TOUR’18 Stage 15: Cort Nielsen Astana Double – Thomas Still Yellow!
Stage Report: Much like Saturday, Sunday’s stage 15 break of the day was the launch pad for a second win for the Astana team in two days. It was Magnus Cort Nielsen who took the victory in Carcassonne as the peloton strolled to the finish over 13 minutes later. No change in the overall, Geraint Thomas (Sky) has 1:39 on Chris Froome (Sky) and Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) at 1:50.
Magnus Cort Nielsen followed on from his Astana teammate, Omar Fraile, who took Saturday’s stage with a sprint win from two of his ‘Break of the Day’ companions; Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo). The break formed after 43 kilometers and the Sky controlled peloton allowed the 29 leaders to gain 14 minutes. After splits and regrouping, Mollema, Cort Nielsen and Izagirre were ahead of five chasers with less than 5K remaining. Nielsen led-out the sprint and the others had no chance. Sky brought the peloton into Carcassonne 13 minutes down on the winner, with no change in the overall standings.
Another transition stage that should suit a long break. The climb of the Pic de Nore is new to the Tour de France and could cause a surprise, but it comes over 40 kilometers from the finish in Carcassonne. PEZ-man Chris Seldon took a look at this ‘never before seen Tour climb’ earlier this year.
Yellow jersey Thomas and KOM Alaphilippe at the start
The flags were out in Millau
Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) was the first rider to attack on stage 15 as Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) was the first in trouble from the start in Millau. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) took two more KOM points at the top of Côte de Luzençon after 9 kilometers, which launched an attack from Anthony Perez (Cofidis). Warren Barguil (Fortuneo-Samsic) and Yates rode attacked again after 19 kilometers, they were joined by Georg Mühlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), but their efforts came to nothing. Eventually the main breakaway of the day was formed after 43K by 29 riders: Daniel Martínez (Education First-Drapac), Silvan Dillier (AG2R-La Mondiale), Nikias Arndt (Sunweb), Amäel Moinard and Florian Vachon (Fortuneo-Samsic), Sonny Colbrelli, Ion Izagirre and Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida), Damian Howson and Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott), Daniele Bennati, Imanol Erviti and Marc Soler (Movistar), Greg van Avermaet (BMC), Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors), Peter Sagan, Rafal Majka and Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe), Magnus Cort Nielsen and Michael Valgren (Astana), Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data), Arthur Vichot (Groupama-FDJ), Lilian Calmejane, Fabian Grellier and Romain Sicard (Direct Energie), Bauke Mollema, Julien Bernard and Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) and Jesús Herrada (Cofidis).
The tallest bridge in the World, Millau Viaduct
The break formed after 43 kilometers
The Sky team were not too interested in the chase
Approaching his home province of the Tarn, Lilian Calmejane went solo at the 56 kilometers mark until he was caught by the chasers after the summit of the Cat 2 Col de Sié (72km ridden). Next it was his Direct Energie teammate, Grellier, who tried his luck, he was caught by Bernard with 66 kilometers to go, for Bernard to win the intermediate sprint in Mazamet, 6km later. Majka crossed to Grellier and Bernard half way up the climb of the Cat 1 Pic de Nore. The Pole continued on his own until he was captured by seven chasers with 14km out from Carcassonne. Izagirre, Pozzovivo, Cort Nielsen, Valgren, Calmejane, Mollema and Skujins. The group split 7K out under pressure from Mollema, followed by Cort Nielsen and Izagirre.
Not the tallest bridge in the World
Peter Sagan was in the break again for more points
Rafal Majka’s plan didn’t come off
Izagirre attacked with 1.5km to go. Mollema and Cort Nielsen pulled him back. The Astana rider, competing against two former stage winners of the Tour was left on the front coming to the line and forced to start the sprint. The Dane kicked hard and the others couldn’t come past him. The Sky team pulled the peloton over the line 13 minutes later. Geraint Thomas remains the overall leader ahead of the second rest day of the 2018 Tour de France.
Magnus Cort Nielson – The second good day for Astana
Magnus Cort Nielsen – First Danish stage win since Nicki Sorensen in Vittel in 2009
Stage winner, Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana): “It is amazing! It was one of my biggest dreams when I’ve started riding a bike. This is my first Tour de France and I am so happy to win a stage here. I thank a lot my team for giving me a chance to ride this Tour. A special thank to Michael Valgren, who did absolutely incredible job today, providing me a huge help! Everything was just perfect today and our sports director Lars Michaelsen had a big belief in me in this stage. Many days ago we already discussed this stage and he said me it could suit me really well. So, today I went in a breakaway together with Michael Valgren and, finally, everything worked out perfectly. So, I am very happy!”
13 minutes – Not important
Overall leader, Geraint Thomas (Sky): “There was quite a bit of wind and it was quite stressful but the guys controlled it really well. It was the right break for us so we were happy with that. Then obviously Dan (Martin) went on the last climb of the day. There was 40km to go from the top with 20km of flat and a bit of wind, so it was a big ask. (Romain) Bardet tried on the descent but we were always in control. We just made sure we were there in the front. There was wind in the last 15km but it wasn’t enough to do anything, but there was a bit of stress anyway. We were always in the right place and it’s a good day to get done. I’m just taking each day as it comes. I’m looking forward to the rest day and then we’ve got a big block in the Pyrenees.”
Tour de France Stage 15 Result:
1. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana in 4:25:52
2. Jon Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:02
4. Michael Valgren (Den) Astana at 0:29
5. Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo at 0:34
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
7. Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie
8. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:37
9. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb at 2:31
10. Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo at 2:38
11. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
12. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors
13. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar
14. Fabien Grellier (Fra) Direct Energie
15. Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
16. Amael Moinard (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic
17. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott
18. Romain Sicard (Fra) Direct Energie
19. Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
20. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
21. Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
22. Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data
23. Arthur Vichot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
24. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 6:07
25. Florian Vachon (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic at 8:13.
Tour de France Overall After Stage 15:
1. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky in 62:49:47
2. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 1:39
3. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb at 1:50
4. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo at 2:38
5. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 3:21
6. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar at 3:42
7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 3:57
8. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 4:23
9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 6:14
10. Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates at 6:54
11. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 9:36
12. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors at 9:53
13. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin at 10:01
14. Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 17:28
15. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC at 18:22
16. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott at 18:51
17. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 19:55
18. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC at 21:26
19. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 21:36
20. Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie at 22:17
21. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 23:18
22. Egan Bernal (Col) Sky at 23:44
23. Warren Barguil (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic at 25:45
24. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 25:52
25. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 29:03.