Stage Report: On the final climb of the day, the Grand Colombier, the 2020 Tour de France was probably decided. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) and Nairo Quintana (Arkea Samsic) lost their hold on the lead group driven by the super-strong Jumbo-Visma team. At the end of the stage; Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) was first over the summit ahead of Primoz Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo).
Stage win for Tadej Pogačar
Another tough day to come
Stage 15 Route:
Tour director, Christian Prudhomme describes the stage: “‘At last’ might say the relieved enthusiasts of what is also known as the ‘Bugey pyramid’ who had been requiring a summit finish there for quite some time. And it’ll almost be an entire climb of the Grand Colombier that will be organised for this 15th stage with indeed three of the four access roads covered. The final climb of the mountain, the one where it won’t be possible to hide will start in Culoz. The battle promises to be intense on the eve of the second rest day!”
After a fast first hour, covering 53 kilometres, a leading group of ten riders managed to get clear. Matteo Trentin and Simon Geschke (CCC), Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Niccolo Bonifazio (Total Direct Energie), Kevin Ledanois (Arkéa-Samsic), Michael Gogl (NTT), Marco Marcato (UAE Team Emirates), Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) made up the break of the day.
Sam Bennett should take his green jersey into the second rest day
Previous attempts by Mads Pedersen, Peter Sagan and Sam Bennett, and others, came to nothing. Sergio Higuita was the most unlucky rider of the first hour as the Colombian champion crashed due to Bob Jungels and had to abandon. After 58 kilometres, at the intermediate sprint, Trentin picked up 20 points. Three minutes later, Sam Bennett managed to win the sprint from the peloton. He took two more points from Sagan, as Michael Mørkøv also snatched one point from the Slovak. After that intermediate sprint, the lead of the break increased to 4:30.
First break of the day
They still had that lead at the foot of the first climb of the day, the Montée de la Selle de Fromentel (11.1km at 8.1%). In the leading group, Geschke, Rolland and Herrada turned out to be the best climbers. The Spaniard took the mountain points from Rolland at the top. In the peloton the pace had considerably increased. There were no attacks, although several riders were dropped.
An early battle
Egan Bernal lost Richard Carapaz, Dylan van Baarle and Andrey Amador when UAE Emirates set the pace for Tadej Pogacar. Jumbo-Visma still had five riders for Primoz Roglic. Michael Gogl managed to pass the three up front on the descent of the Fromentel. With a lead of less than a minute on Geschke, Rolland and Herrada, the NTT rider started the Col de la Biche (6.9km at 8.9%). The peloton followed at 3:20 from Gogl, there was a fast pace set by Robert Gesink and Wout van Aert. There was now about thirty riders in the favourites group. In the lead, Rolland managed to catch up with Gogl and grab the KOM points. Just after the summit, Herrada also rejoined. The favourites followed one and a half minutes behind the front riders.
Jumbo on the front through the feed
On the dangerous descent of the Biche, Gogl again managed to ride away from his fellow escapees. The only one who could follow him was Rolland, who caught him in the valley on the road to the foot of the Grand Colombier (17.4km at 7.1%). Jumbo-Visma was out for the stage victory and so Gesink gave everything to the base of the climb. Trailing Rolland and Gogl by 1.45, the favourites started the final climb of the day.
A nice Sunday in France
Guillaume Martin had bad luck, but was able to return to the front group after a long chase. Van Aert set the speed on the first selection of the Colombier. Nairo Quintana and defending champion Egan Bernal were in trouble. The Colombians were not having a good day. Bernal continued his agony for 14 kilometres to the top with some support from Kwiatkowski and Castroviejo. Guillaume Martin also lost his place at the front.
INEOS not having a good day
Van Aert set the pace for a long time, Bernal lost almost 2 minutes, then the Belgian handed over to George Bennett. The first attack came 7 kilometres from the finish from Adam Yates, there was no response, although Bennett had to drop out of the yellow train.
The ‘no chance’ break
Tom Dumoulin took over and slowly closed the gap with Yates. Besides Dumoulin, Roglic, Sepp Kuss, Tadej Pogacar, Alejandro Valverde, Enric Mas, Richie Porte, Miguel Ángel López, Mikel Landa, Rigoberto Urán and Pello Bilbao were also part of the front group. Quintana was already 2 minutes behind 5 kilometres from the top, Bernal at 3 minutes.
Bernal lost his hold on the race
Dumoulin maintained a high pace for his leader, Roglič, all the way to the last kilometre. On the steep final K it became a sprint between the ten classification men. Roglic accelerated at 600 metres from the line. Only Pogacar, Porte, López and Kuss could keep with him. It was then Porte who accelerated at 400 metres, but Roglic didn’t allow him to get far.
Hard at work again – Wout Van Aert
Pogačar put in his sprint at 100 metres, and held it to the finish to take his second stage victory of the 2020 Tour. Countryman Roglič was on his wheel, but was unable to pass Pogačar. The yellow jersey wearer came second and took six bonus seconds. Porte finished third at 5 seconds, López in fourth at 8. A group with Mas, Landa and Yates followed at 15 seconds.
Pogačar had the jump
Nairo Quintana lost around 3:50 and dropped to 9th. For Bernal, the agony on the Grand Colombier ended at 7:21 from the yellow jersey. The defending Tour winner dropped out of the top 10.
Is this the 1 and 2 we will see in Paris?
Primoz Roglic enters the final week of the Tour de France with a lead of 40 seconds on Tadej Pogacar. Rigoberto Urán is third at 1:34, followed by Miguel Ángel López at 1:40. Adam Yates, Richie Porte and Mikel Landa are more than two minutes behind Roglic.
The stage win and some seconds for Pogačar
Stage winner and 2nd overall, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates): “At the beginning we put Marcato in the break as a strategic move. But then Jumbo-Visma just set the pace all day [and the break was doomed]. It made for a really difficult stage. In the final kilometres I was ready to sprint. I’m so happy I won again. Jumbo-Visma was prepared to smash everything today. From my point of view, it didn’t make sense to attack. I guess Egan Bernal is no longer a rival. As I said, Jumbo-Visma set a really hard pace today and some riders paid for it. At the moment, Roglic seems unstoppable. But today Bernal cracked and maybe one day myself or Primoz will crack too. There are still a lot of opportunities ahead.”
Overall leader and 2nd on the stage, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma): “We had a plan to let the breakaway go. It’s not up to us to do the race but we saw that we could control it. The guys did it really well. Unfortunately, I was a bit too short at the end. I didn’t make any gift to Tadej [Pogacar]. We are good friends but we both want to win. He was just stronger and I was a bit disappointed to lose the stage. Chapeau to him. I don’t think the suspense on GC is over. I would like it was! We are in a really good position but it’s far from over yet.”
# Keep it PEZ for ‘Ed’s Tour Rest Day Rant’ on Monday. #
Tour de France Stage 15 Result:
1. Tadej Pogačar (Slov) UAE Team Emirates in 4:34:13
2. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma
3. Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo at 0:05
4. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana at 0:08
5. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 0:15
6. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma
7. Mikel Landa (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren
8. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott
9. Rigoberto Urán (Col) EF Pro Cycling at 0:18
10. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:24
11. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 0:24
12. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:34
13. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-McLaren at 1:54
14. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 3:25
15. Harold Alfonso Tejada Canacue (Col) Astana at 3:36
16. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 3:43
17. Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo at 3:46
18. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic at 3:50
19. Jan Hirt (Cze) CCC at 4:05
20. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkea-Samsic at 5:10
21. Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation at 5:14
22. Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Movistar at 5:22
23. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 6:33
24. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) INEOS Grenadiers at 7:20
25. Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 7:20.
Tour de France Overall After Stage 15:
1. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma in 65:37:07
2. Tadej Pogačar (Slov) UAE Team Emirates at 0:40
3. Rigoberto Urán (Col) EF Pro Cycling at 1:34
4. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana at 1:45
5. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 2:03
6. Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo at 2:13
7. Mikel Landa (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 2:16
8. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 3:15
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkéa Samsic at 5:08
10. Tom Dumoulin (Col) Jumbo-Visma at 5:12
11. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 6:45
12. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 6:52
13. Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 8:25
14. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-McLaren at 9:02
15. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkea-Samsic at 32:27
16. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 32:55
17. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 34:37
18. Pierre Rolland (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept at 41:33
19. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 43:26
20. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 57:07
21. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 58:23
22. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana at 1:01:11
23. Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:02:50
24. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 1:12:18
25. Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Movistar at 1:13:31.