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Stage 5, Tour de France 2017: Vittel to La-Planche-des-Belles-Filles

A guide to Stage 5 of the Tour de France 2017, which is 160.5km (100 miles), from Vittel, to la Planche-des-Belles-Filles, in the Vosges mountains. This is the first summit finish of the 2017 Tour, and should indicate which of the GC favourites are in good form. The final ascent is quite short, but steep, with a section at 20%. Read about Stage 5 of the Tour de France 2017 here.

Aru wins Stage 5, Froome in yellow

5th July 2017

Fabio Aru

Fabio Aru, by Ciclismo Italia, Licence CC BY  2.0

The last breakaway riders were caught on the foot of the climb of la Planche-des-Belles-Filles, and the GC battle began. Nobody responded to Fabio Aru's attack, and he won the stage. Dan Martin was second, and Chris Froome third. Froome moves into yellow, with Thomas now second overall and Aru third.

Stage 5, Tour de France 2017: facts, figures, and map

Stage 5 of the Tour de France 2017 starts in Vittel, and heads east into the Vosges mountains. The route is shown on the Google map above. The race is in the Vosges département (88), and the Haute Saône (70).

Stage classification Hilly
Distance 160.5km
Intermediate sprint Faucogney
Climbs Côte d'Esmoulières (Category 3)
La-Planche-des-Belles-Filles (Category 1)

This is the official map of Stage 5.

The official Tour de France stage profile for Stage 5:

Profile of Stage 5, Tour de France 2017

Profile of Stage 5, Tour de France 2017, © Le Tour de France

Stage 5, Tour de France 2017: date & timings

Stage 5 takes place on Wednesday 5th July 2017.

The publicity caravan sets off from Vittel at 11h10, and arrives at the D16/D16E junction close to the finish at 15h09. (It probably can't go right to the finish line due to limited space).

The riders set off from Vittel at 13h10 (départ fictif)/ 13h20 (départ réel), and, depending on the average speed of the race, will arrive at la Planche-des-Belles-Filles between 16h54 and 17h15.

Stage 5, Tour de France 2017: the route

Stage 5, Tour de France 2017: the start in Vittel

Thermal baths, Vittel

La Grande Source, Vittel, by Pymouss, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

The stage starts in Vittel, a small town with a big reputation for mineral water, and also where Stage 4 finishes the previous day. This map shows the route at the start of Stage 5 in Vittel:

Map of start of Stage 5, Tour de France 2017, in Vittel

Map of the route of Stage 5 at the start in Vittel, © Vittel Tourisme

Stage 5, Tour de France 2017: Vittel to Faucogney

Luxeuil-les-Bains

Luxeuil-les-Bains (public domain photo)

On the first part of Stage 5, the riders head south east from Vittel, through rolling country. They go to Darney (which gives its name to the nearby oak and beech forest, the Forêt de Darney; Czechoslovakian volunteers assembled in Darney during World War I, and the country's independence was declared here on 30th June 1918).

Château de Darney

Château de Darney, by Espirat, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

After the village of Claudon, the route leaves the Vosges and enters the Haute Saône. Here, it passes through Passavant-la-Rochère (which has a glass-blowing factory), Demangevelle (on the river Coney), and Vauvillers.

Vauvillers

Entrance of the old château at Vauvillers, by Espirat, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

In Bouligney, there's a fountain with a statue of Napoléon I on top. The story is that the council wanted a Napoléon III statue, but due to an administrative error, they got Bonaparte instead.

Fontaine Napoléon, Bouligney

Fontaine Napoléon, Bouligney, by Lionel Allorge, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Next on the route is Saint-Loup-sur-Semouse, known for making comfy chairs - but there'll be no time for a sit down.

Saint-Loup-sur-Semouse

Saint-Loup-sur-Semouse, by Espirat, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

The route continues to Luxeuil-les-Bains. From Luxeuil-les-Bains, the riders go north, uphill and into the forest, then down to Fougerolles - known for its cherries, and cherry liqueur (Kirsch de Fougerolles).

Fougerolles

Cherry sculpture, Fougerolles, by A.BourgeoisP, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

At the risk of repeating myself, there'll be no time for drinking kirsch - the riders have to pedal on through the forest to Raddon-et-Chapendu. They're in the Région de Mille Etangs (Region of a Thousand Ponds). This is a plateau formed during the last Ice Age. Deposits of glacial sediment and debris prevented water running away, and favoured the formation of ponds or small lakes. This area resembles certain Scandinavian landscapes, and is sometimes referred to as 'Petite Finlande', by analogy with the Thousand Lakes area of Finland.

Landscape in the Mille Etangs region

Landscape in the Mille Etangs region

After 102.5km of racing, the peloton arrives at Faucogney-et-la-Mer, for the intermediate sprint. 

Profile of the intermediate sprint on Stage 5, TDF 2017, at Faucogney

Profile of the intermediate sprint on Stage 5 at Faucogney, © ASO/Tour de France

Stage 5, Tour de France 2017: Faucogney to Plancher-les-Mines

Plancher-les-Mines

Plancher-les-Mines, by Bourgeois.A, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Shortly after leaving Faucogney, the road ramps up, and the riders begin the first categorised climb of the day - the Category 3 Côte d'Esmoulières, which is 2.3km at an average gradient of 8%. The height at the top is 573m.

Col des Croix

Col des Croix, by Rauenstein, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Beyond the official summit, the course continues to climb through the Mille Etangs region, but less steeply. It goes over the Col des Croix (679m), and passes close to the Fort de Château-Lambert. Here, the race is on the edge of the Réserve Naturelle des Ballons Comtois, on the flank of the Ballon de Servance. There's then a long descent to Servance.

Le Saut de l'Ognon

Le Saut de l'Ognon waterfall at Servance, by Thomas Bresson, Licence CC BY 2.0

From Servance, the riders follow the course of the river Ognon, going downstream; they then ride close to one of its tributaries, the Raddon, heading upstream. They go through Fresse (which had silver mines in the C16th; many of its men went to work in coal mines at Ronchamp in the C19th), and when they get to Plancher-les-Mines, it's all uphill from there to the finish.

Stage 5, Tour de France 2017: the climb to the finish at la Planche-des-Belles-Filles

Climb of La-Planche-des-Belles-Filles in the TDF 2014

Climb of La-Planche-des-Belles-Filles in the TDF 2014, by youkeys, Licence CC BY 2.0

The climb from Plancher-les-Mines to the finish at la Planche-des-Belles-Filles is over a distance of 6km, and from an altitude of 532m to 1,035m - a height gain of 503m. The average gradient is 8.5%, but there is a section at the end at 20%. As in 2012, the climb of la Planche-des-Belles-Filles is 1st Category.

Profile of the climb of La-Planche-des-Belles-Filles

Profile of the climb of La-Planche-des-Belles-Filles, © ASO/Tour de France

Stage 5, Tour de France 2017: favourites for the stage win

Chris Froome chatting to John Kerry, August 2016

Chris Froome chatting to John Kerry, August 2016 (public domain photo)

Stage 5 is a chance for the overall contenders to show they are in form, and gain time on their rivals. Chris Froome did well on this climb in the past, in winning the stage in 2012. He will be targeting it for a good performance in 2017. His form has been disappointing this year so far; that's either because his training is perfectly geared towards peaking for the Tour de France, or it isn't, and he just hasn't got the same commanding form as before.

William Fotheringham in the The Guardian describes Stage 5 as, '...the first set-piece summit finish, on the short, brutal climb to a small ski station in the middle of nowhere where Froome won in 2012. It is a simple equation: if Sky's leader is on form he will make an early mark here. If he loses even a few seconds, the pressure will be on.'

If not Froome, then who? Richie Porte looks to be in the best shape he has ever been in; Romain Bardet, Esteban Chaves, and Simon Yates would all expect to stay with the elite riders at the sharp end of the race; and Nairo Quintana and Fabio Aru are contenders for the win. After his overall victory at the Dauphiné, could Jakob Fuglsang take first place at la Planche-des-Belles-Filles?

Stage 5, Tour de France 2017: La-Planche-des-Belles-Filles in the Tour de France

La-Planche-des-Belles-Filles has featured in the Tour de France twice before - in 2012 and 2014. 

On 7th July 2012, Chris Froome won Stage 7 from Tomblaine to La-Planche-des-Belles-Filles, the first Tour de France stage victory of his career. Cadel Evans was second, 2s back, with Bradley Wiggins in third place (also +2s). Wiggins took the yellow jersey from Fabian Cancellara that day.

Stage 10 of the 2014 Tour de France was from Mulhouse to la Planche-des-Belles-Filles. This was the day when Alberto Contador fell and injured his knee on the descent of the Petit Ballon, and had to abandon the Tour. A breakaway was chased down by Lotto-Belisol, for Tony Gallopin, and Astana, for Vincenzo Nibali. The last survivor of the lead group was Joaquim Rodriguez, but he was caught and passed by Nibali on the final climb. Nibali won the stage, with Thibaut Pinot second, and Alejandro Valverde third.

Stage 5, Tour de France 2017: comments

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Stage 6, Tour de France 2017

Troyes

Troyes, by openroads.com, Licence CC BY 2.0

Stage 6 of the Tour de France 2017 is 216km from Vesoul to Troyes. This is an out-and-out sprinters' stage.

Read about Stage 6, Tour de France 2017.

Stage 5, Tour de France 2017: towns, sights and attractions

Stage 5, Tour de France 2017: Vittel

Hotel de Ville, Vittel

Hotel de Ville, Vittel, by Harald Bischoff, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Vittel is a small town in the Vosges département of France, famous for Vittel mineral water.

Vittel was founded in 1854, when lawyer Louis Bouloumié bought the Fontaine de Gérémoy. He built a pavilion there, and a spa resort grew up around it.

In World War I, the US Army Base Hospital 36, from Detroit, Michigan, occupied five hotels and the casino.

In World War II, the grass airstrip at Vittel was used by the US Army Air Forces for light liaison aircraft during the Battle for France in 1944. Captured Luftwaffe aircraft were stocked in Vittel in 1945.

Vittel mineral water has been bottled since 1854. It is owned by Nestlé.

Stage 5, Tour de France 2017: Saint-Loup-sur-Semouse

Saint-Loup-sur-Semouse

Saint-Loup-sur-Semouse, by Espirat, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

Saint-Loup-sur-Semouse is at the confluence of three rivers - the Semouse, the Augronne, and the Combeauté.

The head office of French furniture manufacturer Parisot is in Saint-Loup-sur-Semouse. In the 1950s and 60s, they attracted a lot of North African immigrants here to work for them, and more recently, eastern Europeans made a similar journey.

Stage 5, Tour de France 2017: Luxeuil-les-Bains

Luxeuil-les-Bains is on the site of the Roman town of Luxovium, which was destroyed by Attila the Hun in 451.

The Abbey of Luxeuil was founded by St Columban in 590, and it became one of the most renowned in France. It suffered at the hands of the Saracens in the 700s, then from attacks by the Normans, the Magyars, and the Muslims. The Abbey schools were famous in the Middle Ages. The Abbey lasted until the French Revolution.

Today, Luxeuil-les-Bains is popular with visitors for its old buildings, and its thermal waters. There's also a lace museum, which celebrates the town's past as a lace-making centre, particularly in the Second Empire (the time of Napoléon III).

Stage 5, Tour de France 2017: Plancher-les-Mines

Plancher-les-Mines

Plancher-les-Mines, by Bourgeois.A, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Plancher-les-Mines is a village in the Vosges mountains, and the département of the Haute-Saône. It is in a glacial valley at the foot of the Planche des Belles Filles and the Ballon Saint-Antoine.

The name Plancher probably comes from planches, meaning planks, in this case used as a bridge over the stream, le Rahin. It is called 'les Mines' because there were silver, iron, and lead mines here.

Stage 5, Tour de France 2017: La-Planche-des-Belles-Filles

La-Planche-des-Belles-Filles is a mountain resort in the Vosges mountains.

Thermal baths, VittelLuxeuil-les-BainsLa-Planche-des-Belles-Filles

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