Highest point: 205m
Having zigged to the west, the race zags back to the east and begins its march towards the mountains with this straightforward stage into St-Quentin. Mark Cavendish has won stage 5 of the Tour in three of the past four seasons and is sure to be well backed to continue that run here. There are no difficulties at all. The terrain is ideal for chasing down a small breakaway group, while the finish is straight and wide enough to provide the sprinters with a great stage on which to perform. Tribute will be paid today to Jean Robic, whose 1947 Tour-winning break began at the location of the start.
Jérémy Roy: Because the route follows one general direction, everything will depend on the weather – if the wind is from a bad angle there will be people everywhere! The sprint teams will try to control the race so it will be difficult to get away.
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Video: Tour de France 2012 stage 5 preview by Chris Boardman