photo credits @ Le Tour/Twitter
André Greipel makes it three
André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) claimed his third stage victory in this year’s Tour de France, after outsprinting his compatriot John Degenkolb, along with Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) in a sprint finale in Valence today.
Meanwhile, Chris Froome retained his grip on the yellow jersey, with a 3:10 lead over Nairo Quitana, followed by Tejay Van Garderen in third.
Mark Cavendish (Etixx – Quick-Step) was dropped early on in the stage during the first category three climb of the day, and from there, was unable to regain contact with the field – subsequently finishing 12 minutes back in today’s race.
However, with the exception of Cavendish, many of the top sprinters managed to hang on over the Col de l’Escrinet, but it was BMC that was working hard to usher their man Greg van Avermaet into position, as they pulled the peloton toward the finish in Mende.
From there, Kristoff’s Katusha team took over the front as they were forced to chase down an attack from Zdenek Stybar (Etixx – Quick-Step) with just over 3km to go.
Katusha was ultimately successfully in pulling Stybar back during the final 1.5km, with Greipel, Degenkolb and Sagan latching onto the wheels of the Russian team.
As the race headed into the final 300 meters, Greipel then began opening up his sprint, with Degenkolb furiously trying to stay on terms with the German powerhouse. But, the Giant – Alpecin rider proved to be no match for Greipel, who took the stage by half-a-bike length.
Earlier in the stage, a nine-man break containing Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo), Mick Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo), Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx – Quick-Step), Matteo Trentin (Etixx – Quick-Step), Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge), Lars Bak (Lotto-Soudal), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale-Garmin) and Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin), had managed to get away on the opening climb.
Sagan achieved his first goal of the day, taking full points at the intermediate sprint to extend his green jersey lead, before he and most of the group were pulled back with 40km to go. Trentin and Hesjedal held out with a small gap, but they too were caught with 29km remaining, as the peloton eventually brought it all back together.
There was no real action in the GC, as the overall contenders all finished safely in the main field. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) had a small dig off the front of the l’Escrinet climb, but joined the peloton as they crested the category two climb, and the long descent towards Valence..
Stage 15 Results
GER 1 GREIPEL, André (LOTTO SOUDAL) 3:56:35
GER 2 DEGENKOLB, John (GIANT – ALPECIN)
NOR 3 KRISTOFF, Alexander (KATUSHA)
SVK 4 SAGAN, Peter (TINKOFF – SAXO)
NOR 5 BOASSON HAGEN, Edvald (MTN – QHUBEKA)
LTU 6 NAVARDAUSKAS, Ramunas (CANNONDALE – GARMIN)
FRA 7 LAPORTE, Christophe (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS)
AUS 8 MATTHEWS, Michael (ORICA GreenEDGE)
ITA 9 CIMOLAI, Davide (LAMPRE – MERIDA)
FRA 10 VACHON, Florian (BRETAGNE-SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT)
COL 11 PANTANO, Jarlinson (IAM CYCLING)
BEL 12 BAKELANTS, Jan (AG2R LA MONDIALE)
GER 13 VOSS, Paul (BORA-ARGON 18)
GER 14 MARTENS, Paul (LOTTO NL – JUMBO)
FRA 15 COQUARD, Bryan (EUROPCAR)
BEL 16 VERMOTE, Julien (ETIXX – QUICK STEP)
FRA 17 FEILLU, Brice (BRETAGNE-SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT)
SUI 18 RAST, Grégory (TREK FACTORY RACING)
SLO 19 KOREN, Kristijan (CANNONDALE – GARMIN)
BEL 20 PAUWELS, Serge (MTN – QHUBEKA)
General Classification after Stage 15
GBR 1 FROOME, Christopher (SKY) 59:58:54
COL 2 QUINTANA ROJAS, Nairo Alexander (MOVISTAR) + 3:10
USA 3 VAN GARDEREN, Tejay (BMC RACING) + 3:32
ESP 4 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR) + 4:02
ESP 5 CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (TINKOFF – SAXO) + 4:23
GBR 6 THOMAS, Geraint (SKY) + 4:54
NED 7 GESINK, Robert (LOTTO NL – JUMBO) + 6:23
ITA 8 NIBALI, Vincenzo (ASTANA) + 8:17
FRA 9 GALLOPIN, Tony (LOTTO SOUDAL) + 8:23
NED 10 MOLLEMA, Bauke (TREK FACTORY RACING) + 8:53
FRA 11 BARGUIL, Warren (GIANT – ALPECIN) + 11:03
FRA 12 BARDET, Romain (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 13:10
SUI 13 FRANK, Mathias (IAM CYCLING) + 13:26
ESP 14 SANCHEZ GONZALEZ, Samuel (BMC RACING) + 14:21
FRA 15 ROLLAND, Pierre (EUROPCAR) + 14:58
USA 16 TALANSKY, Andrew (CANNONDALE – GARMIN) + 22:18
FRA 17 PINOT, Thibaut (FDJ) + 30:57
COL 18 PANTANO, Jarlinson (IAM CYCLING) + 34:44
DEN 19 FUGLSANG, Jakob (ASTANA) + 35:26
FRA 20 VUILLERMOZ, Alexis (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 35:32
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