photo credit @ LeTour
Kristoff makes it two on a cruel outcome for Bauer and Elmiger
excerpts from LeTour.fr
Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) claimed his second stage win in Nîmes after the peloton caught the two courageous breakaway riders in a thrilling finale. Near the antique Arenas, the Norwegian triumphed like a gladiator as the outcome was cruel for Jack Bauer and Martin Elmiger who escaped from the start of the 222-km long stage and got caught in the last 50 meters!
Elmiger and Bauer, a long day in the wind
Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling) was the first attacker of the day, right after the flag off and closely watched by four-time Dakar winner and WRC champion Ari Vatanen from the car of Tour director Christian Prudhomme. Jack Bauer (Garmin-Sharp) joined him quickly at the front. The duo took a maximum advantage of 8.50 at km 26. Three teams took control of the peloton: Giant-Shimano, Lotto-Belisol and Katusha, representing sprint winners Marcel Kittel, André Greipel and Alexander Kristoff respectively. They maintained a deficit of approximately six minutes until the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team put the hammer down with 70km to go while a big storm was in sight at Cavaillon.
No luck for echelon makers
Successively, AG2R-La Mondiale and BMC also tried to create echelons. None of them succeeded. At the intermediate sprint of La Galina, with 46.5km to go, the deficit of the peloton was reduced to 1.30. Rain and wind led the GC contenders to ride safely and avoid potential hiccups. Despite the pouring rain, sprinters’ teams were back in action with 30km to go after passing the Rhône river between Tarascon and Beaucaire when the gap was superior to two minutes again.
Kristoff surges in extremis
Until the very end, it wasn’t clear whether or not the peloton would catch Bauer and Elmiger. The chase wasn’t perfectly organized, so the likes of Michal Kwiatkowski, Tony Martin and Jan Bakelants rode away from the peloton. Jack Bauer was very close to winning. The New Zealander went into tears at the finish as the sprinters passed him with 25 metres to go. Alexander Kristoff was the fastest again after taking his first Tour de France victory in Saint-Etienne at the end of stage 12. Vincenzo Nibali retained the yellow jersey with no worries.
Stage 15 Results
NOR 1 KRISTOFF, Alexander (KATUSHA) 4:56:43 AUS 2 HAUSSLER, Heinrich (IAM CYCLING) SVK 3 SAGAN, Peter (CANNONDALE) GER 4 GREIPEL, André (LOTTO BELISOL) AUS 5 RENSHAW, Mark (OMEGA PHARMA – QUICK-STEP) FRA 6 COQUARD, Bryan (EUROPCAR) LTU 7 NAVARDAUSKAS, Ramunas (GARMIN SHARP) FRA 8 FEILLU, Romain (BRETAGNE – SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT) SUI 9 ALBASINI, Michael (ORICA GreenEDGE) NZL 10 BAUER, Jack (GARMIN SHARP) GER 11 KITTEL, Marcel (GIANT-SHIMANO) AUT 12 EISEL, Bernhard (SKY) FRA 13 DUMOULIN, Samuel (AG2R LA MONDIALE) ESP 14 ROJAS GIL, Jose Joaquin (MOVISTAR) NED 15 TERPSTRA, Niki (OMEGA PHARMA – QUICK-STEP) SUI 16 ELMIGER, Martin (IAM CYCLING) BEL 17 ROELANDTS, Jurgen (LOTTO BELISOL) POR 18 SANTOS SIMOES OLIVEIRA, Nelson Filipe (LAMPRE – MERIDA) FRA 19 LEMOINE, Cyril (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS) BEL 20 VAN AVERMAET, Greg (BMC RACING) GBR 21 THOMAS, Geraint (SKY) ESP 22 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR) NED 23 MOLLEMA, Bauke (BELKIN) FRA 24 BARDET, Romain (AG2R LA MONDIALE) POR 25 FARIA DA COSTA, Rui Alberto (LAMPRE – MERIDA) FRA 26 DELAGE, Mickael (FDJ.fr) ITA 27 PETACCHI, Alessandro (OMEGA PHARMA – QUICK-STEP) ITA 28 SCARPONI, Michele (ASTANA) FRA 29 PINOT, Thibaut (FDJ.fr) POL 30 KWIATKOWSKI, Michal (OMEGA PHARMA – QUICK-STEP)
General Classification after Stage 15 ITA 1 NIBALI, Vincenzo (ASTANA) 66:49:37 ESP 2 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR) + 4:37 FRA 3 BARDET, Romain (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 4:50 FRA 4 PINOT, Thibaut (FDJ.fr) + 5:06 USA 5 VAN GARDEREN, Tejay (BMC RACING) + 5:49 FRA 6 PERAUD, Jean-Christophe (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 6:08 NED 7 MOLLEMA, Bauke (BELKIN) + 8:33 CZE 8 KONIG, Leopold (NETAPP – ENDURA) + 9:32 NED 9 TEN DAM, Laurens (BELKIN) + 10:01 FRA 10 ROLLAND, Pierre (EUROPCAR) + 10:48 BEL 11 VAN DEN BROECK, Jurgen (LOTTO BELISOL) + 11:02 ESP 12 ZUBELDIA AGIRRE, Haimar (TREK FACTORY RACING) + 11:10 POR 13 FARIA DA COSTA, Rui Alberto (LAMPRE – MERIDA) + 12:57 LUX 14 SCHLECK, Frank (TREK FACTORY RACING) + 14:37 AUS 15 PORTE, Richie (SKY) + 16:19 POL 16 KWIATKOWSKI, Michal (OMEGA PHARMA – QUICK-STEP) + 19:24 RUS 17 TROFIMOV, Yury (KATUSHA) + 19:30 GBR 18 THOMAS, Geraint (SKY) + 20:18 FRA 19 FEILLU, Brice (BRETAGNE – SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT) + 21:00 NED 20 KRUIJSWIJK, Steven (BELKIN) + 22:30
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