After a 100km breakaway in the company of Frenchman Joel Pelier, Dutchman Johan Van der Velde won the sprint at this seaside resort and as a plus took the yellow jersey. It was surprising that the pack let go two riders of such high quality. Pelier with his gritty attacking style has occasionally been called the next Hinault. Van der Velde has won both the mountainous Tour de Romandie and Dauphine Libere, and finished third overall in the 1982 Tour de France behind Hinault and Joop Zoetemelk.
But Van der Velde also has had his downside: winning Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 1981 and then testing positive, convicted of burning down his own house for insurance money, and the victim of a high-speed crash and skull fracture in the ’83 Tour that almost ended his career.
Since that date Van der Velde, in exile in Italy, has done nothing of note apart from a Giro d’Italia stage win. In making his move, the Dutchman realized Systeme U might want to give up some of the responsibility of policing the racing all day long. Working well together, Pelier and Van der Velde at one point had 5:43 on the bunch. Despite both having to dismount on a super steep Cat 3 climb 6.5 km from the finish, they still had a comfortable 1;15 margin in Villiers. The sprint was almost a formality, with Van der Velde leaving Pelier lengths behind.
Once again, there were many crashes, including one that forced Fagor team leader Pedro Munoz to abandon. You could see it that evening on French T: Team 7-Eleven’s veteran rider Doug Shapiro turned to clown on the camera and plowed into Munoz, taking them both down.
In 194th and last place on the stage, losing 7:09, was Alexi Grewal, who crashed with 25km to go just as the speed was picking up for the finish.
The GC after today’s stage:
1. Van der Velde 19:01:50
2. Gaigne :36
3. Marie :42
4. Mottet :45
5. Fignon :49
26. Bauer 2:36
40. Hampsten 2:57
85. Stieda 5:19
104. Phinney 5:57
105. Heiden s.t.
130. Bob Roll
142: Jeff Pierce 6:22
151. Chris Carmichael 6:38
157. Doug Shapiro s.t.
159. Ron Kiefel 6:41
185. Grewal 12:09
Today’s race clip shows the last minute of the break, the finishing sprint, and the bunch rolling on through.
Please join us tomorrow for coverage of Stage 6 of the Tour de France!
If enjoyed this passage from Slaying the Badger, you’ll love the award-winning book by Richard Moore! Slaying the Badger recounts in incomparable detail the extraordinary rivalry between young American Greg LeMond and his teammate, the legendary French rider Bernard Hinault, at the 1986 Tour de France. This article is a replay of the 1986 Tour de France created by VeloPress using passages from Slaying the Badger, the archives of Velo-news magazine, and race videos from YouTube. VeloPress published “race reports” from the 1986 Tour de France during each day of the 2012 Tour de France. VeloPress is pleased to archive this 1986 Tour de France replay for your enjoyment.
This stage’s race coverage is brought to you by Shimano Dura-Ace Track: good news for cyclists that demand only the best.