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Two cobbled sections cut from route of today’s Tour de France stage

Weather causes changes to parcours on safety grounds

Two of the nine cobbled sections due to have been used on Stage 5 of the Tour de France are reportedly being skipped today on safety grounds, with heavy rain expected to continue throughout the day in northern France.

The sections in question are number 7 at Mons-en-Pévèle (1 kilometre in length), and number 5 (1.4km), from Orchies to Beuvry-la-Forêt, according to a tweet from Laurent Bruwier of Belgian broadcaster RTBF. They’re not the most difficult on today’s route.

Today’s stage, which incorporates some of the cobbled sections used in Paris-Roubaix – there will now be seven sections totalling 13km – is one of the most eagerly anticipated of this year’s race by fans.

However it is also perhaps the most feared by many riders including the overall contenders due to the unpredictability of riding on the pavé and the threat of losing significant time due to punctures, crashes or mechanical issues.

In the case of defending champion Chris Froome of Team Sky, there is an added concern – he is carrying injuries including one to his wrist, which may have a fracture, after crashing early on yesterday’s Stage 4.

This picture, tweeted this morning by Alberto Contador, shows the type of conditions lying in wait for the peloton today.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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