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Tour de France wrap for w/e 22nd July

LanguedocLiving, Jul 22

Dane Cort Nielsen wins 15th Stage but Thomas retains lead

Denmark’s Magnus Cort Nielsen claimed victory on the Tour de France when he prevailed in a three-man sprint at the end of a long breakaway in the 15th Stage on Sunday. The Astana rider was the overwhelming favourite as a sprint specialist in the finale and he duly delivered, comfortably beating Spain’s Ion Izagirre and Dutchman Bauke Mollema, who were second and third, respectively. It is Cort Nielsen’s third grand tour win after he won two stages in the Vuelta a Espana in 2016, and Astana’s second in this year’s Tour after Omar Fraile won Saturday’s 14th Stage. “Everything went very well ... it’s the best victory of my career,” said Cort Nielsen. “I was feeling good in the finale and felt confident. I did exactly what I wanted to do in terms of strategy.” Briton Geraint Thomas retained the overall lead after a 181.5-km hilly ride from Millau through the vineyards of Minervois, Corbieres and Cabardes in Southwestern France. He leads Team Sky team-mate and defending champion Chris Froome by 1:39 and Dutchman Tom Dumoulin by 1:50 before Monday’s rest day as the race heads to the Pyrenees. A 29-man breakaway took shape early on, and after they had built an advantage of more than 10 minutes to make sure the win would be decided between them, the fireworks started. Tour debutants Fabien Grellier and Julien Bernard, the son of Jean-Francois, third overall in the 1987 race, attacked with 70km left. But Poland’s Rafal Majka, who has three Tour stage wins to his name, jumped away from the group and chased the duo down, whizzing past them to reach the top of the Pic de Nore, a 12.3-km climb at an average gradient of 6.3 percent, in first position. He had a 30-second lead, but with a flat, crosswind-exposed stretch leading to the line, his chances were slim and he was caught by a group of seven chasers. France’s Lilian Calmejane, in his home region, had no team mate in the group unlike Cort Nielsen, Mollema and Izagirre. He was isolated when things heated up and had to concede defeat, breaking down in tears after crossing the line in seventh place, 34 seconds off the pace. The peloton crossed the line 13:11 behind. France’s Romain Bardet, fifth overall, attacked in the descent from the Pic de Nore and went off the road, in a desperate attempt to unsettle his rivals.

Sky’s Moscon kicked out of Tour for hitting another rider

Team Sky’s rough ride on the Tour de France continued on Sunday when their Italian rider Gianni Moscon was kicked out of the race for hitting another rider during the 15th Stage. “The jury kicked him out because he hit a rider from the (French) Fortuneo-Samsic team,” a senior official, who declined to be named, told Reuters. Moscon was suspended by Sky for six weeks for a racist slur against a French rider last year. Sky riders have been targeted by boos and jeers on the Tour this year and defending champion Chris Froome was slapped on the shoulder by a fan during a stage this week. Moscon, a one-day race specialist who is on the Tour as a domestique, was also accused of sending another rider crashing last year before being cleared of wrongdoing by the International Cycling Union (UCI)

Stage 15 result

1. Magnus Cort (Den/Astana) 4hrs 25mins 52secs

2. Ion Izagirre (Spa/Bahrain-Merida) same time

3. Bauke Mollema (Ned/Trek-Segafredo) +2secs

4. Michael Valgren (Den/Astana) +29secs

5. Toms Skujins (Lat/Trek-Segafredo) +34secs

6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) same time

7. Lilian Calmejane (Fra/Direct Energie)

8. Rafal Majka (Pol/Bora-Hansgrohe) +37secs

9. Nikias Arndt (Ger/Sunweb) +2mins 31secs

10. Julien Bernard (Fra/Trek-Segafredo) +2mins 38secs

General classification after Stage 15

1. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky) 62hrs 49mins 47secs

2. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +1min 39secs

3. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Sunweb) +1min 50secs

4. Primoz Roglic (Slo/LottoNL-Jumbo) +2mins 38secs

5. Romain Bardet (Fra/AG2R La Mondiale) +3mins 21secs

6. Mikel Landa (Spa/Movistar) +3mins 42secs

7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/LottoNL-Jumbo) +3mins 57secs

8. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar) +4mins 23secs

9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den/Astana) +6mins 14secs

10. Dan Martin (Ire/UAE Team Emirates) +6mins 54secs 

(Source: Reuters, BBC Sport)


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