André Greipel picks up his third win of the Tour de France at Stage 15 in Valence

Cover: André Greipel, Tour de France Stage 15
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Todd Hofert


The race has reached its second Sunday and the riders that remain can finally see Paris on the horizon. Despite the role attrition has played upon their minds and bodies, there now seems to be hope for riding onto the famed cobbles of the Champs-Élysées in one weeks time. Stage 15 was set up nicely for the sprinters provided those teams came to the front trying to ensure a break wouldn’t succeed all the way to Valence.

The early forays of teams trying to get riders in breaks started immediately. Led by Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN) with ten riders trying to coming across to join him before being closed down by the peloton.

Lieuwe Westra (Astana) and Dylan van Baarle (Cannondale) were the next to try. A counterattack of 16 riders including Peter Sagan and Michal Kwiatkowski joined Westra and van Baarle 8km in and the break was established.

Tired legs became obvious early on with the grupetto starting to take shape on the very first climb, the côte de Badaroux: Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo), Jérôme Coppel (IAM), Marcel Sieberg (Lotto), Peter Kennaugh (Sky), Michal Golas and Mark Cavendish (Etixx), Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN) were all off the back.

The result at the top of the côte de Badaroux (cat. 3), km 9.5: Serge Pauwels (MTN), 2 points Lieuwe Westra (Astana), 1. Additional riders were able to make it across and the lead group was up to 27 riders.

Katusha came to the front of the peloton en masse to chase down the break, their efforts directed toward their man Alexander Kristoff. They would reduce the gap but Peter Sagan, looking to put a nail in the coffin of the Green Jersey competition, initiated a counter move and pulled a few riders free of the 27 man break. The riders to join him were Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo), Lars Bak (Lotto-Soudal), Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin), Simon Yates (Orica-Greenedge), Michal Kwiatkowski and Matteo Trentin (Etixx – Quick Step) and Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale-Garmin). This group of nine succeeded in staying away, for now, the others returned to the pack.

No one bothered to contest the intermediate sprint and Peter Sagan took the 20 points for first followed by his teammate Mic Rogers. Cavendish still off the back of the peloton over six minutes behind the race. The gap to the break was at 2:02 and just the Cat 2 climb of the Col de l’Escrinet lay between the riders and the downhill run into the finish.

Sagan and his eight break-mates crossed the summit of the Col de l’Escrinet with just over a minute on the chasing peloton, the grupetto down over eleven minutes. The result of the climb at the Col de l’Escrinet: Thibaut Pinot, 5 points, Hesjedal, 3 points, Kwiatkowski, 2 points, and Trentin, 1 point. Matteo Trentin went on the attack over the top opening up a small gap ahead of the break. The peloton would catch the remainder of the break with 38km remaining in the stage only Trentin and Ryder Hesjedal up the road.

Just under 30km to go the peloton would close the gap and make the catch of Matteo Trentin and Ryder Hesjedal. A bunch sprint minus Mark Cavendish shaping up as the race zeroed in on Valence.

Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-Quick Step) opened up a gap in the run in to the finish. With 3km to go he soloed off the front looking for a long range flyer to take him to his second stage win. Katusha and Lotto-Soudal drilling the front reeled him in just shy of the 1km to go banner.

Tour de France 2015 Stage 15
Tour de France 2015 Stage 15 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures© Chasing Light Media

Andre Greipel slammed the door for his third stage win of the Tour beating John Degenkolb, Alexander Kristoff, Peter Sagan and Edvald Boassen Hagen. What looked like a Green Jersey competition that was all but decided now has Greipel back within 44 points and still a threat to Sagan. Peter Sagan has now finished in the top five of ten of the fifteen stages of this Tour, an impressive display of consistency.

The peloton rolled in safely behind with no changes in the general classification or other jersey competitions. Next up, Stage 16, followed by a much-needed rest day on Tuesday before the race hits the Alps.

The first 18.5 kilometres were very important for me. If I could survive in the beginning of the stage, I knew that I could sprint for the victory. The biggest task was to stay in the peloton during these tough first kilometres, I really suffered. Afterwards there was a plateau and then there was a downhill. The only obstacle left on the course was a climb of the second category.

Lars was in the breakaway. He didn’t help in the front group and because of the great work of Katusha in the peloton, the breakaway didn’t get much space. Also, the teammates did an excellent job and surrounded me very well. Tim Wellens kept me out of the wind and they nicely guided me to the sprint. It was a different sprint today because Greg Henderson and Marcel Sieberg weren’t there, but Jens Debusschere and the others really did a great effort. I can only be thankful for their work.

I suffered the whole day and I had some problems with my knee. But with the finish line in sight, I can always give that extra push. I knew that in the final 250 meters, there was a headwind. My timing was just good enough, although Degenkolb and Kristoff came close. At first, we came to the Tour de France for one victory, the fact that we won three stages now is just a dream. This sprint was the toughest of all sprint stages. The last chance will be on the Champs-Elysées, but first we’ll have to deal with the Alps. We will see what Paris brings.”
– André Greipel, Lotto Soudal

André Greipel, Lotto-Soudal, Tour de France 2015 Stage 15
André Greipel, Lotto-Soudal, Tour de France 2015 Stage 15 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures© Chasing Light Media

I was up last night with stomach problems. In terms of the team’s tactics, we prayed it would be an easy start. But we had the plan to get guys in the breakaway anyway. I felt empty at the start. It’s a shame because I was going good in the last couple of days. I had Mark Renshaw and Michal Golas with me, and we thought there was a chance we could come back.

But once Katusha got on the front, and the TV cameras realize there’s a chase happening and go to the front of the peloton, you know it’s going to be a long day for us guys behind. After about 30 kilometers we knew it was about surviving the day. We knew there wasn’t a chance to win with me. But we knew there were guys that were in the break, which is really good. It was a hard day for us, but I’m still in Le Tour de France. I’m looking forward to just trying to get to Paris and I hope I am not ill in the next days.”
Mark Cavendish, Etixx – QuickStep

Tour de France 2015 Stage 15 Top 10

  1. André Greipel (GER) #75
    LOTTO-SOUDAL 03h 56′ 35″
  2. John Degenkolb (GER) #81
    TEAM GIANT-Alpecin same time
  3. Alexander Kristoff (NOR) #96
    TEAM KATUSHA same time
  4. Peter Sagan (SVK) #47
    TINKOFF-SAX same time
  5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) #211
    MTN-Qhubeka  same time
  6. Ramunas Navardauskas (LTU) #168
    TEAM GARMIN-CANNONDALE same time
  7. Christophe Laporte (FRA #173
    COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS same time
  8. Michael Matthews (AUS) #105
    ORICA GREENEDGE  same time
  9. Davide Cimolai (ITA) #153
    LAMPRE – MERIDA same time
  10. Florian Vachon (FRA) #209
    BRETAGNE – SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT same time
Tour de France 2015 Stage 15 500m
Tour de France 2015 Stage 15 500m Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures© Chasing Light Media

Tour de France 2015 General Classification Top 10 after Stage 15

  1. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    TEAM SKY 59h 58′ 54”
  2. Nairo Quintana (COL) #51
    MOVISTAR TEAM 60h 02′ 04” +3:10
  3. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) #61
    BMC RACING TEAM 60h 02′ 26” + 3:32
  4. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) #59
    MOVISTAR TEAM 60h 02′ 56” + 4:02
  5. Alberto Contador (ESP) #41
    TINKOFF-SAXO 60h 03′ 17” + 4:23
  6. Geraint Thomas (GBR) #39
    TEAM SKY 60h 03′ 48” + 4:54
  7. Robert Gesink (NED) #131
    TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO 60h 05′ 17” + 6:23
  8. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) #1
    ASTANA PRO TEAM 60h 07′ 11” + 8:17
  9. Tony Gallopin (FRA) #71
    LOTTO-SOUDAL 60h 07′ 17” + 8:23
  10. Bauke Moellema (NED) #141
    TREK FACTORY RACING 60h 07′ 47” + 8:53
Roman Kreuziger, Tinkoff-Saxo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 15
Roman Kreuziger, Tinkoff-Saxo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 15 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures© Chasing Light Media

Tour de France 2015 Jerseys after Stage 15

Yellow (Overall leader): Chris Froome, Team Sky
Green (Points): Peter Sagan, Tinkoff Saxo
Polka-dot (KOM): Chris Froome, Team Sky
Worn by: Joaquim Rodriguez, Team Katusha
White (Best Young Rider): Nairo Quintana, Movistar


Stage 15
Date: 19 July, 2015
Start:  Mende
Finish: Valence
Distance: 182 km

MTN Qhubeka’s Stephen Cummings wins at the Tour de France 2015 Stage 14

Cover: Stephen Cummings, MTN-Qhubeka, Tour de France 2015 Stage 14
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Todd Hofert

Transition Stage. Technically that is what today’s stage was. Does that diminish it in the eyes of a rider or a spectator? I guess it depends upon perspective. From mine, a Tour stage is always a Tour stage, each with their unique characteristics that add to the overall spectacle. Stage 14 from Rodez – Mende would be no exception.

The profile included four categorized climbs including the Côte de la Croix Neuve. Longer than the Mur de Huy and Mûr de Bretagne climbs, and also with a steeper average gradient. It provided a finish that may have bordered on too much for a puncheur and something short of a ‘real’ climb for the GC boys. The long uphill drag from start to finish, the heat and threat of more thunderstorms made for a stage that was anything but a roll through the countryside.

Robert Gesink, Lotto NL-Jumbo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 14
Robert Gesink, Lotto NL-Jumbo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 14
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Robert Gesink (Lotto NL-Jumbo) NEL was caught up in a crash just after the neutral zone. Having an excellent Tour thus far despite his early season setbacks it was good to see he was back up and riding and none the worse for the wear. An early break tried and failed as the peloton regrouped after the crash.

The little crash I was involved in was nothing serious. I only had to chase for twenty kilometres to return to the peloton afterwards. Besides that, I was feeling fine. That last climb was an annoying one. It was hectic, but I started climbing in a good position at the front of the group. In the end, I finished in a group with my main competitors and I was setting the pace.”
Robert Gesink, Lotto NL-Jumbo

Ruben Plaza, Lampre-Merida, Tour de France 2015 Stage 14
Ruben Plaza, Lampre-Merida, Tour de France 2015 Stage 14
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) SVK would initiate an attack and a small group of 5 would form the first successful break of the day. He had Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling), Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-QuickStep), Bob Jungels (Trek Factory Racing), Ruben Plaza (Lampre-Merida), Andrey Grivko (Astana), Matthieu Ladagnous (FDJ) with him. The move would grow to 7 leading up to the first sprint of the day.

Sagan won the intermediate sprint and a chase of 13, including yesterdays stage winner, Greg Vanavermaet would recognize the significance of having Sagan up the road and the group would swell to 20 soon after. The top five places for the sprint were Peter Sagan, 20 pts, Ruben Plaza, 17 pts, Andriy Grivko, 15 pts, Bob Jungels, 13 pts, Matthieu Ladagnous, 11 pts.

This group had 7:32 with 100km to go. The 13 to join the break were Romain Bardet and Jan Bakelants (AG2R-La Mondiale), Thibaut Pinot and Jérémy Roy (FDJ), Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar), Greg van Avermaet (BMC), Koen de Kort (Giant-Alpecin), Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEdge), Michal Golas (Etixx-Quick Step), Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Kristjian Koren (Cannondale-Garmin), Pierre-Luc Périchon (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) and Stephen Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka)

Andrew Talansky’s Tour misfortunes would continue as he would suffer a puncture that would knock him out of the break and he could be found sitting on the back of the peloton, understandably demoralized.

The race would roll along status quo for the next 50km or so, the peloton content for the most part to keep the break around six or seven minutes up the road. The gap would start to fall on the cat 2 Côte de Sauveterre led by Richie Porte and the rest of the Sky train. The results at the top of the climb of the côte de Sauveterre were Matthieu Ladagnous, 5 pts, Jérémy Roy, 3 pts, Jan Bakelants, 2 pts, Jarlinson Pantano, 1 pt.

Michal Golas, Etixx – Quick-Step, Tour de France 2015 Stage 14
Michal Golas, Etixx – Quick-Step, Tour de France 2015 Stage 14
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Soon after the summit Michal Golas (Etixx-Quick Step) attacked the break apparently looking to soften up the group for Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-QuickStep) ahead of the finale. The break started to fracture as a result. Kristjian Koren (Cannondale-Garmin) got away in pursuit with no concerted chase coming from behind. He would make the connection with Golas at the base of the penultimate climb of Côte de Chabrits.

FDJ was left to lead the chase. Sagan and Greg van Avermaet sitting in readying themselves for the battle to come on the final climb to the line. The gap to the peloton started to grow again to just over six minutes with 9km to go and the winner of the stage now certain to come from the break.

The lead pair hit the base of the climb with a slim 16 second margin, the 18 man chase eager to reel them in and claim a stage win. The attacks started to go with just under 4km to go. Sagan was unable to answer as was van Avermaet. Simon Yates was there, Romain Bardet looking like the man to beat. Thibaut Pinot struggled to recover but clawed back Bardet. Yates popped off the wheel on the steepest section of the climb.

Behind in the peloton an attack came from Nairo Quintana would get a gap on the Yellow Jersey and Froome was isolated. Nibail answered briefly and Froome’s persistence brought him back to the Colombian.

At the front of the race Pinot caught Bardet at just under 2km to go and seemingly from nowhere Steve Cummings would catch them both at the Flamme Rouge. Cummings rode straight past and soloed home for the stage win. Pinot second and Bardet third. The win for Cummings is the first Grand Tour stage win and certainly the biggest win in MTN-Qhubeka team history.

Froome would mark Quintana with Van Garderen popped well down the road, Quintana’s sights set on moving up a step on the podium. Contador losing time and Valverde attacking him late. Froome led the peloton home 4:17 seconds behind the leaders and beat Quintana in the sprint followed by a hard charging Alejandro Valverde.

Peter Sagan consolidated his lead in the Green Jersey competition with a fifth place finish. Chris Froome did the same gaining another 18 seconds on his overall lead. Tejay Van Garderen drops a spot on GC losing time to Quintana and Valverde and perhaps jeopardizing his hopes for a Tour podium, clinging to just a 30 second margin over Alejandro Valverde.

Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 14 Photo: G
Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 14
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Will Stage 15 offer any opportunity for the riders to recuperate? A few minor climbs up front, an intermediate sprint and a cat 2 in the middle followed by a long descending ride to what would appear to be a day for the sprinters.

Stephen Cummings, MTN-Qhubeka, Tour de France 2015 Stage 14
Stephen Cummings, MTN-Qhubeka, Tour de France 2015 Stage 14
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

I wasn’t the strongest today and I knew there were better climbers in our lead group. I had to play the waiting game today as FDJ were looking to set up Pinot for the win. I waited and waited and eventually, the last climb arrived which I rode at my own pace.

Pinot and Bardet were just ahead and I used them as the carrot dangling in front of me for motivation. Everyone went bananas at the start of the climb but the key was to remain calm and take my opportunity when it arrived. I made contact with the two Frenchman at the top of the climb and knew they might hesitate to chase me if I got the jump on them on the flat part before the finish.

I threw caution to wind and just went for it. It paid off and I won the stage. This is an incredible day for me and the team, with it being Mandela Day the team was motivated more than usual but I don’t think we can quite believe what has just happened. It may take a while to sink in.”
Stephen Cummings, MTN-Qhubeka

I should have won. I really thought I was winning this time. When Thibault Pinot caught me in the climb I was exhausted. We are friends but we both have been fooled by Cummings . It would have been so much better if one of us had won. I attacked early in the climb but I did not know the road very well. There are still opportunities for a stage victory in the alps. However I will need to choose wisely where to attack because I am really tired.”
Romain Bardet, AG2R La Mondiale

Tour de France 2015 Stage 14 Top 10

  1. Stephen Cummings (GBR) #212
    MTN-Qhubeka 04h 23 ’43”
  2. Thibaut Pinot (FRA) #21
    FDJ 04h 23′ 45″ + :02
  3. Romain Bardet (FRA) #12
    AG2R La Mondiale 04h 23’ 46” + :03
  4. Rigoberto Uran (COL) #118
    QUICK STEP-Etixx 04h 24’ 03” + :20
  5. Peter Sagan (SVK) #47
    TINKOFF-SAXO 04h 24’ 12” + :29
  6. Cyril Gautier (FRA) #123
    TEAM EUROPCAR 04h 24’ 15” + :32
  7. Ruben Plaza (ESP) #156
    LAMPRE – MERIDA 04h 24’ 15” + :32
  8. Bob Jungels (LUX) #147
    TREK FACTORY RACING 04h 24’ 15” + :32
  9. Jonathan Castroviejo (ESP) #53
    MOVISTAR TEAM 04h 24’ 15” + :32
  10. Simon Yates (GBR) #109
    ORICA GREENEDGE 04h 24’ 16” + :33
Vincent Nibali, Astana Pro Team, Tour de France 2015 Stage 14
Vincent Nibali, Astana Pro Team, Tour de France 2015 Stage 14
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Tour de France 2015 General Classification Top 10 after Stage 14

  1. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    TEAM SKY 56h 02′ 19″
  2. Nairo Quintana (COL) #51
    MOVISTAR TEAM 56h 05′ 29″ + 3:10
  3. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) #61
    BMC RACING TEAM 56h 05′ 51″ + 3:32
  4. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) #59
    MOVISTAR TEAM 56h 06′ 21″ + 4:02
  5. Alberto Contador (ESP) #41
    TINKOFF-SAXO 56h 06′ 42″ + 4:23
  6. Geraint Thomas (GBR) #39
    TEAM SKY 56h 07′ 13″ + 4:54
  7. Robert Gesink (NED) #131
    TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO 56h 08′ 42′” + 6:23
  8. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) #1
    ASTANA PRO TEAM 56h 10′ 36″ + 8:17
  9. Tony Gallopin (FRA) #71
    LOTTO-SOUDAL 56h 10′ 42″ + 8:23
  10. Bauke Moellema (NED) #141
    TREK FACTORY RACING 56h 11′ 12″ + 8:53

Tour de France 2015 Jerseys after Stage 14

Yellow (Overall leader): Chris Froome, Team Sky
Green (Points): Peter Sagan, Tinkoff Saxo
Polka-dot (KOM): Chris Froome, Team Sky
Worn by: Joaquim Rodriguez, Team Katusha
White (Best Young Rider): Nairo Quintana, Movistar

It was really hard because the finale was so tough with a three-kilometer climb of more than 10 percent. I took 20 points in the intermediate sprint and at that point it was really hectic, everybody wanted to break away but I managed to secure the points. It was overall a good day, but the battle for the green jersey is not over.

We have seven stages left and we have to pay attention every day. Today, I said to myself that I would try to go as fast as I could on the final climb and I’m okay with the result. The climbers in the group accelerated at the bottom and I thought that I should keep my own pace and perhaps there would be a slight chance that I could catch them at the top. Of course, I would like to win, but it’s not easy for me on a climb like this. 

Today I was thinking about tomorrow’s stage and I really hadn’t planned to go in the breakaway. But I aimed for the intermediate sprint and suddenly I was in the there and then I stayed, which also meant that I took extra points for the green jersey on the finish line. Maybe I can try again tomorrow but I’m not Superman. So we will see how I feel and for sure we’re going to do our best again, maybe I’m tired and maybe I’m not.”
Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo


Stage 14
Date: 18 July, 2015
Start:  Rodez
Finish: Mende
Distance: 178 km


Tour de France 2015 Stage 14 route

Tour de France 2015 Stage 14 route map

Tour de France 2015 Stage 14 route map

Tour de France 2015 Stage 14 profile

Tour de France 2015 Stage 14 profile

Tour de France 2015 Stage 14 climbs

20 km – Côte de Pont-de-Salars1.3 km de montée à 5.8% – category 4
146 km – Côte de Sauveterre9 km de montée à 6% – category  2
169.5 km – Côte de Chabrits1.9 km de montée à 5.9% -category 4
177 km – Côte de la Croix Neuve (1 055 m)3 km de montée à 10.1% -category 2

Tour de France 2015 Stage 14 climbs - Cote de la Croix

Maps courtesy of Le Tour de France / © A.S.O.

Greg Van Avermaet, Peter Sagan, Tour de France 2015 Stage 13

Greg Van Avermaet bests Sagan for the Tour de France 2015 Stage 13 win

Cover: Greg Van Avermaet, Peter Sagan, Tour de France 2015 Stage 13
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) powered through the streets of Rodez in 40° Celsius (104° Fahrenheit) temperatures to claim victory in an uphill finish at stage 13. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo), still looking for a stage victory, came in second with the same time as Van Avermaet and Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale) was third three seconds back.

It was really close. I went really early because in Le Havre (on Stage 6), everyone was waiting. So I tried to go from the bottom. It was really long the last 100 meters and I saw there was somebody in my wheel, so I just kept on sprinting. I was just hoping that he didn’t come over me.
I saw a wheel, but I didn’t know who was there. I just kept on going to the line. I knew it would be hard. Once you are there, you just have to keep on going. It was a good finish for me.
Greg Van Avermaet, BMC Racing Team

Race leader, Chris Froome (Team Sky), finished sixth on the day easily keeping the yellow jersey safely on his shoulders.

Tour de France 2015 Stage 13
Tour de France 2015 Stage 13 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

What started out as a relatively easy day turned out to be quite heated in the final. At one point it didn’t look as though we’d bring the breakaway back, so the peloton panicked and everyone was going flat out to catch them.

There are some tired bodies out there. It was really hot, but I much prefer those conditions to how it was yesterday with the rain and cold. I’m happy with how things went. I didn’t lose time to anyone and got through it without any major issues, and we’re another day closer to Paris.”
Chris Froome, Team Sky

Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 13
Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 13 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

An obviously frustrated Sagan voiced his disappointment in once again missing the stage win:

It was my mistake because I was waiting for too long and when we came near the top I was in the wheel of Van Avermaet but I should have continued to push out of the saddle. I could have won but I should have continued past him when I came to his wheel. I want to thank all my teammates for the effort they put today for me.

It was a very hard finish and I waited too long as I started a bit down but then I came to the wheel of Greg and I stayed there. I should have continued and in the final meters, I didn’t have the power. I took points for the green jersey but I really want to win a stage for the team, my teammates and myself”.
Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo

In the continuing battle for the points jersey between Lotto Soudal’s André Greipel & Peter Sagan, Sagan remained in green another day with 285 points to Greipel’s 261.

Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 13
Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 13 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Tour de France 2015 Stage 13 Top 10

  1. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) #68
    BMC RACING TEAM 04h 43′ 42”
  2. Peter Sagan (SVK) #47
    TINKOFF-SAXO 04h 43′ 42” same time
  3. Jan Bakelants (BEL) #13
    AG2R LA MONDIALE 04h 43′ 45” + :03
  4. John Degenkolb (GER) #81
    TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN 04h 43′ 49” + :07
  5. Paul Martens (GER) #135
    TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO 04h 43′ 49” + :07
  6. Christopher Froome (GBR) # 31
    TEAM SKY 04h 43′ 49” + :07
  7. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) #1
    ASTANA PRO TEAM 04h 43′ 49” + :07
  8. Alberto Contador (ESP) #41
    TINKOFF-SAXO 04h 43′ 49” + :07
  9. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) #59
    MOVISTAR TEAM 04h 43′ 49” + :07
  10. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) #61
    BMC RACING TEAM 04h 43′ 49” + :07
Jean-Christophe Peraud, AG2R La Mondiiale, Tour de France 2015 Stage 13
Jean-Christophe Peraud, AG2R La Mondiale, Tour de France 2015 Stage 13 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

I planned to be part of this morning breakaway because it could make it to the end. Unfortunately I missed it which is quite frustrating. When we caught them I tried to play my card. The heat did not bother me today and I could rely on a classy Romain Bardet. He is not only a leader but also reliable teammate. I am quite satisfied of my third place.”
Jan Bakelants, AG2R La Mondiale

DN7R5479
Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 13 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Tour de France 2015 General Classification Top 10 after Stage 13

  1. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    TEAM SKY 51h 34′ 21”
  2. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) #61
    BMC RACING TEAM 51h 37′ 13” + 2:52
  3. Nairo Quintana (COL) #51
    MOVISTAR TEAM 51h 37′ 30” +3:09
  4. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) #59
    MOVISTAR TEAM 51h 38′ 19” + 3:58
  5. Geraint Thomas (GBR) #39
    TEAM SKY 51h 38′ 24” + 4:03
  6. Alberto Contador (ESP) #41
    TINKOFF-SAXO 51h 38′ 25” + 4:04
  7. Robert Gesink (NED) #131
    TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO 51h 39′ 53” + 5:32
  8. Tony Gallopin (FRA) #71
    LOTTO-SOUDAL 51h 41′ 53” + 7:34
  9. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) #1
    ASTANA PRO TEAM 51h 42′ 08” + 7:47
  10. Bauke Moellema (NED) #141
    TREK FACTORY RACING 51h 42′ 23” +8:02
John Degenkolb, Team Giant-Alpecin, Tour de France 2015 Stage 13
John Degenkolb, Team Giant-Alpecin, Tour de France 2015 Stage 13 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Tour de France 2015 Jerseys after Stage 13

Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 13
Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 13 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Yellow (Overall leader): Chris Froome, Team Sky
Green (Points): Peter Sagan, Tinkoff Saxo
Polka-dot (KOM): Chris Froome, Team Sky
Worn by: Joaquim Rodriguez, Team Katusha
White (Best Young Rider): Nairo Quintana, Movistar

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Nairo Quintana, Movistar Team, Tour de France 2015 Stage 13 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 13
Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 13 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Stage 13
Date: 17 July, 2015
Start:  Muret
Finish: Rodez
Distance: 200 km

Joaquim-Rodriguez
Joaquim Rodriguez, Team Katusha, Tour de France 2015 Stage 13 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Tour de France 2015 Stage 13 route

Tour de France 2015 Stage 13 route map

Tour-de-France-2015-Stage-13-route-map.jpgTour de France 2015 Stage 13 profile

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 13 climbs

131km – Côte de Saint-Cirgue3.8 km de montée à 5.8% – category 3
156km – Côte de la Pomparie2.8 km de montée à 5% – category 4
167km – Côte de la Selve3.9 km de montée à 3.7% – category 4

Tour de France 2015 Stage 13 last km

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Maps courtesy of Le Tour de France / © A.S.O.

Joaquim Rodriguez, Tour de France 2015 Stage 12

Joaquim Rodriguez wins Tour de France 2015 Stage 12

Cover: Joaquim Rodriguez, Tour de France 2015 Stage 12 © Tim De Waele / Team Katusha
Article by Todd Hofert


Stage 12 could only be described as a beast. It was on the long side. It graduated steadily in difficulty over a cat 2 climb, followed by two cat 1 climbs before culminating on the vaunted slopes of Plateau de Beille, the hors categorie climb of the day at 15.8 kilometres in length with an average gradient of 7.9%. And it came on the third and final day in the Pyrenees. The recipe for an exciting day of racing.

Stage 12 could only be described as a beast. It is on the long side. It graduates steadily in difficulty over a cat 2 climb, followed by two cat 1 climbs before culminating on the vaunted slopes of Plateau de Beille, the hors categorie climb of the day at 15.8 kilometres in length with an average gradient of 7.9%. And it came on the third and final day in the Pyrenees. The recipe for an exciting day of racing.

Chris Froome with a comfortable lead on the General Classification spent yet another day in Yellow. Places 2 through 10, however, should be hotly contested as only a handful of minutes separate the riders in those positions. Peter Sagan was back in the Green Jersey and appeared ready to defend it on the day’s intermediate sprint just 20km into the stage. Nairo Quintana wore the White Jersey and Richie Porte would do the honor of wearing the Polka-Dot Jersey on loan from his teammate Chris Froome, the rightful owner of that tunic. No surprise that Team Sky would continue to lead the team competition.

Right out of the gate Lotto Soudal would take charge of the peloton to ensure that an early break could not form and take sprint points away from Andre Greipel. Just 7 points down on Peter Sagan his intent to get the Green Jersey back. He would win the sprint followed by John Degenkolb in second but Peter Sagan’s persistence and a third place would leave the Gorilla two points shy of reclaiming the Maillot Vert.

It wouldn’t take long for the break to form once the business of the sprint was out of the way. At 27km a 22 rider break form that included riders from 15 teams: Lieuwe Westra, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Matthieu Ladagnous, Jérémy Roy (FDJ), Gorka Izagirre (Movistar), Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx), Romain Bardet, Mickaël Chérel, Christophe Riblon (AG2R), Jan Barta (Bora), Bryan Coquard, Romain Sicard (Europcar), Kristjian Durasek (Lampre), Dani Navarro (Cofidis), Sylvain Chavanel, Jérôme Coppel (IAM), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Frédéric Brun, Anthony Delaplace (Bretagne-Séché), Louis Meintjes (MTN), Georg Preidler (Giant), Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo). At 35km the break had established a 3:45 gap.

The result at the top of the first climb of the day, the Col du Portet d’Aspet (km 57.5) was Georg Preidler(Giant-Alpecin) 5 pts, Jérémy Roy(FDJ) 3 pts, Lieuwe Westra (Astana) 2 pts and Anthony Delaplace(Bretagne-Séché) 1 pt. The time gap to the peloton was 5:05.

The breakaway would start to splinter on the Col de la Core. The pack reduced to 13 then began to slowly regroup as the remainder of the riders settled into their rhythm and regained contact. Over the top of the climb maximum points would be taken by Kristjian Durasek, 10 pts followed by Georg Preidler, 8 pts Mikaël Chérel, 6 pts Matthieu Ladagnous, 4 pts Sylvain Chavanel, 2 pts and Romain Bardet, 1 pt

Preidler, Kwiatkowski and Vanmarcke would move clear on the descent of the Col de la Core, the peloton would come across the summit more than ten minutes back of the lead trio. The lead group would reduce to two as Georg Preidler was unable to hang. Kwiatkowski would set the pace up the Port de Lers, the penultimate climb of the day, with Sep Vanmarcke following. Rodriguez, Izagirre and Sicard rejoined Bardet, Fuglsang and Meintjes and the group of six continued in pursuit of the two leaders. Results at the summit of Port de Lers: Michal Kwiatkowski, 10 pts, Sep Vanmarcke, 8 pts and 53 seconds back Mikaël Chérel, 6 pts Louis Meintjes, 4 pts Romain Bardet, 2 pts and Jakob Fuglsang, 1 pt would follow. The gap to the peloton had grown to a maximum of 12:30.

The race would hit torrential rain and even hail along the valley on the way to Plateau de Beille. Kwiatkowski and Vanmarcke would extend their advantage to 1:50 over the nearest chaser at the base of the final climb. With 13km remaining, Kwiatkowski would dispatch Sep Vanmarcke and soldier on solo looking to hang on to the narrow margin to his chasers. The peloton would hit the climb with a fury led by Lotto NL-Jumbo and Movistar 10:38 behind the leader. Sky would come forward to restore order and the steady pressure would reduce the field.

Michal Kwiatkowski, Tour de France Stage 12
Michal Kwiatkowski, Tour de France Stage 12 Photo: Etixx – Quick-Step/Tim De Waele

It’s a pity I couldn’t handle the power necessary to stay away on the last climb. It was really steep after a long day out front. Being caught 7.6 kilometers from the finish is too bad, but for me, it was a bit unexpected to be in that breakaway in the first place. It was many guys and a lot of strong climbers. I think Sep and I did a great move to stay away from the pure climbers. I think it was smart to be aggressive on the descent before the last climb and build the gap. We worked together well and I’m thankful to him. We played the best tactic possible for our skills. It was too bad we didn’t have enough of a gap to stay away. I couldn’t have done any better than what I did.

The rain was even nice to cool off from the heat we dealt with all day, especially with the high temperatures we’ve also been dealing with in the last stages. I tried to fight until the end. It wasn’t enough to win a stage, but I’m happy my performance is getting better and better each day. Congratulations to Rodriguez as he deserved the victory today. He was super strong and he is one of the best climbers in the peloton. I am happy I tried to go for the stage win. I have to be satisfied because you can’t win if you don’t try.”
Michal Kwiatkowski, Etixx – QuickStep

Rodriguez, Jakob Fuglsang, and Romain Bardet would provide the most exciting action of the day as they sparred their way across the gap to Kwiatkowski, Rodriguez providing the majority of animation. His persistence would finally pay off and he would ride away from Fuglsang and Bardet and catch Kwiatkowski with 7.7km remaining.

I was in hell during the last ten days, I could not follow the rhythm of the peloton. Today I found some new energy such as the AG2R a Mondiale team. However, this Tour still represents the biggest failure of my career because my main goal was to reach the top 5. At least, I gained in confidence today, which is quite good for the Alps. I am more than pleased of my Plateau de Beille climb. Honestly, my best friend Mickael Cherel did an amazing job but Rodriguez was better than us.”
Romain Bardet, AG2R La Mondiale

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Robert Gesink, Tour de France 2015 Stage 12 Photo: Lotto NL – Jumbo

Robert Gesink would suffer a puncture at a critical time as the Yellow Jersey group had been reduced to about 11 riders. He would be unable to claw his way back to the group and would give back a handful of seconds as a result of his misfortune.

Today went quite well, although it sucked that I had a puncture at the foot of the Plateau de Beille,” Gesink said. “It was a bad moment. I took another bike, I started riding to the top as if it was a time trial. Thanks to the adrenaline, I almost made it back to the yellow jersey group. I could see them all the way up, but unfortunately, I couldn’t close the gap.”
Robert Gesink, Lotto NL – Jumbo

Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas would maintain a tight grip on the rest of the Yellow Jersey group keeping the tempo high and responding to accelerations. Alejandro Valverde would launch several sorties trying to soften up the Sky armada and Richie Porte would finally succumb after successfully covering them. Contador would try his luck and Froome would bring him back himself. Nibali would try. Quintana would try. Nothing would stick. The remnants of the days breakaway were picked off one by one with only 8 of the original 22 being able to survive to the finish ahead of the Yellow Jersey group.

Nairo Quintana, Tour de France 2015 Stage 12
Nairo Quintana, Tour de France 2015 Stage 12 Photo: Movistar

It was a good work from everyone in the team. A difficult day, with really demanding climbs and, above all, serious temperature changes and rain in the finale. It took even more energy from us, but we stood it and attacked the leader several times. Sky managed to control all of them, as well ours as the ones from Alberto, Vincenzo… they dominated the situation pretty well and have shown to be strong, as well Froome as his team-mates. We’ll keep dreaming and trying; there’s still a long way to go and everything won’t be decided until the final mountain stage. I feel well at the moment, we’re as strong as in previous days; I think my level shouldn’t go down in what’s left in this Tour, and should I keep it like today, I think we can try some good things until Paris. There’s much to cover, we lost some ground already, but there’s some good condition we’ll use to keep fighting till next Sunday.”
Nairo Quintana, Movistar

Joaquim Rodriguez’s move would stick and he would ride home solo to claim his second stage win of the Tour. Jakob Fuglsang would follow 1:12 down and Romain Bardet, after suffering miserably the day before, would claim the third spot on the podium of the day. The remainder of the 8 members that survived the break of the day would come in next and the faithful lieutenant Geraint Thomas would fight his way back to finish the job of getting Chris Froome to the line unscathed.

Tejay Van Garderen would answer all of the attacks and would finish behind the late sprint to the line led by Valverde and Froome. The top ten would remain almost unchanged with Gesink jumping over Tony Gallopin from 8th to 7th despite his bad luck.

I knew Sky had a really strong team and they were going to try to neutralize any of the attacks of all the dangerous guys. So when they were jumping, I just sat behind Sky to make sure they pulled them back. Hopefully, those guys will keep doing that so they waste a few of their bullets. Then, in the third week they might pay the price.”
Tejay Van Garderen, BMC Racing Team

The peloton will be looking for a bit of restored order as they roll into the weekend tomorrow.

Tour de France 2015 Stage 12 Top 10

  1. Joachim Rodrgiuez (ESP) #91
    TEAM KATUSHA 05h 40′ 14″
  2. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) #3
    ASTANA PRO TEAM 05h 41′ 26″ + 1:12
  3. Romain Bardet (FRA) #12
    AG2R LA MONDIALE 05h 42′ 03″ + 1:49
  4. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (ESP) #57
    MOVISTAR TEAM 05h 44′ 48″ + 4:34
  5. Louis Meintjes (RSA) #217
    MTN-QHUBEKA 05h 44′ 52″ + 4:38
  6. Jan Barta (CZE) #192
    BORA-ARGON 18 05h 46′ 01″ + 5:47
  7. Romain Sicard (FRA) #127
    TEAM EUROPCAR 05h 46′ 17″ + 6:03
  8. Mikael Cherel (FRA) #14
    AG2R LA MONDIALE 05h 46′ 42” + 6:28
  9. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) #59
    MOVISTAR TEAM 05h 47′ 00″ + 6:46
  10. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    TEAM SKY 05h 47′ 01″ + 6:47

Tour de France 2015 General Classification Top 10 after Stage 12

  1. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    TEAM SKY 46h 50′ 32″
  2. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) #61
    BMC RACING TEAM 46h 53′ 24″ + 2:52
  3. Nairo Quintana (COL) #51
    MOVISTAR TEAM 46h 53′ 41″ + 3:09
  4. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) #59
    MOVISTAR TEAM 46h 54′ 30″ + 3:58
  5. Geraint Thomas (GBR) #39
    TEAM SKY 46h 54′ 35″ + 4:03
  6. Alberto Contador (ESP) #41
    TINKOFF-SAXO 46h 54′ 36″‘ + 04:04
  7. Robert Gesink (NED) #131
    TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO 46h 56′ 04″ + 5:32
  8. Tony Gallopin (FRA) #71
    LOTTO-SOUDAL 46h 58′ 04″ + 7:32
  9. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) #1
    ASTANA PRO TEAM 46h 58′ 19″ + 7:47
  10. Bauke Moellema (NED) #141
    TREK FACTORY RACING 46h 58′ 34″ + 8:02

Tour de France 2015 Jerseys after Stage 12

Yellow (Overall leader): Chris Froome, Team Sky
Green (Points): Peter Sagan, Tinkoff Saxo
Polka-dot (KOM): Chris Froome, Team Sky
Worn by: Joaquim Rodriguez, Team Katusha
White (Best Young Rider): Nairo Quintana, Movistar

Stage 12 – Lannemezan / Plateau de Beille – 195km

Stage 12
Date: 16 July, 2015
Start:  Lannemezan
Finish: Plateau de Beille
Distance: 195 km


Tour de France 2015 Stage 12 route

Tour de France 2015 Stage 12 route map

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 12 profile

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 12 climbs

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Maps courtesy of Le Tour de France / © A.S.O.

Rafal Majka, Tinkoff-Saxo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 11, Col du Tourmalet

Rafal Majka conquers the Tourmalet & takes stage 11 at the Tour de France 2015

Cover: Rafal Majka, Tinkoff-Saxo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 11, Col du Tourmalet
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


Rafal Majka (Tinkoff Saxo) claimed the victory at Cauterets after charging over the Tourmalet at stage 11 of the Tour de France. Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) finished second 1 minute behind Majka and Emanuel Buchmann (Bora Argon 18) was third.

I dedicate this win to my team and especially Ivan Basso and Daniele Bennati, who crashed today. I only attacked once, but it was at the right moment. I was watching the other riders and noticed that many of them were suffering so I decided to attack. My teammates supported me to go in the breakaway and I told my sports directors that I wanted to attack already on the Tourmalet instead of waiting. I needed a hard climb to create a gap and I took nearly 1’30” on the Tourmalet. I’m very happy with this win and it is great for the morale on the team.”
Rafal Majka, Tinkoff Saxo

Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 Col du Tourmalet
Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 Col du Tourmalet Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Chris Froome (Team Sky) safely retained the overall lead sitting 2 minutes 52 seconds in front of Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing) after stage 11.

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Stage 11 – Pau / Cauterets – Vallée de Saint-Savin – 188km

by Todd Hofert

Just over a week into the Tour and the top wrung of the GC ladder is now well established. Chris Froome stamped his authority on this years campaign on the first HC climb of the race yesterday. Now sitting on a margin of 2:52 over his nearest rival will he continue to “ride defensively” in his own words, or will he assert himself to make an emphatic claim on the title?

The stage to Cauterets today provided an equal opportunity for either approach he chose to take. Well suited for a break to succeed and for the climber looking to establish himself as a Polka-Dot Jersey contender, an easy ride in the bunch is what Froome was hoping for today with Plateau de Beille on the profile for tomorrow.

Any thoughts of an easy day were quickly extinguished when a series of attempts to form a break were all chased down. It seemed all of the teams were interested in being in the break today and that led to difficulty for anyone trying to establish a break and for anyone thinking they would have an easy start to the day. An attempt to take notes on all the activity leading up to the break that finally formed would prove futile and I too would settle back to accepting that my chances for covering the break today were over.

The break that did finally succeed after about 85km of racing would contain: Arnaud Démare (FDJ) FRA, Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) POL, Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) FRA, Steve Morabito (FDJ) SUI, Serge Pauwels (MTN-Qhubeka) BEL, Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Argon 18) GER and Julien Simon (Cofidis, Solutions Credit) FRA. They would lead the race through the feed and onto the slopes of the Col d’ Aspin.

Earlier in the day, the bunch would contest the intermediate sprint at just over 56km into the stage. Peter Sagan, after Tweeting yesterday that he wants his Green Jersey back, would land a 17 point second place result behind Matteo Trentin (Etixx – Quick Step) ITA. This would give Sagan the points he needed to rest the jersey away from Greipel for the time being. John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) GER would grab 15 points for third, Zdenek Stybar (Etixx – Quick Step) CZE and Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) FRA would round out the top five. Andre Greipel would come in 9th.

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Dan Martin, Cannondale-Garmin, Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 Col du Tourmalet Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Dan Martin (Cannondale Garmin) IRL, trying to salvage what has thus far been a dreadful Tour for Cannondale-Garmin, would put in an effort to bridge to the break and would reel them in up the Col d’ Aspin. The lead group of seven had a seven-minute gap over the peloton and a handful of minutes over the few stragglers trying to stay out ahead of the pack. The gap over the summit of the Col d’ Aspin would be 7:48. Dan Martin would claim the 10 points for the first man to reach the summit and would immediately go on the attack on the descent.

Tour de France 2015 Stage 11
Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Martin would not go far as the remaining six members of the break plus Arnaud Démare, one of the aforementioned stragglers, would manage the gap to Martin and the group of eight would arrive at the base of the Col du Tourmalet together 7:06 ahead of the main field.

Rafal Majka, Tinkoff-Saxo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 Col du Tourmalet
Rafal Majka, Tinkoff-Saxo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 Col du Tourmalet Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) POL would strike out on his own on the Tourmalet. He would gain a minute over his former break companions. He would go over the top and grab the 25 points and 5,000 euros.

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Rafał Majka, Tinkoff-Saxo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The peloton would follow led by the Maillot Jaune at 5:35, the remnants of the break somewhere between. Vincenzo Nibali could be seen on the front of the chasing peloton. Riding for himself or for the newly assigned team leader Jakob Fuglsang?

Rui Costa, Lampre-Merida, Tour de France 2015 teams presentation
Rui Costa, Lampre-Merida, Tour de France 2015 teams presentation Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Rui Costa would abandon the race still suffering from injuries his injuries from last week. He joins a long list of abandons including Johan Van Summeren (AG2R), Rein Taaramae (Astana), Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Ben Gastauer (AG2R).

Serge Pauwels, MTN-Qhubeka, Tour de France 2015 Stage 11
Serge Pauwels, MTN-Qhubeka, Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The break would splinter across the roads. Serge Pauwels (MTN-Qhubeka) BEL in pursuit of Majka, Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Argon 18) GER in pursuit of Pauwels, Dan Martin (Cannondale Garmin) IRL aggressively attacking them all. At the 4km to go banner Dan Martin (Cannondale Garmin) IRL would storm past Serge Pauwels the last man between he and Majka but it would once again prove too little too late for Martin as Rafel Majka would cruise to the stage win. Emanuel Buchmann would catch Pauwels as well relegating the former to fourth place on the day.

Tommy Voeckler, Team Europcar Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 Col du Tourmalet
Tommy Voeckler, Team Europcar Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 Col du Tourmalet Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Thomas Voeckler and Julien Simon would cross the line some 3:33 adrift of the stage winner followed by Bauke Mollema who launched a late attack on the yellow jersey group. Vincenzo Nibail, who looked solid on the Col d’Aspin and the Tourmalet would pop yet again giving up more time on the general classification. At what point does he simply abandon the race?

Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 Col du Tourmalet
Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 Col du Tourmalet Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

A big day on the way to the summit of the Plateau de Beille faces the riders tomorrow. The steep slopes should provide plenty of action for those trying to make a dent in Froome’s lead and move themselves up the leader board.

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Vincenzo Nibali, Alejandro Valverde, Tejay Van Garderen, Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Stage 11
Date: 15 July, 2015
Start:  Pau
Finish: Cauterets – Valley of Saint-Savin
Distance: 188 km

Rigoberto Uran, Etixx-Quick Step, Tour de France 2015 Stage 11
Rigoberto Uran, Etixx-Quick Step, Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 Top 10

  1. Rafal Majka (POL) #45
    TINKOFF-SAX 05h 02′ 01″
  2. Daniel Martin (IRL) #167
    TEAM GARMIN-CANNONDALE 05h 03′ 01″ + 1:00
  3. Emanuel Buchmann (GER) #194
    BORA-ARGON 18 05h 03′ 24″ + 1:23
  4. Serge Pauwels (BEL) #218
    MTN-Qhubeka 05h 04′ 09″ + 2:08
  5. Thomas Voeckler (FRA) #129
    TEAM EUROPCAR 05h 05 ’35’ ‘ + 3:34
  6. Julien Simon (FRA)#177
    COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS 05h 05 ’35’ ‘ + 3:34
  7. Bauke Mollema (NED) #141
    TREK FACTORY RACING 05h 07′ 12″ + 5:11
  8. Alejandro Valderde (ESP) #59
    MOVISTAR TEAM 05h 07′ 20″ +5:19
  9. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    TEAM SKY 05h 07′ 22″+ 5:21
  10. Alberto Contador (ESP) #41
    TINKOFF-SAX 05h 07′ 22″ + 5:2
Steve Morabito, FDJ, Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 Col du Tourmalet
Steve Morabito, FDJ, Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 Col du Tourmalet Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Tour de France 2015 General Classification Top 10 after Stage 11

  1. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    TEAM SKY 41h 03′ 31″
  2. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) #61
    BMC RACING TEAM 41h 06′ 23″+ 2:52
  3. Nairo Quintana (COL) #51
    MOVISTAR TEAM 41h 06′ 40″ + 3:09
  4. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) #59
    MOVISTAR TEAM 41h 07′ 30″ + 3:59
  5. Geraint Thomas (GBR) #39
    TEAM SKY 41h 07′ 34″ + 4:03
  6. Alberto Contador (ESP) #41
    TINKOFF-SAX 41h 07′ 35″ + 4:04
  7. Tony Gallopin (FRA) #71
    LOTTO-SOUDAL 41h 08′ 04″ + 4:33
  8. Robert Gesink (NED) #131
    LOTTO TEAM NL – JUMBO 41h 08′ 06″ + 4:35
  9. Warren Barguil (FRA) #82
    TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN 41h 10′ 15″ + 6:44
  10. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) #1
    TREK FACTORY RACING 41h 10′ 36″ + 7:05
Tour de France 2015 Stage 11
Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Tour de France 2015 Jerseys after Stage 11

Yellow (Overall leader): Chris Froome, Team Sky
Green (Points): Peter Sagan, Tinkoff Saxo
Polka-dot (KOM):Chris Froome, Team Sky
Worn by: Richie Porte, Team Sky
White (Best Young Rider): Nairo Quintana, Movistar

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 Col du Tourmalet Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Laurens Ten Dam, Lotto NL-Jumbo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 Col du Tourmalet
Laurens Ten Dam, Lotto NL-Jumbo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 Col du Tourmalet Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 route

Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 route map

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 profile

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 climbs

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 11 last km

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Maps courtesy of Le Tour de France / © A.S.O.

Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 10

Chris Froome solos to victory & moves ahead by nearly 3 minutes at Tour de France 2015 Stage 10

Cover: Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 10
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Todd Hofert


 

Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 10
Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 10 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Chris Froome (Team Sky) soloed to a commanding victory on La-Pierre-Saint-Martin, crossing the finish line 59 seconds ahead of teammate, Richie Porte and 1 minute 4 seconds in front of third place, Nairo Quintana (Movistar).

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Richie Porte, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 10 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

While Froome played down his lead in post-race interviews, stating it was still a very long race, his performance increased his lead in the overall to 2 minutes 52 seconds over second place, Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing) and by 3 minutes 9 seconds over Quintana.

Nairo Quintana, Movistar, Tour de France 2015 Stage 10
Nairo Quintana, Movistar, Tour de France 2015 Stage 10 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Sky definitely put on quite the performance. I tried my best to stay with them. When it got too much for me, I tried to stay in my rhythm and focused on getting to the top. I don’t think today was my best day. But it wasn’t all bad. I am still keeping a good GC (general classification) position.

The first mountain day is always tricky. We have done almost two weeks without climbing any real mountains. So it can be quite a shock to the system, especially after a rest day. I feel like it should go better from here. I am definitely still happy about where we are sitting.”
Tejay Van Garderen, BMC Racing

Stage 10 – Tarbes to La Pierre-Saint-Martin – 167km

It was Bastille Day in France today, the French National Day commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution with the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789. And a Frenchman in the break on Bastille Day is as common as fireworks on Independence Day in the US. So it would be today with Pierrick Fédrigo (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) FRA initiating a solo break just a few kilometers into the stage. A few kilometers later Kenneth Van Bilsen (Cofidis) BEL would launch a bid to bridge to the solo attacker. He would finally make contact with Fédrigo some 30km later and the two would ride out to a maximum gap of 14:16.

Coming out of the first rest day the first 100km or so of the stage to La Pierre-Saint-Martin was well suited to allow the riders to spin the legs back life. With just rolling terrain all of the way to the base of the final climb the riders could shake off the negative effects that so often occur during a rest day. The warm-up, however, would be short-lived as the hors categorie climb to the summit finish at La Pierre-Saint-Martin was looming on the horizon and there would be no hiding from it.

Movistar and Sky would take up the primary responsibilities of marshaling the two-man break. Kenneth Van Bilsen would collect the points over all three of the category 4 climbs that led the way to La Pierre.

The intermediate sprint was won by Pierrick Fédrigo without being contested by Van Bilsen an agreement likely formed giving Van Bilsen the mountain points on offer thus far. The peloton would follow through the sprint point some 8 minutes later with Andre Greipel taking the third place points followed by Mark Cavendish and John Degenkolb. Peter Sagan would finish seventh and with that Greipel would reclaim the Green Jersey.

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 10 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The teams of the GC contenders would arrive at the base of the climb licking their lips for the first real opportunity to do what they do best. Movistar would come to the front to set a yeoman’s pace not hiding their cards to be played for Nairo Quintana. Sky was well represented as was Tinkoff Saxo and Astana. Surprisingly Tejay Van Garderen was isolated almost immediately. This could spell trouble for him over the long haul. Andrew Talansky could also be seen popping off the back a victim of his own team’s fervor.

Robert Gesink would launch a long range sortie with about 12km remaining. That move would be reeled in a few kilometers up the climb just prior to a searing attack by Chris Froome with 6.3km to go. No one was able to follow. Froome would continue to open the gap with only Nairo Quintana able to mount a chase. His efforts would fail as well.

Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 10
Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 10 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

At the line, Chris Froome would have the 2015 Tour de France by the throat. He would finish a minute ahead of teammate Richie Porte and just over a minute ahead of Nairo Quintana. Robert Gesink with an impressive ride up the final climb would grab fourth place vaulting himself up into 8th on the general classification. Alejandro Valverde would round out the top five.

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Robert Gesink, Team LottoNL-Jumbo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 10 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The big losers of the day would be Tejay Van Garderen giving up 2:40 to Froome, Alberto Contador giving up 3:01 and Vincenzo Nibali virtually imploding early on giving up over four and a half minutes to the stage winner. He now sits in tenth almost 7 minutes down.

For a man who said he would ride defensively today, it will be interesting to see how he approaches the next two stages. Short of misfortune has the Tour been decided on just the first climb of the race?

I just thought instead of riding a defensive race, ‘come on guys let’s push on here. Some guys are in trouble let’s take advantage of that.’ I asked the guys to push on a bit. The legs felt good so I think it worked out just to plan.

Now we’re just going to have to take it on a daily basis. I’m in such a great position now and with such team around me. Guys like Richie Porte coming second, G just a few places back in fifth – it just shows the caliber of riders I’ve got supporting me. Hopefully, now we can just ride a defensive race. Let’s see – there’s still a very long way to go to Paris but of course, I’m ecstatic about how it went today.

When I heard on the radio it was like music to the ears, especially this early in the race. There are some really big time gaps today which I’m quite surprised about, seeing as we only had the one climb on the final. The one thing that comes to mind for me is that maybe some of the guys didn’t look after themselves quite that well through the rest day yesterday, or maybe came out of the rest day feeling quite heavy. My guys were great. It was a dream day for us.”
Chris Froome, Team Sky


Stage 10
Date: 14 July, 2015
Start:  Tarbes
Finish: La Pierre-Saint-Martin
Distance: 167 km

Tour de France 2015 Stage 10 Top 10

  1. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    Team Sky 4h 22′ 07″
  2. Richie Porte (AUS) #35
    Team Sky + :59
  3. Nairo Quintana (COL) #51
    Movistar + 1:04
  4. Robert Gesink (NED) #131
    Team LottoNL-Jumbo + 1:33
  5. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) #59
    Movistar + 2:01
  6. Geraint Thomas (GBR) #39
    Team Sky + 2:01
  7. Adam Yates (GBR) #108
    Orica GreenEDGE + 2:04
  8. Pierre Rolland (FRA) #121
    Team Europcar + 2:04
  9. Tony Gallopin (FRA) #71
    Lotto Soudal + 2:22
  10. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) #61
    BMC Racing + 2:30

Tour de France 2015 General Classification Top 10 after Stage 10

  1. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    Team Sky 35h 56′ 09″
  2. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) #61
    BMC Racing + 2:52
  3. Nairo Quintana (COL) #51
    Movistar + 3:09
  4. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) #59
    Movistar + 4:01
  5. Geraint Thomas (GBR) #39
    Team Sky + 4:03
  6. Alberto Contador (ESP) #41
    Tinkoff-Saxo + 4:04
  7. Tony Gallopin (FRA) #71
    Lotto Soudal + 4:33
  8. Robert Gesink (NED) #131
    Team LottoNL-Jumbo + 4:35
  9. Warren Barguil (FRA) #82
    Team Giant-Alpecin + 6:12
  10. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) #1
    Astana Pro Team + 6:57

Tour de France 2015 Jerseys after Stage 10

Yellow (Overall leader): Chris Froome, Team Sky
Green (Points): André Greipel, Lotto Soudal
Polka-dot (KOM):Chris Froome, Team Sky
Worn by: Richie Porte, Team Sky
White (Best Young Rider): Nairo Quintana, Movistar

Tour de France 2015 Stage 10 route

Tour de France 2015 Stage 10 route map

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 10 profile

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 10 climbsTour-de-France-2015-Stage-climb-La-Pierre-Saint-Martin.png

Maps courtesy of Le Tour de France / © A.S.O.

Tejay Van Garderen, BMC Racing Team, Tour de France 2015 Stage 5

Looking ahead to Week Two at the Tour de France

Cover: Tejay Van Garderen, BMC Racing Team, Tour de France 2015
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Todd Hofert


Following a hectic first week of the Tour, there are few who can say things have gone to plan. The same holds true for the pre-race favorites. What was dubbed the fantastic four, Contador, Froome, Nibali and Quintana, is now down to three plus one as Tejay Van Garderen has added his name to the marquee with a solid week of racing and Vincenzo Nibali has all but excused himself.

BMC would see themselves pip Team Sky by one second for the Stage 9 Team Time Trial win with Quintana’s Movistar notching an impressive third just four seconds back of Sky. Contador and Tinkoff-Saxo would give away twenty-eight seconds to the winning time and all but eliminate any chance Peter Sagan would have to claim a yellow jersey. Nibali and Astana would round out the top five, 35 seconds back, leaving Nibs on the outside looking in at 2:22 on GC.

Vincenzo Nibali, Astana Pro Team, Tour de France 2015 teams presentation
Vincenzo Nibali, Astana Pro Team, Tour de France 2015 teams presentation Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

A well-deserved rest day awaited the riders following the TTT and the transfer to Pau. Looking ahead, the rest will be short as the Pyrenees are laying in wait. If week one was an endeavor of limiting losses, week two will serve up opportunities to consolidate or to make a move.

The big news coming out of the rest day is the unfortunate announcement by Ivan Basso that he has been diagnosed with testicular cancer and will leave the Tour immediately. He had been suffering pain and an examination by team doctors led him to the hospital for more extensive testing that resulted in the diagnosis early Monday morning. There has been an outpouring of support and we wish him well in his upcoming treatment and recovery.

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Stage 10 on Tuesday will take the riders from Tarbes to La Pierre-Saint-Martin, a short-ish 167km route across three relatively benign category 4 climbs and on to a summit finish on the hors catergorie La Pierre-Saint-Martin (1,610 m 15.3 kilometre-long climb at 7.4%). The cat 4 climbs are not likely to soften up the group enough to result in significant time gaps amongst the leaders, but given the time that both Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana have given up in week one, they will have no choice but to attack and make the most of their opportunities if they want to retain the label of contender. Whether or not the La Pierre offers those opportunities we’ll have to wait and see.

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 8 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The Stage 11 trek will take the race from Pau / Cauterets – Vallée de Saint-Savin, 188km. The climbing gets a little more serious crossing a total of six categorized climbs including the cat 1 Col d’Aspin (1,490 m 12 kilometre-long climb at 6.5%) and the venerable hors categorie Col du Tourmalet (2,115 m17.1 kilometre-long climb at 7.3%) before finishing atop the category 3 Côte de Cauterets (6.4 kilometre-long climb at 5%). While the profile may look daunting, the terrain between climbs should offer ample opportunity for the main race to regroup in advance of the finish. Rest assured there will be a break trying to steal away the mountain points and a chance to don the coveted Polka-Dot Jersey.

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On Thursday The Tour offers up a classic day in the Pyrenees on the roads from Lannemezan to Plateau de Beille. Now day three in the mountains we should start to see a refinement of the top twenty of this years Tour. The finish on the feared hors categorie Plateau de Beille (15.8 kilometre-long climb at 7.9%) is one for the pure climbers. It will offer a premium opportunity for the likes of Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana to take some time back. Conversely Chris Froome may well see an opportunity to seize total control of the race. And where will Tejay Van Garderen shake out in the end. This will be a pivotal day in his quest for a Tour podium. A jour sans or day without, on Stage 12 could ruin that plan.

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Stage 13 on Friday should bring with it some respite as the race rolls out of the high mountains of the Pyrenees. The transitionary stage over 198.5km from Muret to Rodez will offer a stage win opportunity for the sprinters who have the legs left to get themselves over the three categorized climbs mid stage. With the Alps on the horizon this is one of the few remaining chances left for glory for the fast men before the Champs-Élysées.

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The stage on Saturday looks eerily familiar to the early stages ending on the Mur de Huy and the Mur de Bretagne. The 178.5km route from Rodez to Mende finishes on the Côte de la Croix Neuve. The climb of 3 kilometres at over 10% serves up the perfect launch pad for riders like Rodriguez, Valverde, Van Avermaet, and even Nibali if his form has returned by this point in the race. The GC contenders, as evidenced in week one, will certainly be present and accounted for as well. A stage win is up for grabs but there should be little impact on the GC.

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Thomas Voeckler, Team Europcar, Tour de France 2015 teams presentation
Thomas Voeckler, Team Europcar, Tour de France 2015 teams presentation Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Rounding out week two, Sunday’s stage from Mende to Valence should be anything but a casual roll through the scenic Rhone Valley. This stage sets up well for a bunch sprint before arriving in Paris a week later. A few climbs are smattered about on a stage that starts 731m above sea level, reaches a high point of 1,223m with 113km to go then descends for the majority of the day. If a break can stay away across the top of the category 2 climb of Col de l’Escrinet (787 m 7.9 kilometre-long climb at 5.8%) the backside descent and largely flat 56km run in to the finish could potentially spoil the day for the sprinters. I would expect to see a rider like Thomas Voeckler showing his contorted face and tongue in a break.

A rest day, the Alps and of course Paris will be in sight for the riders that remain following what is sure to be a tough and exciting second week of racing.

BMC Racing Team, Tour de France 2015 Stage 9 TTT

BMC Racing wins Tour de France 2015 Stage 9 TTT

Cover: BMC Racing Team, Tour de France 2015 Stage 9 TTT
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


BMC Racing Team won the 28km stage 9 team time trial from Vannes to Plumelec by 1 second over Team Sky and 4 seconds faster than Movistar.

We definitely had to rail the corners and make sure we stayed together outside of them. On the climbs, we had the stronger guys pulling longer. And we had to finish with five guys. Rohan Dennis was really the key element to the team. He’s got a motor.”
Tejay Van Garderen, BMC Racing Team

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Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 9 TTT Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

There was an incredible crowd today. It was a brilliant atmosphere but it hurt to lose by under a second. It’s a shame on that last climb we were sort of spread out. But we’ve taken time on most of our big rivals.

That was a brutal team time trial. I can tell you that after five kilometres it was absolute agony. The Tour’s a long way from over. We’ve got another two weeks. The mountains are coming up now but I think we’ve shown we’re more than ready to have a good crack at it.”
Chris Froome, Team Sky

The result leaves the yellow jersey on Chris Froome’s shoulders as the race heads into the first rest day on Monday with Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing) now sitting in 2nd place in the general classification and Greg Van Avermaet  (BMC Racing Team) in third. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) fell to 4th place after starting the day 2nd in the overall.

Tinkoff-Saxo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 9 TTT
Tinkoff-Saxo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 9 TTT Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

For me, today’s result was not as important, as it was for Alberto but I had hoped that we would have done a bit better. We lost 28 seconds, which is significant but not very bad. We have to look forward, tomorrow is the rest day and then we will start to focus on what we can do in the next part of Tour de France. For me the tempo was okay, we started out at full speed and kept the intensity high to the finish. For sure, this result is not a step in the right direction for the team’s and Alberto’s chances but the Tour is still long and we are all here to fight for the yellow jersey.

I’m happy for the rest day, but the rest day always feels very short. So we will use the time to recover and to plan how we can regain time. Overall I’m happy with the first nine days, it has been a very interesting Tour de France so far. I would have been happy for a stage win, but there are more chances later on in the race.”
Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo

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Movistar Team, Tour de France 2015 Stage 9 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Tour de France 2015 Stage 9 results

  1. BMC Racing Team 32:15
  2. Team Sky + :01
  3. Movistar + :04
  4. Tinkoff-Saxo + :28
  5. Astana Pro Team + :35
  6. IAM Cycling + :38
  7. Etixx – QuickStep + :45
  8. Lampre-Merica + :48
  9. LottoNL – Jumbo + 1:14
  10. AG2R La Mondiale + 1:24
  11. Trek Factory Racing + 1:25
  12. Cannondale – Garmin +1:29
  13. Bora – Argon 18 +1:31
  14. FDJ +1:33
  15. Lotto Soudal + 1:36
  16. Giant-Alpecin + 1:37
  17. Team Europcar + 1:42
  18. Bretagne-Séché Environnement + 1:46
  19. Team Katusha +1:53
  20. MTN Qhubeka + 1:56
  21. Cofidis Solutions Credits +2:32
  22. Orica GreenEDGE + 4:58
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FDJ, Tour de France 2015 Stage 9 TTT Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Tour de France 2015 General Classification Top 10 after Stage 9

  1. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    TEAM SKY 31h 34′ 12″
  2. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) #61
    BMC RACING TEAM 31h 34′ 24″ +:12
  3. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) #68
    BMC RACING TEAM 31h 34′ 39″ + :27
  4. Peter  Sagan (SVK) #47
    TINKOFF-SAXO 31h 34′ 50″ + :38
  5. Alberto Contador (ESP) #41
    TINKOFF-SAXO 31h 35 ’15” + 1:03
  6. Rigoberto Uran (COL) #118
    ETIXX-QUICK STEP 31h 35′ 30″+ 1:08
  7. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) #59
    MOVISTAR TEAM 31h 36′ 02″ + 1:50
  8. Geraint Thomas (GBR) #39
    TEAM SKY 31h 36 ’04’ ‘ + 1:52
  9. Nairo Quintana (COL) #51
    MOVISTAR TEAM 31h 36 ’11” + 1:59
  10. Zdenek Stybar (CZE) #116
    ETIXX-QUICK STEP 31h 36 ’11’ ‘ + 1:59
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Etixx-QuickStep, Tour de France 2015 Stage 9 TTT Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Tour de France 2015 Jerseys after Stage 9

Yellow (Overall leader): Chris Froome, Team Sky
Green (Points):Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo
Polka-dot (KOM): Daniel Teklehaimanot, MTN Qhubeka
White (Best Young Rider): Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo
– Worn by Nairo Quintana, Movistar

Team Giant-Alpecin, Tour de France 2015 Steg 9 TTT
Team Giant-Alpecin, Tour de France 2015 Steg 9 TTT Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Stage 9
Team Time Trial
Date: 12 July, 2015
Start:  Vannes
Finish: Plumelec
Distance: 28 km


Tour de France 2015 Stage 9 route

Tour de France 2015 Stage 9 route map

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 9 profile

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 9 climbs

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 9 last km

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Maps courtesy of Le Tour de France / © A.S.O.

Alexis Vuillermoz, AG2R La Mondiale, Tour dee France 2015 Stage 8

Alexis Vuillermoz solos to Tour de France 2015 Stage 8 victory

Cover: Alexis Vuillermoz, AG2R La Mondiale, Tour de France 2015 Stage 8
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


Alexis Vuillermoz, AG2R La Mondiale, soloed to a stage 8 victory at Mûr-de-Bretagne. Dan Martin, Cannodale-Garmin, was second and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was third.

No change to the top of the overall classification with Chris Froome (Team Sky) remaining in the yellow jersey.

It is just incredible, I did not think it could be possible. I just wanted to do my best today. I thought there would be better riders than me today. I wanted to suprise everyone and finally it happened. It was all or nothing for me today.

The whole AG2R LA MONDIALE team made a big effort to get Jean-Christophe, Romain and I in a good position at the beginning of the climb. I thought of attacking in the harder part of the Mur, I knew the end would be flat. When Froome came back I followed him in order to rest. I attacked again but I did not think Il would be the winner.

I have a lot of thoughts about my dad. He passed away three years ago, I hope he is proud of me and saw me today. I also want to thank Daniel Germond who allowed me to join the AG2R LA MONDIALE team, Jean Baptiste Quiclet and Yves Clolus who is my trainer since 2005. If I am here today It isbecause of them.”
Alexis Vuillermoz, AG2R La Mondiale

Tour de France 2015 Stage 8 Top 10

  1. Alexis Vuillermoz (FRA) #19
    AG2R LA MONDIALE 04h 20’ 55”
  2. Daniel Martin (IRL) #167
    TEAM GARMIN-CANNONDALE 04h 21’ 00” + :05
  3. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) #59
    MOVISTAR TEAM 04h 21’ 05” + :10
  4. Peter Sagan (SVK) #47
    TINKOFF-SAXO 04h 21’ 05” + :10
  5. Tony Gallopin (FRA) #71
    LOTTO-SOUDAL 04h 21’ 05” + :10
  6. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) #68
    BMC RACING TEAM 04h 21’ 05” + :10
  7. Adam Yates (GBR) #108
    ORICA GREENEDGE 04h 21’ 05” + :10
  8. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    TEAM SKY 04h 21’ 05” + :10
  9. Bauke Mollema (NED) #141
    TREK FACTORY RACING 04h 21’ 05” + :10
  10. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) #61
    BMC RACING TEAM 04h 21’ 05” + :10

Tour de France 2015 General Classification Top 10 after Stage 8

  1. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    TEAM SKY 31h 01’ 56”
  2. Peter Sagan (SVK) #47
    TINKOFF-SAXO 31h 02’ 07′ + :11
  3. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) #61
    BMC RACING TEAM 31h 02’ 9” + :13
  4. Tony Gallopin (FRA) #71
    LOTTO-SOUDAL 31h 02’ 22” + :26
  5. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) #68
    BMC RACING TEAM 31h 02’ 24” +:28
  6. Rigoberto Uran (COL) #118
    ETIXX-QUICK STEP 31h 02’ 30” + :34
  7. Alberto Contador (ESP)#41
    TINKOFF-SAXO 31h 02’ 32” + :36
  8. Warren Barguil (FRA) #82
    TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN 31h 03’ 03” + 1:07
  9. Zdenek Stybar (CZE) #116
    ETIXX-QUICK STEP 31h 03’ 11” + 1:15
  10. Bauke Mollema (NED) #141
    TREK FACTORY RACING 31h 03’ 28” + 1:32

This was a tough finish, tougher than I had hoped. I could hang on at the front of the bunch and take a nice fifth place, but I didn’t have energy left to attack. The team made sure I started the climb in a good position. The kilometres before the Mûr de Bretagne shouldn’t be underestimated either. At a high pace the peloton headed towards the climb and the bunch got reduced considerably.

The first kilometre of the climb was the steepest. I wanted to stay at the front and take my chance in the last kilometre if I could. It was a strong acceleration of Alexis, something that I couldn’t do. The past days I was happy with the two team victories, now I’m less happy. I had marked this stage, but after the rest day on Monday there are other stages that suit me as well and then I’ll try to join a breakaway.”
Tony Gallopin, Lotto Soudal

Tour de France 2015 Jerseys after Stage 8

Yellow (Overall leader): Chris Froome, Team Sky
Green (Points):Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo
Polka-dot (KOM): Daniel Teklehaimanot, MTN Qhubeka
White (Best Young Rider): Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo
– Worn by Warren Barguil, Team Giant-Alpecin

It is good to keep the jersey and to go into the team time trial with it still in our team. I can’t believe the support I am getting, it is just more and more everyday and I am very thankful. It still feels like I am in a dream.”
Daniel Teklehaimanot, MTN-Qhubeka


Stage 8
Date: 11 July, 2015
Start:  Rennes
Finish: Mûr-de-Bretagne
Distance: 179 km


Tour de France 2015 Stage 8 route

Tour de France 2015 Stage 8 route map

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 8 profile

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 8 last km

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Maps courtesy of Le Tour de France / © A.S.O.

Tony Martin, Etixx-QuickStep, Tour de France 2015 Stage 6

Tony Martin’s surgery completed successfully

Cover: Tony Martin, Etixx-QuickStep, Tour de France 2015
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


Tony Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step), who fractured his left collarbone in a stage 6 crash, underwent surgery early this morning in Hamburg and the team reports the surgery went well.

At the time of the crash, Martin was in the overall lead at the Tour de France and was forced to abandon the race.

I would like to thank all the people involved in my transportation to the hospital and the medical staff in Hamburg” Martin says. “They were all amazing and they allowed me to undergo surgery in such a short time after the crash. In these situations time is an important factor and we couldn’t have done better. I wish good luck to my team and to all the riders busy at the Tour.

I will follow the race on TV today from the hospital. It will be strange but that’s life and cycling. I have to try to see the glass half full and keep the good memories. I had a great first part of the Tour with a great team around me. I won a stage and wore the yellow jersey for the first time in my career. A dream came true during this Tour and now I’m already looking forward to coming back one day again and living the great emotions of this race.”
Tony Martin

Tony Martin, Etixx-QuickStep, Tour de France 2015 Stage 6

Tony Martin out of Tour de France with shattered collarbone

Cover: Tony Martin, Etixx-QuickStep, Tour de France 2015 Stage 6
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


Tony Martin’s (Etixx – Quick-Step) Tour de France 2015 is over following a crash that occurred in the last kilometer of stage 6 in Le Havre.

Tony Martin, Etixx-QuickStep, Tour de France 2015 Stage 6
Tony Martin, Etixx-QuickStep, Tour de France 2015 Stage 6 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Martin managed to cross the finish line with assistance from teammates, then accepted the yellow jersey at the podium presentation before being taken to the hospital.

Team doctor Helge Riepenhof stated:

Unfortunately, the collarbone is a lateral fracture. The collarbone is in lots of pieces, so it was a major impact. One of the pieces came through the skin, which means it’s an open fracture. Therefore, even if it was Tony’s wish to start tomorrow, I have to say he is not allowed to. Riders always want to race. Tony especially.

He’s shown in the last years that even with broken bones that he will race if possible. But this is a medical situation where this is impossible. He needs surgery straight away, and that is why we are going to the hospital now. We will fix the collarbone there. He is already on antibiotics. It’s a serious injury, and that is why we can’t risk anything and why he cannot be at the start tomorrow.”

According to Etixx – Quick-Step, Martin was flown to a hospital in Hamburg to immediately undergo surgery.

Martin released the following statement through the team:

I can’t remember exactly what happened. The team put me in a really good position. On the last kilometer no one had the energy left to continue the speed. Everything slowed down, everyone was waiting. Then suddenly I hit the rear wheel of the rider in front of me. I thought I almost could stay upright, but then I went into a rider of Giant-Alpecin and I had no balance anymore.

I crashed at relatively low speed, with my full weight on the left shoulder. I felt directly that something was broken. We went to make an X-Ray directly after the finish because I was thinking ‘OK, maybe I am wrong. Maybe I can start tomorrow.’ But now it is confirmed my clavicle is broken.

This has been like a movie, an emotional roller coaster at this Tour. Now I am really sad. The team gave everything to protect the jersey today. We had again the chance to do it and try to keep it a few more days. It’s really been a big success up to this point. With Stybar it was such a good moment. It’s so strange to be so sad and happy together. I told Stybar to not be sad for me. I told him to enjoy his day, as he deserves it. I am sure the team will keep the morale high.

That’s the Tour de France. I really wish I could continue, to even just start tomorrow, even if it is broken. I wish I could honor the jersey and show it one last time with a ceremony at the start. I could enjoy it a little more than I have the last days and then stop. But it is now clear I need to go to the hospital for surgery immediately, and my race is over. It’s hard to accept. I’d like to keep fighting. But the doctor has the last word, and when he says there is no way to continue I must accept this.”
Tony Martin

Mark Cavendish, Etixx-QuickStep, Tour de France 2015 Stage 7

Cavendish picks up his first win at Tour de France 2015 Stage 7

Cover: Mark Cavendish, Etixx-QuickStep, Tour de France 2015 Stage 7
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Todd Hofert


Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) picked up his first win of the 2015 Tour de France in a bunch sprint finish in Fougères beating André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff Saxo) at the line.

The last two sprints the team did well. I’ve just been too anxious and gone too early. The thing about Le Tour, in another race you maybe wait. In Le Tour you don’t want to wait. In another race you maybe got one or two guys coming around you. In Le Tour you have 10 guys coming around you, there are so many strong sprinters and teams here. If you hesitate, you lose the stage. I’ve just been a bit over anxious the last two times and today was about not being impatient.

I almost left it too long this time, I waited so long. I saw Kristoff had two leadout men left. I knew they’d keep the pace high. It was too long for anybody with one more leadout man from the finish. Normally Kristoff goes early anyway, so I anticipated that he’d go soon enough and I could come off his wheel. But he waited and waited. Greipel actually got the jump. I was perfect on Greipel, but Guarnieri came backwards after leading out and I had to avoid him. I almost panicked at how close we were to the line. If Andre had closed off the barrier I may not have won. Andre sprinted straight. He’s a gentleman.

I was able to come through and pass him on the right. I had the same power in my legs as I had the other days that ended in sprints. It’s just, if you wait and launch later, you’re going to go with more immediate power than you would with 250 or 300 meters to go like I did the other times. So, after being a little more patient, I’m super happy with my victory today, which is the 26th of my career. Every one of the 26 wins is special. At Le Tour de France even one victory makes a rider’s whole career. So, to get one every year except 2014 when I crashed out of Le Tour in the first stage is a big, big thing.

Obviously it’s been the longest run for me without a win at the Tour de France, I think two years. So to get back to winning ways is certainly nice. Today my family is here, my wife Peta and my daughter Delilah. So it was super special to do it in front of them. I’d like to thank my teammates for doing great work to support me for this win today.”
Mark Cavendish

Chris Froome (Team Sky), who had moved into the overall race lead with Tony Martin’s withdrawal from the race, chose not to ride in yellow for today’s stage out of respect for Martin. At the end of the stage, Froome donned the yellow on the podium and now sits 11 seconds in front of Sagan in the overall race and 13 seconds ahead of Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing Team).

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Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 7 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Stage 7 – Livarot / Fougères – 190.5km

This Tour, wrought with disappointment and what would seem to be a black cloud hanging over those who succeed in accomplishing what every bike rider around the globe aspires to, the yellow jersey, would press on today without a rightful owner of the Maillot Jaune.

Like Fabian Cancellara on Stage 3, Tony Martin would suffer a crash and what would later be disclosed to be a grisly injury. The respect for the race and the power of the Yellow Jersey would propel him across the finish as it had done for Cancellara three days prior. Aided by his teammates, his stoicism did not reveal the extent of what he was suffering. In hind sight that stoicism may well have been mistaken for the look of a man suffering symptoms of shock.

Martin was whisked off to the hospital for evaluation after participating in the podiums, his heart and mind set on persevering through the injury. The post race reports, however, were gruesome telling of a collarbone that was shattered and sticking out of the skin. His desire to start Stage 7 a testament to the will and resolve of those who are lucky enough to earn the privilege to ride in this great race. Instead, he would be dispatched to Hamburg for immediate surgery, his Tour highlighted by the lowest lows and the highest highs now over.

Greg Henderson would join Martin as the other non-starter of page 7 reports saying he broke a rib in half in the infamous Stage 3 melee.

Chris Froome, the Tour’s second place rider behind Tony Martin stated he would refuse the Yellow Jersey without earning the right to wear it on the road. The peloton would ride without a leader today.

What seemed a comfortable lead for Andre Greipel in the points classification, became a nose to nose affair with Sagan finishing second yet again the day before. Just three points separated them at the start with John Degenkolb a mere 32 points in arrears in third.

The mountain points classification saw a new face at the start in Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) ERI enjoying his first day in what he considers the most coveted jersey of the race.

The best young rider jersey would, of course, remain in possession of one Mr. Peter Sagan.

The stage today would feature a KOM with the Côte de Canapville, a 1.9 kilometre-long climb at 4.7% ranked category 4, after just 12.5km on the road. The lone intermediate sprint would be in the town of Argentan 163km into the stage.

Once again a break would go out at the drop of the flag. A break of five would form. The five riders were Kristjian Durasek (Lampre-Merida) CRO, Luis Angel Maté (Cofidis) ESP, Anthony Delaplace and Brice Feillu (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) both French and of course Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN) ERI looking to defend his polka dot prize. He would succeed. The break would be allowed a maximum advantage of 3:50.

The intermediate sprint was won by Luis Angel Maté (Cofidis) ESP with the top five being rounded out by his break mates. Giant-Alpecin would provide their man John Degenkolb a proper lead out bringing him in for the sixth place points ahead of Peter Sagan, Andre Greipel and Mark Cavendish.

The break would march on as the peloton allowed them a manageable gap. With 19km to go and the gap down to 25 seconds, Anthony Delaplace would make a half-hearted attempt to press on solo and Teklehaimanot would call it a day and head back to the pack.

At 15km and the gap at 13 seconds, Luis Angel Maté and Brice Feillu would make a last-ditch effort to survive while Anthony Delaplace and Kristjian Durasek would resign to their place back in the main field. The two remaining riders would be swept up only a few km further up the road. Gruppo compacto, the stage was set for a sprint finish.

A perfect lead out by Lotto Soudal would find Andre Greipel set up nicely for the sprint. Mark Cavendish, however, would come with a big turn of speed to beat him by half a bike length. Greipel would eek out a second place by a tire width ahead of Peter Sagan. John Degenkolb and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) NOR would round out the top five.

Chris Froome would claim the vacated Yellow Jersey. Greipel would retain the green yet again however his days may be numbered with a finish on a cat 3 climb slated for Stage 8 tomorrow. Peter Sagan stays in White and with his consistent finishes and subsequent time bonuses he now finds himself in second overall just 11 seconds behind Chris Froome. Can Sagan claim yellow tomorrow? Does Tinkoff want that responsibility at this stage?

Stage 8 on the eve of the team time trial takes the riders over 181.5km from Rennes / Mûr-de-Bretagne and a finish for the puncheurs.

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Mark Cavendish, Tour de France 2015 Stage 7 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

There’s no hiding the fact that losing Tony was going to be a big loss to the team. But we said yesterday that we’d win for him today. To go out and win to get the yellow jersey like he did, it’s really sad. He’s an incredible part of this team, on and off the bike. It’s almost like we started the race with 12 guys and now we’ve got eight left. That’s what losing Tony is like.

I’m so glad his surgery has gone well. We would have loved for him to be here today, and to celebrate with us tonight. We’re going to definitely dedicate this win to him at the celebration and I can’t wait to speak to him later. I think the way we rallied together, and around Tony, shows the spirit of Etixx – Quick-Step. I’ve grown with this team. I’m really happy. You’ve seen the ambience we’ve got here at Etixx – Quick-Step. We’re like a family, we’re always there for each other, and we share the same goals.

Everyone knows I’m a fan of racing my bike. I love it. It’s everything to me. To be with a team of like-minded people, it’s really nice to come away and do it with people who share the same feeling. Now we look to the next days. We’ve got a really good momentum going with nine strong guys who proved this week that we can win in all kinds of situations. We’ll keep going for good results.”
Mark Cavendish


Stage 7
Date: 10 July, 2015
Start:  Livarot
Finish: Fougères
Distance: 190 km

Tour de France 2015 Stage 7 Top 10

  1. Mark Cavendish (GBR) #112
    Etixx-QuickStep 04h 27 ’25′”
  2. André Greipel (GER)#75
    LOTTO-SOUDAL same time
  3. Peter Sagan (SVK) #47
    TINKOFF-SAXO same time
  4. John Degenkolb (GER) #81
    TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN same time
  5. Alexander Kristoff (NOR) #96
    TEAM KATUSHA same time
  6. Arnaud Demare (FRA) #24
    FDJ same time
  7. Tyler Farrar (USA) #213
    MTN-Qhubeka same time
  8. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg #215
    MTN-Qhubeka same time
  9. Davide Cimolai (ITA) #153
    LAMPRE – MERIDA same time
  10. Sam Bennett (IRL)  #193
    BORA-ARGON 18 same time

Tour de France 2015 General Classification Top 10 after Stage 7

  1. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    TEAM SKY 26h 40 ’51”
  2. Peter Sagan (SVK) 47
    TINKOFF-SAX 26h 41 ’02” + :11
  3. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) #61
    BMC RACING TEAM 26h 41 ’04″+ :13
  4. Tony Galllopin (FRA) #71
    LOTTO-SOUDAL 26h 41 ’17” + :26
  5. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) #68
    BMC RACING TEAM 26h 41 ’19” + :28
  6. Rigoberto Uran (COL) #118
    QUICK STEP-Etixx 26h 41 ’25” + :34
  7. Alberto Contador (ESP) #41
    TINKOFF-SAX 26h 41 ’27” + :36
  8. Zdenek Stybar #116
    QUICK STEP-Etixx 26h 41 ’43” + :52
  9. Geraint Thomas (GBR) #39
    TEAM SKY 26h 41 ’54” + 1:03
  10. Warren Barguil (FRA) #82
    TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN 26h 41 ’58” + 1:07

Tour de France 2015 Jerseys after Stage 5

Yellow (Overall leader): Chris Froome, Team Sky
Green (Points): André Greipel, Lotto Soudal
Polka-dot (KOM): Daniel Teklehaimanot, MTN Qhubeka
White (Best Young Rider): Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo


Tour de France 2015 Stage 7 route

Tour de France 2015 Stage 7 route map

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 7 profile

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 7 last km

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Maps courtesy of Le Tour de France / © A.S.O.