The Luxembourger made significant inroads in the rankings with three days to go.
Thursday’s stage 5 against the clock was the longest of this kind at the “Race to the Sun” since 2011, but surprisingly, the gaps between the GC favourites weren’t that big, leaving the race wide open ahead of the two mountain stages scheduled in the weekend. Starting and finishing in Barbentane, the course didn’t feature any difficulties, apart from a small unclassified climb that the riders had to tackle inside the final ten kilometres and an uphill drag to the line which kicked out with 300 meters to go.
At the beginning of the day, Bob Jungels was outside the top 10, but the multiple champion of Luxembourg knew he had a strong chance of breaking into the top five and rode at a solid pace as soon as he left the start house, coming through the intermediate checkpoint at Abbaye de Saint-Michel de Frigolet in 19:41.
At the end of the day, the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne winner managed 11th, after averaging more than 49km/h, and stopped the clock in 31:05, recording an impressive jump of 17 places in the general classification, where he lies fifth ahead of the testing stage 6 between Peynier and Brignoles, which is set to take the peloton over a tough terrain that includes eight climbs, only three of which are ranked.
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