The 2019 Tour de France’s final day in the Pyrenees saw Simon Yates win solo on Stage 15’s summit finish, his second stage win of the 106th edition, but all the drama was behind, as Julian Alaphilippe finally cracked under the pressure of compatriot Thibaut Pinot and reigning champ Geraint Thomas, losing time to his main rivals but retaining the yellow jersey. Michael Woods, racing with two broken ribs, was part of the Yates breakaway, and the Canadian grabbed several KOM points along the way to 35th place.

The Course

There were three Cat. 1 climbs in the latter half of 185 km, with bonus seconds atop the penultimate Cat. 1 ascent. The summit finish was on 11.8 km, 6.9 percent Prat d’Albis, its opening kilometres the steepest.

Michael Woods in the big breakaway

Attacks flew in the frantic opening kilometres, including one from Michael Woods, but none were able to stay away. But on the Cat. 2 Col de Montsegur a mob containing Woods, Nairo Quintana and Romain Bardet were able to get away and the Canadian snaffled up maximum KOM points at the peak.

Bardet was first over Cat. 1 Port de Lers, and the Bardet-Quintana-Woods group had a 5:25 gap on the peloton with 65 km and two climbs remaining.

Mur de Péguere

The climb that offered the bonus seconds had grades of 18 percent near the peak. Deceuninck-Quick Step had done most of the chasing in the peloton throughout the first half of the day–with Enric Mas being dropped by his teammates–but Jumbo-Visma took over on Péguere. The breakaway splintered on the steep grades.

After their fumble yesterday, Movistar was looking for redemption: not only was Quintana at the front of the race, but Mikel Landa was also on his way forward with two teammates who had dropped back.

Counterpoint:

Summit Finish

Two Simons, Geschke and Yates, were the first to hit the foot of misty Prat d’Albis 1:30 ahead of the Bardet-Quintana-Woods chase, with the Landa move about to swell its numbers. Yates easily dispatched Geschke with 8.6 km

Julian Alaphilippe was utterly isolated in the GC group. Rigoberto Uran lost contact. Pinot attacked with 7 km to go and Egan Bernal closed the gap, but Thomas and Steven Kruijswijk couldn’t match the pace.

It was Pinot, Bernal, Alaphilippe and the no-longer-secret Emanual Buchmann together, but then Alaphilippe cracked with 5 km to go. Another attack from Pinot cracked Buchmann and finally Bernal fell away.

Alaphilippe was with Krujswijk and Thomas. In the final 2 km the situation was Yates versus Pinot and Landa versus Bernal and Buchmann versus Alaphilippe, Kruijwijk and Thomas. Thomas then dislodged Alaphilippe to pull back 27-seconds.

Pinot and Landa couldn’t bring back Yates, but Pinot rocketed up the GC to fourth, only fifteen seconds behind Thomas and +1:50 on Alaphilippe. Landa is now seventh, Movistar’s best placed rider, with teammate Alejandro Valverde right behind him on GC.

The racers and the race now have a much-deserved rest day before the brutal final week in the Alps. The six top riders on GC are within 2:14.


2019 Tour de France Stage 15

1) Simon Yates (Great Britain/Mitchelton-Scott) 4:47:04
2) Thibaut Pinot (France/Groupama-FDJ) +0:33
3) Mikel Landa (Spain/Movistar) s.t.
4) Emanual Buchmann (Germany/Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:51
5) Egan Bernal (Colombia/Ineos) s.t.
7) Geraint Thomas (Great Britain/Ineos) +1:22
11) Julian Alaphilippe (France/Deceuninck-Quick Step) +1:49
35) Michael Woods (Canada/EF Education First) +11:42
63) Hugo Houle (Canada/Astana) +24:30

2019 Tour de France GC
1) Julian Alaphilippe (France/Deceuninck-Quick Step) 61:00:22
2) Geraint Thomas (Great Britain/Ineos) +1:35
3) Steven Kruijswijk (The Netherlands/Jumbo-Visma) +1:47
4) Thibaut Pinot (France/Groupama-FDJ) +1:50
5) Egan Bernal (Colombia/Ineos) +2:02
6) Emanual Buchmann (Germany/Bora-Hansgrohe) +2:14
7) Mikel Landa (Spain/Movistar) +4:54
8) Alejandro Valverde (Spain/Movistar) +5:00
9) Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark/Astana) +5:27
10) Rigoberto Uran (Colombia/EF Education First) +5:33

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