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Tour de France Stage 5 Preview: Not a Hill To Be Seen

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Le-tour_mediumTomorrow's stage 5 runs from Rouen to Saint-Quentin. The stage runs northeast, and passes just north of Paris. The Tour, she is cruel. The riders still have over two weeks of racing until they reach the finish in Paris.

Thursday's stage, this thing is impressive in its flatness. How flat is it? There are no categorized climbs on the profile. Not a one. At kilometer 109, there is an intermediate sprint at Breteuil. That should liven up the action for a short while at least. Mark Cavendish and Matt Goss have shown the most interest in these intermediate sprints, while today's stage winner André Greipel has not contested them.

Inside the final three kilometers, the course makes a sweeping right-hand turn. Then, two sharp left-turns follow in rapid succession. The sprinters will be hoping that Lotto-Bellisol does its lead-out thing again tomorrow and pilots everyone through the corners safely. Otherwise, things could get a bit chaotic there near the finish.

Though Mark Cavendish crashed in the run-in to today's stage, he will reportedly start the stage tomorrow. Berhard Eisel, also in the crash, is expected to start, too. No word on other riders so far, though Tyler Farrar went down in the stack-up.

It should be a chill day for the general classification riders, and Fabian Cancellara's yellow jersey looks quite secure on his big Swiss shoulders.

Here is the current general classification.