- - Tour de France 2023 Stage 15

Tour de France 2023 Stage 15

photo credits @ ASO

Wout Poels (Team Bahrain Victorious) claimed stage 15 of the Tour de France today, marking the Dutch rider’s first-ever Grand Tour victory, while Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) and Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) crossed the line in tandem, with the Dane sustaining his 10-second lead over his Slovenian rival in the GC.

As the race edged towards the finish, a three-man battle for victory between Poels, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) was shaping up. But, it was  Poels who made his move over the summit of the Cote des Amerands, distancing his fellow breakaway companions to seize the day’s honors, while Van Aert took second followed by Mathieu Burgaudeau.

In the meantime, the yellow jersey group was some seven minutes behind, with UAE Team Emirates moving to the front, setting a fast pace as they embarked on Cote des Amerands and then Mount-Blanc.

Back in the chase, Pogačar made a couple of moves, but his aggressions were closely marked by Vingegaard as they crossed the line together.

As a result, Vingegaard holds a 10-second advantage going into tomorrow’s rest day.

Race Highlights

A series of attacks animated the stage from the get-go, with Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal Quick-Step) and Giulio Ciccone (Lidl-Trek) featuring prominently in a large group that initially rode clear before being reeled in not-too-long after. 

From there, Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe) initiated an attack along the Col des Fleuries with approximately 150km remaining.

The German rider was later joined by Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost), Van Aert, Alaphilippe, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan), Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious), Matthias Skjelmose (Lidl-Trek), Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers), Michael Woods (Israel Premier Tech), Rui Costa (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama FDJ), with additional riders later following.

With 140km to go, Alaphilippe and Lustenko attacked, later building up a slight advantage of 30 seconds,  while the main peloton trailed another 30 seconds back.

A spectator who was apparently taking photos, caused an accident, ensnaring the Jumbo-Visma pair Nathan Van Hooydonck and Sepp Kuss amongst others, but they managed to remount and join the group, while Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) had a near miss.

With 115km remaining Alaphilippe and Lutsenko were holding onto a 50-second gap over the chase, while the peloton lingered at almost four and a half minutes behind, as Lutsenko was first over the summit of the day’s first categorized climb.

Behind, Ciccone outsprinted Powless for third at the summit, with fourth place for the American rider enough to put him above Vingegaard and back in the lead of that competition. However, both were reined in by the rest of the break at the bottom of the descent. 

Marco Haller (Bora-Hansgrohe) jumped away prior to the start of the Col de la Croix Fry but was caught and dropped by Costa on the climb. The Portuguese rider was quickly reeled before the summit as well, with Ciccone taking maximum points at the top and drawing level with Powless in the KOM contest.  

Soler was next to attack the group, riding clear along the Col des Aravis, cresting the summit 10 seconds ahead of Van Aert and Krists Neilands (Israel – Premier Tech) before the duo and Poels linked up with him.

The quartet was quickly reduced to a trio when Neilands crashed on the descent. But, the  Latvian rider was able to get back up and resume racing.

With 25km to go, the leaders were well ahead over a minute ahead of their former breakaway companions, while the peloton was a full seven minutes in arrears.

Soler had been distanced on the descent of the Col des Aravis and was trying to rejoin the other two riders when Poels jumped clear on the lower slopes of the Côte des Amerands.

Poels then went over the summit 35 seconds clear of Van Aert and Soler, with a short descent and final climb still ahead before the finish in Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc.

Back in the peloton, Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Simon Yates (Jayco-AlUla) found themselves in difficulty, later falling behind the yellow jersey group, while Rafal Majka and Adam Yates busy pushing the pace for Pogačar, sending Kuss and Carlos Rodríguez (Ineos Grenadiers) out the back.

With 4km left, only Yates, Pogačar and Vingegaard remained intact, with Yates later opening up a slight gap for himself, as Rodríguez was able to bridge his way to Pogačar and Vingegaard.

Pogačar then launched a couple of fierce attacks, but Vingegaard was able to stay on terms. 





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