +300 odds.

Roglic saw his odds dip to +1600. Even though there are still two more weeks remaining, including mountain stages in the Alps and Pyrenees, the banged-up Roglic saw his championship chances blow up on the cobblestones.

Check out more coverage of the 2022 Tour de France.