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Foix - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Simon Yates (GBR / Team Mitchelton - Scott) pictured during the 106th Tour de France (2.UWT) - stage 15 from Limoux to Foix (185KM) - photo Nico Vereecken/PN/Cor Vos © 2019

Le TOUR’19 Stage 15: Double Stage Yates!

Stage Report: In another day of attacks and counter attacks in the Pyrenees, Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) took his second stage in this Tour de France. Behind the Englishman there were fireworks amongst the favourites as Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) attacked again to take a some time back. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) suffered in the last kilometres, but held his yellow jersey by 1:35 over Geraint Thomas (Ineos) going into the second rest day.

Simon Yates soloed to his second stage victory

A seconds stage victory for Simon Yates on stage 15 of the 2019 Tour de France. After a 185 kilometre mountain stage, the Briton was the best on the Prat d’Albis climb above Foix. Among the favourites; Thibaut Pinot was the instigator of a spectacle piece of riding. Julian Alaphilippe cracked for the first time, but he retains the overall lead and Geraint Thomas put in a late attack.

More to come….

Julian Alaphilippe – Cool and relaxed at the start

Stage 15 Route:
185 kilometres from Limoux to the summit finish on Foix Prat d’Albis, a Cat. 1 climb of 11.8km at 6.9%. Before that the race will cross the Col de Montségur (Cat. 2 – 6.8km at 6%) after 60.5 kilometres, the Col de Lers (Cat. 1 – 11km at 7%) after 120,5 kilometres and the Cat. 1 Mur de Péguère (9.3km at 7.9%) with 38 kilometres to go. Obviously another hard day, but controllable to the final climb.

The last visit of the Tour de France to Foix, in 2017, stands out thanks to the superb victory achieved by Warren Barguil in a short stage through the Ariège, starting in Saint-Girons. The Frenchman left a prestigious trio made up of Alberto Contador, Mikel Landa and Nairo Quintana trailing in his wake.

The break of the day formed after about 60 kilometres

A fast start and a large leading group
The start of stage 15 was crazy with the first hour covering 47 kilometres. The battle for the ‘Break of the Day’ was on, but no one succeeded for almost 60 kilometres of racing. A mini-peloton of riders broke away from the main group on the first climb of the day.

There were some big names in the front group

A group of 36 riders eventually formed, the big names being Nairo Quintana (14th overall at 7:19), Bauke Mollema (15th at 9:03) and Daniel Martin (16th at 9:50). There was also strong climbers such as Romain Bardet, Vincenzo Nibali, Simon Yates and Ilnur Zakarin. In addition, many team leaders had sent a man along. Ineos, Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Lotto Soudal were missing from the lead group.

Nairo Quintana – Making amends for stage 14?

Deceuninck – Quick-Step lead the chase
After the first climb, Deceuninck – Quick-Step controlled the pack at 2:30 from the leading group. As the race approached the Port de Lers, the gap went to 3:30. The breakaway broke into pieces, with Mollema and Nibali dropped early. Quintana also had problems staying at the front of the leading group of now 21 men. The lead went up 5 minutes.

Nibali in the break again

Julian Alaphilippe was assisted on the first two climbs by three teammates: Dries Devenyns, Yves Lampaert and… Elia Viviani! The Spaniard, Enric Mas, was in trouble early in the stage and could do little work. The work of the blue brigade was necessary, because Nairo Quintana was riding into the ‘Top 5’. With a lead of around 4:30, the escape group started the penultimate climb of the day, the Cat. 1 Mur de Péguère.

Stage winner, Simon Yates was there

Mur de Péguère
Simon Geschke (CCC) went solo on the steep ramp of 13% on the Péguère and he looked good. In the peloton Ineos took command, but it was Mikel Landa put in a big attack. Jakob Fuglsang tried to follow, but the Dane fell back to the favourites group. Laurens De Plus set the pace for Steven Kruijswijk, which was too fast for Pinot’s teammate, David Gaudu.

There wasn’t much cohesion in the break

Before the summit of the Péguère, Simon Yates made the cross to Geschke, although Gesche took the mountain points. Bardet, Lutsenko, Reichenbach and Quintana were all trying to chase the pair up front. Landa was helped by his teammates Soler and later by Amador on the climb. They were 25 seconds ahead of the favourite group as they hit the descent towards the foot to the Prat d’Albis.

Yates crossed to Geschke

The three from Movistar eventually had more than a minute on the favourites, while Yates and Geschke started 1:40 ahead of the Bardet climb before the final climb. Jumbo-Visma had help from Astana, Groupama-FDJ and Bora-Hansgrohe in the pursuit of Landa, making the gap smaller.

Landa had a long battle

Spectacle on the final climb
Landa had to continue on the Prat d’Albis solo, but he quickly joined the Bardet group where Quintana was still there, although was no help. Simon Yates decided to leave Geschke at 8.7 kilometres from the top. Only Landa was left as he dropped Kämna and Bardet.

Bernal and Buchmann were protecting their places on GC

Among the favourites; Kruijswijk only had help from Bennett, who kept the speed high. Again only a select group remained, much like on the Tourmalet. It was an attack from Pinot that could only be followed by Bernal, Buchmann and Alaphilippe. A group with Kruijswijk, Thomas and Fuglsang followed at more than half a minute. A jump from Pinot made Alaphilippe drop off the pace. Only Bernal and Buchmann were able to follow the Tourmalet winner.

Kruijswijk and Thomas caught and dropped the yellow jersey

Pinot attack again
A third Pinot attack was disastrous for Buchmann and a repeat jump from the Frenchman proved too much for Bernal. Alaphilippe dropped back to the group with Thomas and Kruijswijk, 4 kilometres to the finish line. Pinot managed to join Landa a minute behind Yates.

Kruijswijk threw in a late attack

Kruijswijk saw Pinot and Bernal come past him in the virtual rankings, so the Dutchman put in an attack in the chasing group 3 kilometres out. That didn’t cause much damage, not even to a struggling Alaphilippe. 2 kilometres from the summit, the yellow jersey cracked after an attack from Thomas that could only be followed by Kruijswijk, Valverde and Porte. The race was in pieces.

Tour stage win No. 2 for Simon Yates

Pinot and Landa closed to 33 seconds on Yates, 18 seconds ahead of Buchmann and Bernal. The group with Kruijswijk and Thomas lost 1:22 to Yates. Alaphilippe crossed the finish line with a 1:50 gap.

More time for Pinot and Landa

The overall comes down to Alaphilippe still leading Thomas by 1:35. Kruijswijk in third at 1:47 and Pinot in fourth at 1:50. Bernal is now in fifth at 2:02 and Buchmann, sixth at 2:14, all the riders have come closer. Landa is now 7th, but at 4:54 behind.

Alaphilippe had a bit of trouble in the final kilometres, but held his yellow jersey

Stage winner, Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott): “I’m very proud of this second stage win. It’s a bit different from the first one. We raced flat out from start to finish. I’m not targeting the KOM. I came to the Tour to support my brother and maybe to win a stage. Now that I’ve won two stages, I’ll put myself at the service of the team.”

Tour de France Stage 15 Result:
1. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott in 4:47:04
2. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:33
3. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar
4. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:51
5. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos
6. Lennard Kämna (Ger) Sunweb at 1:03
7. Geraint Thomas (GB) Ineos at 1:22
8. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
9. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
10. Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo at 1:30
11. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:49
12. Wout Poels (Ned) Ineos
13. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 1:54
14. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
15. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert at 2:08
16. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 2:55
17. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Dimension Data at 2:58
18. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
19. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
20. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First
21. Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates at 3:38
22. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Gobert 0:03:45
23. Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Education First
24. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 4:02
25. Simon Geschke (Ger) CCC at 4:24

Tour de France Overall After Stage 15:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 61:00:22
2. Geraint Thomas (GB) Ineos at 1:35
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:47
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 1:50
5. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos at 2:02
6. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 2:14
7. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar at 4:54
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 5:00
9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 5:27
10. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First at 5:33
11. Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo at 6:30
12. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 7:22
13. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 8:28
14. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Dimension Data at 11:04
15. Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates at 11:39
16. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert at 13:42
17. Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 14:15
18. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 14:31
19. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 27:12
20. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Gobert at 28:25
21. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma
22. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 28:49
23. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 30:17
24. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 34:11
25. Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 39:21.

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