Map and profile of the 163km route from Pau to Laruns

The Tour de France 2023 takes off for the high Pyrenees during the fifth stage on Wednesday.

After two hilly courses in the Spanish Basque Country and two flat courses in the French Basque Country, the serious contenders for the yellow jersey should be noticed over the next two days, and we may know a little more about the fate of the crown this year. .

This 163 km route from Pau to Laruns is flat for the first 70 km, then comes the first except category climb of this year’s race, the Col du Soudet (15.2km at 7.2%). It’s a long and grueling drag to the top, and we can expect a lot of pelotons to be left behind here as the leaders pick up the pace. Yellow jersey Adam Yates said he expected “full” races between the main contenders, despite the prospect of the giant Col du Tourmalet on Thursday.

This means two-time winner Tadej Pogacar, who is looking to win again after being dethroned last year, and defending champion Jonas Vingaard will likely face each other and we could see attacks here in the middle of the stage.

They might not be up front, though: American rider Neilson Powless has made his desire to win the polka dot jersey clear and he’ll be determined to hit the road first to collect more King of the Points. Mountains to add to his first collection. Powless has typically collected one and two points for being first on category three and four climbs, but non-category climbs hold 20 KoM points for first place, and collecting them would put him in a strong position to go to the end of the polka dot race.

Once past the Soudet, the riders will face yet another difficult climb, the Category 1 Col de Marie Blanque (7.7km at 8.6%), shortly before the finish. If the breakaway is still leading the race from the top then it will have a strong chance of reaching the end for the stage win. The descent from Marie Blanque is fast, before a slight climb of about 7km until the arrival in Laruns.

The breakaway will likely be caught by the strength of the elite riders on what is a tough stage. Pogacar and Vingaard could well win a stage like this and establish their authority over the race. Also watch out for Tom Pidcock; the Ineos rider can use the fast descents to his advantage.

Stage 5 route map and profile

Map of stage 5 (around)

Map of stage 5 (around)

Profile step 5 (around)

Profile step 5 (around)

Start time

The stage is expected to start around 12:00 BST and finish around 4:30 BST.


Everything is in place for one of the two greats to take the yellow jersey. Vingegaard is so strong in the high mountains and unlikely to be dropped at any time, but Pogacar has the speed to win on a relatively flat finish.

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