Greg Hull, Tour de France 2015

Behind the scenes at the Tour de France

Cover photo: Greg Hull shooting at Tour de France 2015
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


No matter which bike race we are covering, rarely a day goes by without people telling us how they wished they could do what we do. It’s true, covering pro cycling is pretty cool.

But, it’s also a lot of work. We multitask and function on little sleep to get it done – and, we honestly rarely accomplish everything we want to in a day before it’s time to move on to the next town. So, I thought I’d share what it’s like with life on the road covering the Tour de France. I chose stage 3 which began in Antwerp and ended on the Mur de Huy to provide a glimpse into our day.

7:00 am

First thing each morning, after attempting to remember what town we are in, is to grab the laptop, check social media, post the day’s route map, and have a look again at the technical race guide to plan the day.

Each race provides a technical race guide for the teams, support staff, and media that contains route information, time schedules, maps, parking locations, team hotels and host city information. It is frequently referred to as the “race bible.”

A day at the Tour de France
A day at the Tour de France
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

8:00 am

Following a quick shower and jamming everything back in the bags, it’s back to editing photos from the day before. We each typically shoot several hundred to a thousand images in a day, so many photos will remain unedited until after the race.

A day at the Tour de France
A day at the Tour de France
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

11:00 am

At this stop, we stayed in the same hotel as Movistar. Heading down to check out, we step off the elevator into a lobby filled with fans waiting in hopes of getting a photo or autograph from Quintana or Valverde.

Not disappointing, Valverde appears just after us and stops for photos with fans.

A day at the Tour de France
A day at the Tour de France
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

We head out the door and make our way behind the Movistar guys to the stage start, which is about a 10-minute walk from the hotel through the crowds.

Huy, Belgium
From the window of the car – Huy, Belgium Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

We also frequently hear, “You get to see so many awesome places.” Yes, sort of. We see a lot of hotel rooms, whatever is along the side of the road as we head from start to finish each day and the scenery at the starts and finishes.

Unfortunately, there is rarely – make that never – anytime for sightseeing or exploring the beautiful host cities we find ourselves in each day. Some of the sights are stunning, such as the stage 3 start location in the center of Antwerpen/Antwerp/Anvers (it’s Antwerpen in Dutch-Flemish, Antwerp in English, Anvers in French) and at the finish in Huy.

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

Shooting the start is the most relaxed part of each day. Riders are casual as they sign in, which at the Tour de France, is actually a push of a button by each rider creating an electronic signature.

Tommy Voeckler, Tour de France 2015
Tour de France 2015 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Following sign in, riders stop by the PowerBar tent for some snacks, chat with one another, and sign autographs for fans. On this morning, Tommy Voeckler also stopped by the Vittel water station and used some water from the melted ice to wash his tires.

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

As sign-in grows to a close, we head to the start line. Each day actually has two starts – an unofficial start, where we were near the sign-in and an official start after a parade route/neutral zone. The riders line up, and after they depart, they ride through the neutral zone and then stop again for another ceremony and the official start.

Tour de France 2015 Stage 3 start
Tour de France 2015 Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

As soon as the riders set off, we grab a takeout lunch and head for the car. Next stop, Huy.

Meanwhile back in Boulder….

 

A 1:00 pm start in Belgium means a 5:00 am start in Colorado when Todd Hofert rolls out of bed, turns on the race and begins to write. The one disadvantage of covering a race in person is that you actually see very little of it. We have the app on our phones and in Europe, the race is streamed on the Tour website with the ability to switch between moto feeds, which is really cool.

However, in reality, the majority of our day is spent navigating the off-course itinerary and editing a few photos to put up during the race. Some days we intersect with the actual race course for some mid-stage coverage, but not on this stage as we anticipated (correctly) that the Mur de Huy would be quite crowded.

Which brings us back to Todd, who writes the stage recap as it happens throughout the race, capturing the events as they occur, which on stage 3, included some serious crashes.

3:20 pm

Like Hansel and Gretel and their breadcrumbs, the race leaves a trail of signs for us to follow on an alternate route from the race to guide us from the start city to the finish line. In many locations, we actually drive the last part of the race route, which is quite helpful in understanding the last kilometers of the race course.

On the way through Huy a couple of guys stopped us and asked for a ride, so they piled in the back and we headed up the hill.

Press parking and the press center is normally very close to the finish line at races. We typically stop by the press center to grab water, head out to scout our locations to shoot the finish, then wait.

5:28 pm

The riders hit the finish line, with today’s winner being Team Katusha’s Joaquim “Purito” Rodriguez. Chris Froome (Team Sky) was second and Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R La Mondiale) was third.

Fabian Cancellara, Trek Factory Racing, Tour de France 2015 Stage 3
Fabian Cancellara, Trek Factory Racing, Tour de France 2015 Stage 3
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), who started the day in yellow, crashed mid-way through the stage and was forced to abandon the Tour. Chris Froome (Team Sky) moved into the overall race lead.

Races are carefully choreographed presentations with thousands of people handling the countless tasks that occur each day in multiple locations. Podium at the Tour de France is managed down to the last detail, with a “director” changing the stage background with the push of a button as each jersey is presented and cueing timing with signs.

A day covering the Tour de France
A day covering the Tour de France
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

After shooting podium, we head back into the press center, which at the Tour is massive. Todd’s article is usually in my inbox when I sit down and power up my computer and TravelWifi, our personal wifi. Travel Wifi is a sponsor and is what’s keeping us connected throughout the entire Tour no matter where we happen to be – in our hotel, in our car, in the press center, or out shooting on course.

Results go up, the recap article gets added, we each quickly edit & add the finish line and podium photos. Rider comments are added as they are obtained.

A day covering the Tour de France
A day covering the Tour de France – press tent
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

7:00 pm

Time to head out for our hotel  – always a slow process as the thousands of cars leave the parking areas and head through the small European streets.

A day covering the Tour de France
A day covering the Tour de France
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Our stage 3 hotel was in Namur, about 40 km away. Planning and scheduling hotels for the entire Tour took a little over three days of work and has to be done after host cities are announced but before the actual race route is published, which takes a bit of guesswork and a lot of searching.

We arrive and the guys we gave a ride up the hill were sitting in our hotel lobby. Quelle coïncidence!

9:00 pm

Time for wine, dinner and editing photos. We head to the bar, grab a table near a power outlet, and begin to work again.

A day covering the Tour de France
A day covering the Tour de France
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

11:00 pm – 1:00 am

Back upstairs for more work. Stage 4 is the cobble stage, so we make our plans on which sectors to cover then decide to call it a day at 1:00 am.

A day covering the Tour de France
A day covering the Tour de France
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

One day of 21 at the Tour de France.

A day covering the Tour de France
A day covering the Tour de France – Kim Hull shooting near finish line
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Chris Froome wins 2015 Tour de France; André Greipel takes Stage 21

Cover: Tour de France 2015 Stage 21
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) won the Champs-Élysées bunch sprint at the final finish of the Tour de France 2015, beating Bryan Coquard (Team Europcar) and Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) at the line.

Movistar rounded out the final podium with Nairo Quintana (COL) coming in second and Alejandro Valverde (ESP) in third.

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Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde, Tour de France 2015 Stage 21 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Chris Froome (Team Sky) arrived at the finish after the ceremonial ride to Paris to claim his final 2015 Tour de France Maillot Jaune.

Of course, I want to start off by thanking my team-mates. Without you guys I would not be standing up here. Richie, Wout, Ian, G, Pete, Luke, Nico and Leo. My utmost respect and gratitude. This is your yellow jersey as much as it is mine.

Thank you to all the support staff of Team Sky. Your endless dedication and commitment is what has got us through the tough moments of this year’s Tour de France.

The maillot jaune is special, very special. I understand its history, good and bad. I will always respect it. Never dishonour it, and I will always be proud to have won it. Thank you very much.”
Chris Froome, Team Sky

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) won the points category, taking his 4th green jersey in a row.

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Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 21 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

I am very happy because this year was a very hard fight from the first stages. My role in the team was different from previous years. I’m very happy that I haven’t crashed and that I can make it here in the green jersey – it’s a special feeling for me. It has been a different Tour for me but also a very big experience to ride with Alberto Contador, he is a big champion and I’ve also had a lot of fun in this year’s Tour on the road and together with my teammates.

For sure it was a very big fight from the start and I knew that it wasn’t easy. There was less pressure on me to create individual results but I also had a different role. But the pressure overall has been high, we have been very concentrated but it has been a big experience for me. I’ve tried to win stages, but it was not easy. I think I can be satisfied, I have been very aggressive and I have the green jersey.”
Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo

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Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 21 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Froome also won the King of the Mountains category.

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Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 21 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Quintana topped the Best Young Rider category, picking up the white jersey for the race.

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Nairo Quintana, Movistar Team, Tour de France 2015 Stage 21 Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Movistar took overall top team honors.

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Movistar Team, Tour de France 2015 Stage 21 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Tour de France 2015 Stage 21 Top 10

  1. André Greipel (GER) #75
    LOTTO-SOUDAL 02h 49′ 41″
  2. Bryan Coquard (FRA) #122
    TEAM EUROPCAR  same time
  3. Alexander Kristoff (NOR) #96
    TEAM KATUSHA same time
  4. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) #211
    MTN-Qhubeka same time
  5. Arnaud Demare (FRA) #24
    FDJ same time
  6. Mark Cavendish (GBR) #112
    QUICK STEP-Etixx same time
  7. Peter Sagan (SVK) #47
    TINKOFF-SAXO same time
  8. John Degenkolb (GER) #81
    TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN same time
  9. Michael Matthews (AUS) #105
    ORICA GREENEDGE same time
  10. Ramunas Navardauskas (LTU) #168
    TEAM GARMIN-CANNONDALE same time
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Tour de France 2015 Stage 21 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Tour de France 2015 General Classification Final Top 10

  1. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    TEAM SKY 84h 46′ 14″
  2. Nairo Quintana (COL) #51
    MOVISTAR TEAM 84h 47′ 26″ +1:12
  3. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) #59
    MOVISTAR TEAM 84h 51′ 39″ + 5:25
  4. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) #1
    ASTANA PRO TEAM 84h 54′ 50” + 8:36
  5. Alberto Contador (ESP) #41
    TINKOFF-SAXO 84h 56′ 02” + 9:48
  6. Robert Gesink (NED) #131
    TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO 84h 57′ 01” + 10:47
  7. Bauke Moellema (NED) #141
    TREK FACTORY RACING 85h 01′ 28″ +15:14
  8. Mathias Frank  (SUI) #181
    IAM CYCLING 85h 01′ 53″+ 15:39
  9. Romain Bardet (FRA) #82
    AG2R La Mondiale 85h 02′ 14″ + 16:00
  10. Pierre Rolland (FRA) #121
    Team Europcar 85h 03′ 44″ + 17:30

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 21 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Stage 21
Date: 26 July, 2015
Start: Sèvres
Finish: Grand Paris Seine Ouest / Paris Champs-Élysées
Distance: 107 km


Tour de France 2015 Stage 21 route

Tour de France 2015 Stage 21 route map

Tour-de-France-2015-Stage-21-route-map
Tour de France 2015 Stage 21 route map

Tour de France 2015 Stage 21 profile

Tour-de-France-2015-Stage-21-profile
Tour de France 2015 Stage 21 profile

Tour de France 2015 Stage 21 last km

Tour-de-France-2015-Stage-21-last-km

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

Tour de France 2015 20 Alpe d'Huez

Tour de France 2015 Stage 20: Thibaut Pinot conquers Alpe d’Huez; Froome heads to Paris in yellow

Cover: Tour de France 2015 Stage20, Alpe d’Huez
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Todd Hofert


Alpe d’Huez has hosted 28 previous stage finishes in the Tour de France, more than any other summit climb. Crowds lining the twenty-one switchbacks have been estimated to be over a million in years past. Many have been camping there for several days and their anticipation has been growing by the minute. Strava Labs has posted a crowd sourced photo explorer dotting this year’s festivities along the slopes. As such, you can rest assured there will be a frenzy on the slopes of the Alpe d’Huez long before the race caravan. It will reach a fevered pitch when the riders arrive.
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The stage today again crossed the Col de la Croix de Fer as it did the day before. The Croix de Fer, a late addition to Stage 20, replaced the original plan to cross the Col du Galibier, those plans scrapped due to the danger of falling rock. Stage 20 approached the Croix de Fer from the southeast rather than the northwest approach of yesterdays stage. Today’s version of the climb would be longer but not as steep.

Chris Froome, at this stage of the race, must be ready to just get it over with. He again endured rude treatment from a person who spit on him on his way up a climb. Clearly captured on video many on Twitter have been calling for his identity along with a variety of suggestions for retaliation against him. Be aware that viral Internet karma can be a bitch.

The flag dropped at 01:18 PM local time and a group of two, then four formed at 1:20 PM. Alexandre Geniez (FDJ), Ramunas Navardauskas (Cannondale-Garmin), Lars Bak (Lotto-Soudal) and Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) made up the break that stretched out to 7:20 at the base of the Col de la Croix de Fer.

The peloton arrived at the climb to the iron cross and all was tranquillo, but it didn’t last long. Ruben Plaza (Lampre-Merida) took his daily shot at bridging up and getting himself in the break. He brought Andriy Grivko (Astana) with him and not long after a group including Rafel Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo), Winner Anacona (Movistar), Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) and Bartosz Huzarski (Bora) joined them.

Riders continued to jump across the gap to the chase group, it swelled to ten with the addition of Bob Jungels (Trek Factory Racing), Pierre Rolland (Europcar), Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Dylan van Baarle (Cannondale).

AG2R came to the front to assist Sky with the chase looking to secure the Polka-Dot Jersey for Romain Bardet, a feat likely come up short. The tempo set by AG2R brought most of the counter-attacking group back into their fold only Majka, Plaza and Anacona managed to stay clear.

The pace set by Ag2R was relentless. The pressure reeled the Majka group back and reduced the gap to the four leaders to five minutes halfway up the climb. Richie Porte could be seen following the wheels and shoveling calories in preparing for what was sure to be a painful day in the saddle, his assignment, to protect Froome as long as possible.

Jean-Christophe Peraud buried himself for Bardet and fell out the back spent. Astana and Movistar now starting to show their colors at the front. The pace dismantled Saxo as Roman Kreuziger and Mic Rogers could be seen falling away from the pace. Sky suffering the same and just like that Chris Froome was left with only Richie Porte.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) launched the first GC sortie as Richie Porte tried to muster a reaction and was looking around for help that wouldn’t come. Nicolas Roche brought himself back up to his team leader, Geraint Thomas struggling unsuccessfully to do the same. The pains and pressures of protecting the Yellow Jersey were turning people inside out. And if anyone were paying attention to the front of the race, Alexandre Geniez attacked at the front 6km from the top, leaving his break-mates scattering. Stage 20 was already living up to its billing.

Nairo Quintana was the next to go and he shot up the road as Roche again popped out the back. Movistar talked all-in and they were backing it up. Quintana and Valverde joined forces their plan taking form, the Yellow Jersey group reduced to four riders, Nibali and Contador along for the ride. Porte was holding them at ten seconds but at what cost? Contador dropped off the pace and Valverde struggled to hang on to Quintana, his mission to lead Quintana down the descent.

Vincenzo Nibali was next to attack and Froome was forced to follow. Froome shut it down immediately as he would have the day prior had it not been for a mechanical, the message delivered loud and clear. Quintana and Valverde would go over the summit in fifth and sixth place with a gap of ten seconds. Froome would follow and Romain Bardet’s hope for holding the Polka Dot jersey was over. The chase regrouped on the descent as Sky exhaled and returned to the front.

Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Alpe d'Huez
Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Alpe d’Huez Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

With 26km to go, Alexandre Geniez had 1.40 lead over Bak and Edet, 3.10 over Pinot, Rolland, Plaza, Serpa, Hesjedal, Anacona and Navardauskas, and 4 minutes over the yellow jersey group led by five riders from Team Sky. The stage had been set as the riders approached Bourg-d’Oisans, the gap 3:48 at the 13.8km to go KOM banner. Karma would catch up to Nibali as he flatted right before the start of the climb, Astana coming to his aid en masse.

Nairo Quintana went on the attack almost immediately. Richie Porte able to cover it and Froome lifting his tempo in response. Move one covered. Quintana launched attempt number two, Sky covering but Froome struggling behind. Wout Poels sat on Quintana and Porte marshaled the duties to drag Froome back to Quintana once more.

Nairo Quintana, Movistar, Tour de France 2015 Stage 20 Alpe d'Huez
Nairo Quintana, Movistar, Tour de France 2015 Stage 20 Alpe d’Huez Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Ryder Hesjedal now on the attack closing the gap to Alexandre Geniez up ahead dragging Pinot, the teammate of the stage leader along. Nibali was still trying to come back from his misfortune. The Yellow Jersey group was shrinking, with Sky still well represented. Robert Gesink, Mathias Frank, Romain Bardet and Bauke Mollema unable to maintain contact with the Froome group.

Ryder Hesjedal, Cannondale-Garmin, Tour de France 2015 Stage 20 Alpe d'Huez
Ryder Hesjedal, Cannondale-Garmin, Tour de France 2015 Stage 20 Alpe d’Huez Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Alejandro Valverde rode away from the Yellow Jersey group and Sky was content to let him go. Nairo Quintana, as he had done earlier on the Croix de Fer, jumped to get across but again Sky was equal to the task. Another dig would shed Froome and Contador. Valverde accelerated again as Quintana used him as a carrot. The two teammates joined and pried open the gap as Pinot and Alexandre Geniez joined forces at the front of the race, Hesjedal burying himself to get back to them.

Sep Vanmarcke, Lotto NL-Jumbo, Tour de France 2015 2015 Alpe d
Sep Vanmarcke, Lotto NL-Jumbo, Tour de France 2015 2015 Alpe d”Huez Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Quintana’s tempo burned Valverde but teammate Winner Anacona, a member of the early break, was just up the road ready to take over the work for Quintana, the gap to Froome continued to grow. Ryder Hesjedal attacked Thibaut Pinot with 7km to go but Pinot was able to cover it and attack in return. Quintana was charging hard from behind using Anacona to prepare his next assault.

Thibaut Pinot, FDJ, Tour de France 2015 Stage 20 Alpe d'Huez
Thibaut Pinot, FDJ, Tour de France 2015 Stage 20 Alpe d’Huez Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Wout Poels would fade at 5km leaving just Porte to take care of Froome. Nairo Quintana refreshed from following Anacona’s wheel accelerated again opening the gap further, now up to 50 seconds.

Thibaut Pinot, FDJ, Tour de France 2015 Stage 20
Thibaut Pinot, FDJ, Tour de France 2015 Stage 20 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The race started to show shades of the 1989 come-from-behind victory of Greg Lemond as Nairo Quintana continued his assault on Le Alpe d’Huez, Chris Froome mustering all the courage he could find to fend off the Columbian.

Thibaut Pinot, FDJ, Tour de France 2015 Stage 20
Thibaut Pinot, FDJ, Tour de France 2015 Stage 20 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Thibaut Pinot clinging to hope for a stage victory was suffering beyond words. That suffering would pay off and the Frenchman would etch his name in the history of the famed mountain taking the stage ahead of Nairo Quintana.

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Thibaut Pinot, FDJ, Tour de France 2015 Stage 20 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

In the end, Quintana would come up short of both goals of the day, 18 seconds shy of the stage win and 1:12 short of Yellow.

Nairo Quintana, Movistar Team, Tour de France 2015 Stage 20
Nairo Quintana, Movistar Team, Tour de France 2015 Stage 20 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

A bitter lesson for the young rider recognizing the 1:28 lost in Stage 2 after missing the split in the winds of Holland. Froome would ride home in fifth place, plenty of time in hand to clinch the overall victory. Chapeau.

Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 20
Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 20 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The Tour comes to its ceremonial end tomorrow in Paris, this years edition to go down in the annals as one of the great races in history.

Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 20
Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 20 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Tour de France 2015 Stage 20 Top 10

  1. Thibaut Pinot (FRA) #21
    FDJ 03h 1′ 21″
  2. Nairo Quintana (COL) #51
    MOVISTAR TEAM 03h 17′ 39″ + :18
  3. Ryder Hesjedal (CAN) #164
    TEAM GARMIN-CANNONDALE 03h 1′ 02″ + :41
  4. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) #59
    MOVISTAR TEAM 03h 18′ 59″ + 1:38
  5. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    TEAM SKY 03h 18′ 59″ + 1:38
  6. Pierre Rolland (FRA) #121
    TEAM EUROPCAR 03h 19′ 02″ + 1:41
  7. Richie Porte (AUS) #35
    TEAM SKY 03h 19′ 32″ + 2:11
  8. Winner Anacona (COL) #52
    MOVISTAR TEAM 03h 19′ 53″ + 2:32
  9. Wouter Poels (NED) #34
    TEAM SKY 03h 20′ 11″ + 2:50
  10. Ruben Plaza (ESP) #156
    LAMPRE – MERIDA 03h 20′ 11″ + 2:50

Tour de France 2015 General Classification Top 10 after Stage 20

  1. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    TEAM SKY  81h 56 ’33″
  2. Nairo Quintana (COL) #51
    MOVISTAR TEAM 81h 57′ 45″ +1:12
  3. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) #59
    MOVISTAR TEAM 82h 01 ’58″ + 5:25
  4. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) #1
    ASTANA PRO TEAM 82h 05 ‘ 09” + 8:36
  5. Alberto Contador (ESP) #41
    TINKOFF-SAXO 82h 06′ 21” + 9:48
  6. Robert Gesink (NED) #131
    TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO 82h 07′ 20” + 10:47
  7. Bauke Moellema (NED) #141
    TREK FACTORY RACING 82h 11 ’47″ +15:14
  8. Mathias Frank  (SUI) #181
    IAM CYCLING 82h 12′ 12″+ 15:39
  9. Romain Bardet (FRA) #82
    AG2R La Mondiale 82h 12′ 33″ + 16:00
  10. Pierre Rolland (FRA) #121
    Team Europcar 82h 14′ 03″ + 17:30

Tour de France 2015 Jerseys after Stage 20

Yellow (Overall leader): Chris Froome, Team Sky
Green (Points): Peter Sagan, Tinkoff Saxo
Polka-dot (KOM): Chris Froome, Team Sky
Worn by: Romain Bardet, AG2R La Mondiale
White (Best Young Rider): Nairo Quintana, Movistar

There were so many things going through my mind going up that last climb. There were moments where I thought, ‘hold on a second I could be in danger here’. But then always having my team-mates with me and having Wout and Richie there all the way until the end. Especially after the job all the guys had done today.
Chris Froome, Team Sky

We fought all that we could to try and gain the time we had lost on Froome, with an attacking strategy from far, far away from the finish, trying to isolate him at the Croix de Fer, yet we couldn’t open a big gap and we had to give all into the final ascent. Winner Anacona did an amazing job for me, riding strong and steady through most of Alpe d’Huez, and the whole team helped me much from the very start, but it wasn’t to be today.

I leave the race satisfied. We lost the Tour into the first week, but I’ll stay content after all good things we found during this race: I’ve got an excellent team, which always took care and supported me, and we all are happy with this. Alejandro? I’m so, so excited about his podium finish. It’s something he searched for during most of his sporting career, and he got it today. There are many people who don’t know the kind of rider he is: he wins from January to December, no matter if it’s a classic, a one-week race… and even podium finishes in three-week grand tours. It’s already a decade since he’s on top of the sport and many people don’t value enough what he does and criticized him. He’s a superb rider and a wonderful person.”
Nairo Quintana, Movistar


Stage 20
Date: 25 July, 2015
Start: Modane Valfréjus
Finish: Alpe d’Huez
Distance: 110.5 km

Tour de France 2015 Stage 20 route

Tour de France 2015 Stage 20 route map

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 20 profile

Tour-de-France-2015-Stage-20-profile.jpg

Tour de France 2015 Stage 20 climbs

Tour-de-France-2015-Stage-20-Col-de-la-Croix-de-Fer-.jpg

56 km – Col de la Croix de Fer (2 067 m)29 km de montée à 5.2% – category  H

Tour-de-France-2015-Stage-20-Alpe-d-Huez.png

110.5 km – ALPE D’HUEZ13.8 km de montée à 8.1% – category H

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

Vincenzo Nibali, Astana Pro Team, Tour de France 2015 Stage 19 La Toussuire

Vincenzo Nibali takes his first stage win of the 2015 Tour de France at stage 19 on La Toussuire

Cover: Vincenzo Nibali, Astana Pro Team, Tour de France 2015 Stage 19 La Toussuire
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Todd Hofert


Three stages remained in the 2015 Tour de France, each becoming progressively shorter in length. The 138km stage to La Toussuire today, the longest of the three and perhaps the most difficult, but falling short on the hype of its successor, the Stage 20 finale on the fabled switchbacks of Le Alpe d’Huez.

IAM Cycling, Tour de France 2015 Stage 19 La Toussuire
IAM Cycling, Tour de France 2015 Stage 19 La Toussuire Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

One would have thought that the general classification was pretty well defined coming into the final weekend, only disaster likely to upset the order that has been established. But if there ever were a stage for disaster, the Tour is it, as are the final days in the Alps after three weeks of surviving the world’s most difficult bike race.

Peter Sagan, Tour de France 2015 Stage 19 La Toussuire
Peter Sagan, Tour de France 2015 Stage 19 La Toussuire Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The interesting fact of the day, according to InfoStrada Sports Twitter account, Peter Sagan has surpassed Sean Kelly in outright 3rd place for the most green jerseys in Tour de France history with 68. Only Erik Zabel (88) and Freddy Maertens (70) have more. Peter Sagan is only 25 years old and should move into second place behind Zabel at the end of this years Tour.

Tour de France 2015 Stage 19 Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne
Tour de France 2015 Stage 19 Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Joaquim Rodriguez picked up where he left off yesterday and attacked the first climb right out of the gate. He succeeded in gathering the ten points for the first man over the top. Along the way attacks from Valverde, Nibali, Contador, Barguil, and Mollema found Chris Froome behind the action painfully aware that this would not be an easy day in the saddle.

A group of 21 riders would establish itself on the descent and through the sprint point. The riders in the break were: Tanel Kangert (Astana), Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale), Roman Kreuziger and Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo), José Herrada and Malori (Movistar), Tony Gallopin and Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal), Joaquim Rodriguez and Alberto Losada (Katusha), Rigoberto Uran (Etixx), Pierre Rolland, Cyril Gautier and Romain Sicard (Europcar), Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo), Ruben Plaza (Lampre-Merida), Dylan van Baarle (Cannondale-Garmin), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Stef Clement and Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling), Stephen Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka) and Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) chasing to include himself in that break, the race now just 10km from the start of the Col de la Croix de Fer.

The peloton hit the Croix de Fer 2:12 behind the stage leaders being led by Lotto NL-Jumbo and the welcome sight of Laurens Ten Dam tapping out the tempo on the front. The grupetto started to form.

Tour de France 2015 Stage 19 La Toussuire
Tour de France 2015 Stage 19 La Toussuire Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Pierre Rolland attacked his break-mates on the climb and back in the peloton, Astana came to the front to set up a move for Vincenzo Nibali. Astana’s pace would shed significant weight from the Yellow Jersey group. The breakaway all caught and passed with exception of Rolland and a chase of two, Ruben Plaza and Rigoberto Uran. Robert Gesink dangled off the back of the Yellow Jersey group. Geraint Thomas suffering a similar fate and Froome was left with only Wouter Poels to support him.

Alejandro Valverde launched an attack ahead of the banner marking 5km to the summit. His gap opened quickly and Wout Poels summoned what courage he had left to try and contain the move for his team leader. Robert Gesink was able to regain contact with the Yellow Jersey group and appeared to have recovered. Valverde continued to try and consolidate the gap or at least keep the pressure on the Sky led chase. The Movistar plan to go all in for the overall win was taking shape.

Tour de France 2015 Stage 19 La Toussuire
Tour de France 2015 Stage 19 La Toussuire Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Chris Froome suffered a mechanical and in a show of poor sportsmanship, Vincenzo Nibali looked at him twice, recognized the race leader was stopping and immediately launched an attack. The real contenders honored the unwritten code of conduct and waited for the race leader to get back on his bike.

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Vincenzo Nibali, Astana Pro Team, Tour de France 2015 Stage 19 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Pierre Rolland would lead the race over the summit followed by Nibali at 1:06 and Romain Bardet attacked the Yellow Jersey group in hopes of resting the Polka Dot jersey away from Joaquim Rodriguez who had fallen back to the peloton. Chris Froome grabbed sixth place points.

Nibali continued his pursuit of stage leader Pierre Rolland on the descent of the Croix de Fer and up the Col du Mollard. He would catch him with dirty hands shortly after they crested the climb, the Yellow Jersey group now 2:00 behind. Romain Bardet made his move off the front of that group attempting to consolidate his position in the mountain points competition.
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Movistar was straight back to the front on the start of the final climb. Rolland and Nibali had 1:45 in hand on the peloton. The tempo in the select group accompanying the Yellow Jersey was high and the group began to thin out as expected. Nibali attacked Rolland with 16km left to the summit finish, Rolland was cooked.

Status quo up the climb, Chris Froome and Sky benefitting from the Nibali move, the pressure to contain it now on the shoulders of those riders such as Contador and Gesink trying to defend their 5th and 6th place GC standing, the gap between Nibs and the Yellow Jersey group of 11 riders 2:23 as they rode beneath the 10km to go banner.

Quintana attacked. Froome forced to chase with Contador and Valverde on his wheel. Froome’s pace cracked them both. Gesink, who was dropped came back and rode past Valverde and Contador, Quintana still prying open the gap to Froome. Nibali’s gap was shrinking.

Vincenzo Nibali would hang on despite the barrage from behind. His stage win and the subsequent gap moved him up the general classification into fourth place overall jumping Robert Gesink, Geraint Thomas and Alberto Contador. Nairo Quintana finished second at :44 seconds and Froome came in third :29 seconds behind Quintana. Pinot, Bardet, Valverde and Mollema would lead the remainder of contenders home.

The fatigue of defending the Yellow Jersey started to show in Team Sky leaving Chris Froome isolated and forced to defend himself. Will it be too little too late for the others? Froome will take his 2:38 margin into the penultimate stage to Alpe d’Huez tomorrow and barring a really bad day for the leader it should be enough for him to ride the Yellow into Paris on Sunday. Regardless of the order at the top of the famed Alp, expect more aggressive last ditch effort racing tomorrow.

It was a day where I had to survive. I started with bad sensations and cramps all day so I had to save energy as much as I could. I sent Majka to pull at the front and he set the pace and it calmed a bit down. Things turned out quite well. Nibali is now ahead in the GC and I congratulate him for that. It’s true he did a very good job today. In what regards me, I think it deserves more merit to have reached this point than previous victories. I had strong cramps throughout the day and I was praying to make it through. Tomorrow will be another day.”
Alberto Contador, Tinkoff-Saxo

Tour de France 2015 Stage 19 Top 10

  1. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) #1
    ASTANA PRO TEAM 04h 22′ 53″
  2. Nairo Quintana (COL) #51
    MOVISTAR TEAM 04h 23′ 37″ + :44
  3. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    TEAM SKY 04h 24′ 07″ + 1:14
  4. Thibaut Pinot (FRA) #21
    FDJ 04h 25′ 19″ + 2:26
  5. Romain Bardet (FRA) #12
    AG2R La Mondiale 04h 25′ 9″ + 2:26
  6. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) #59
    MOVISTAR TEAM 04h 25′ 19″ + 2:26
  7. Bauke Mollema (NED) #141
    TREK FACTORY RACING 04h 25′ 19″ + 2:26
  8. Robert Gesink (NED) #131
    LOTTO TEAM NL – JUMBO 04h 25′ 19″ + 2:26
  9. Alberto Contador (ESP) #41
    TINKOFF-SAX 04h 25′ 19″+ 2:26
  10. Samuel Sanchez (ESP) #66
    BMC RACING TEAM 04h 25′ 19″ + 2:26

Tour de France 2015 General Classification Top 10 after Stage 19

  1. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    TEAM SKY 78h 37′ 34″
  2. Nairo Quintana (COL) #51
    MOVISTAR TEAM 78h 40′ 12″ +2:38
  3. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) #59
    MOVISTAR TEAM 78h 42 ‘ 59″ + 5:25
  4. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) #1
    ASTANA PRO TEAM 78h 44′ 18” + 6:44
  5. Alberto Contador (ESP) #41
    TINKOFF-SAXO 78h 45′ 30” + 7:56
  6. Robert Gesink (NED) #131
    TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO 78h 46′ 29” + 8:55
  7. Mathias Frank  (SUI) #181
    IAM CYCLING 78h 50′ 13″+ 12:39
  8. Bauke Moellema (NED) #141
    TREK FACTORY RACING 78h 50′ 56″ +13:22
  9. Romain Bardet (FRA) #82
    AG2R La Mondiale 78h 51′ 42″ + 14:08
  10. Pierre Rolland (FRA) #121
    Team Europcar 78h 55′ 01″ + 17:27

Tour de France 2015 Jerseys after Stage 19

Yellow (Overall leader): Chris Froome, Team Sky
Green (Points): Peter Sagan, Tinkoff Saxo
Polka-dot (KOM):  Romain Bardet, AG2R La Mondiale
White (Best Young Rider): Nairo Quintana, Movistar

Stage 19
Date: 24 July, 2015
Start:  Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne
Finish: La Toussuire – Les Sybelles
Distance: 138 km

Tour de France 2015 Stage 19 route

Tour de France 2015 Stage 19 route map

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 19 profile

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 19 climbs

15.5 km – Col du Chaussy (1 533 m) (D77-VC)15.4 km de montée à 6.3% – catégory 1
83 km – Col de la Croix de Fer (2 067 m)22.4 km de montée à 6.9% – catégory H
103 km – Col du Mollard (1 638 m)5.7 km de montée à 6.8% – catégory 2
138 km – LA TOUSSUIRE (1 705 m)18 km de montée à 6.1% – catégory 1

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

Romain Bardet, Tour de France Stage 18, Montvernier

Romain Bardet climbs to a stage 18 victory at Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne

Cover: Romain Bardet, Tour de France Stage 18, Montvernier
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Todd Hofert


Following a dramatic first day in the Alps the race set out once again into the mountainous terrain of southeast France. The stage, despite passing over seven categorized climbs, lacked a summit finish giving way yet again to the strong possibility that a break could succeed. A tough stage proceeded it and two difficult stages with summit finishes follow leaving little more than table scraps for ambitious non-GC men trying to grab an elusive stage win. Today seemed ripe for such a coup.

Regardless of what happened in relation to success or failure of a breakaway, Chris Froome’s nearest rivals continued with a resolve to attack the Yellow Jersey in hopes of finding a chink in his armor. Despite these claims, short of flicking a few flies from his lanky elbows, Chris Froome has been up to the challenge. Unless the trio of Spanish speaking contenders were to cooperate with a relentless barrage of attacks against the leader, he seemed poised to continue his dominance right through the summit of Alpe d’Huez and on to his second Tour de France title in Paris on Sunday.

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Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 18 Montvernier Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

In addition to the Stage 16 DNS of Laurent Didier (Trek Factory Racing) another five riders would succumb to the brutality of the race with a DNF status. The most notable of course were Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep). They were joined by Sam Bennet (Bora-Argon 18), Nathan Haas (Cannondale-Garmin) and Jerome Coppel (IAM Cycling). South Africa’s Louis Meintjes of MTN-Qhubeka did not start today’s stage due to illness leaving 162 riders in the race. Sébastien Chavanel (FDJ) claimed the honor of the Lanterne Rouge three hours and thirty-three minutes behind the race lead.

As has become customary the attempts to form a break were almost immediate. Pierre Rolland (Europcar) took the initiative right at the base of the days first climb, the Col Bayard, whose summit was just 6.5km into the stage. He was followed straight away by Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Julian Arredondo (Trek). Halfway up the climb, 16 riders would bridge to join them followed by another group of 10. 12km in and a break of 29 had established itself.

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Andrew Talansky, Damiano Caruso, Tour de France 2015 Stage 18 Montvernier Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The 29 breakaway members were: Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Romain Bardet, Jan Bakelants and Christophe Riblon (AG2R-La Mondiale), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Roman Kreuziger and Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo), Jonathan Castroviejo and Winner Anacona (Movistar), Damiano Caruso and Rohan Dennis (BMC), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Georg Preidler (Giant), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Michael Matthews and Simon Yates (Orica), Pierre Rolland, Cyril Gautier, Romain Sicard and Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Julian Arredondo and Bob Jungels (Trek), Ruben Plaza (Lampre-Merida), Andrew Talansky, Ryder Hesjedal and Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin), Stef Clement (IAM), Jan Barta (Bora), Serge Pauwels (MTN-Qhubeka). The best place rider in the break on GC being Romain Bardet, 12th at 16.04. The Peloton was at 1.35 at km 14.

The result over the Cat 2 Col Bayard: Joaquim Rodriguez-5 points, Jakob Fuglsang-3 points and Thibaut Pinot-2 points. It would appear as though “Purito” was growing tired of borrowing the Polka-Dots from Chris Froome and he was out to earn them rightfully. The cat 3 Rampe du Motty was next on their plate and Rodriguez again passed first and scored two KOM points while Serge Pauwels took one. Rodriguez now within a couple of points of Froome. The gap to the peloton had grown to five minutes at the 45km mark.

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Serge Pauwels, MTN-Qhubeka, Tour de France 2015 Stage 1 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Rodriguez would again claim the top spot and two points for the côte de La Mure drawing even with Froome at 61 points apiece in the mountain classification, the battle of the day thus far. A few attempts to whittle down the size of the break all failed and Joaquim Rodriguez would again claim maximum points over the top of the fourth of seven climbs, the Col de Malissol with Serge Pauwels again chasing him over in second. News came across that Mark Renshaw (Etixx – Quick Step) had abandoned, leaving Mark Cavendish without his favorite lead out man, a key ingredient for his success on the Champs-Élysées.

Yesterday at the end of the stage I came down with a migraine before the final climb, and the pain never went away overnight,” Renshaw said. “I woke up with the same pain this morning. It’s pain from really stiff muscles in my neck, and that pain from the stiffness has gone up into my head in the form of a migraine.  Every hole, every bump, every rough part of the road I could feel the pain in the back of my head with this stiffness in my neck. I’ve never experienced anything like that before. Together with the team we decided for me to stop. There is no way I could keep going like this. I already knew when I woke up this morning that it’d be hard to finish the stage. The pain was so intense and never lessened.

It’s a shame that I cannot finish this Tour de France after riding with my teammates for two and a half weeks. Especially since I was getting ready for Paris on Sunday and my legs were okay. I’m really sad about it, especially since I can’t be there to help Mark Cavendish for the sprint on Sunday. But I will absolutely be there in Paris to give my full support to my teammates in any way I can, and I wish them the best of luck in these final two days in the Alps before then.”
Mark Renshaw, Etixx – QuickStep

More of the same over the Col de la Morte. Joaquim Rodriguez-5 points, Jakob Fuglsang-3 points, Georg Preidler, 2 points, and Christophe Riblon-1 point. The intermediate sprint would precede the big test of the day, the hors categorie Col du Glandon. The result of the sprint inconsequential in terms of the points competition but there was money to be had for the winner and Thomas De Gendt would claim the prize. Ironically, news was coming forward that the leader of the points competition, Peter Sagan, was off the back of the peloton.

Thomas De Gendt’s ride to the sprint line forced a split in the break with Jakob Fuglsang, Jan Bakelants, Winner Anacona, Damiano Caruso, Joaquim Rodriguez, Thomas Voeckler, Ruben Plaza, Andrew Talansky, Dan Martin and Jan Barta with him. De Gendt’s plan, however, was not for this much company and he would press on solo. The rest of the break would regroup behind him as they sped toward the Glandon. De Gendt would be caught right at the official start of the climb. The peloton were 2:10 behind at the base of the climb, the tempo lifted and the selections started almost immediately, the original break reduced to eleven.

A steady pace by the Sky led peloton would progress up the mountain, the break increasing the gap. Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) had a dig and rode off the front of the peloton. Robert Gesink and Mathias Frank joined Barguil with Richie Porte blowing off the back. Nicholas Roche, Leopold Konig and Geraint Thomas all still present in front of race leader Chris Froome.

The next attack came from Alberto Contador. Nairo Quintana looked to Froome and Sky to respond, they refused and Contador quickly jumped across to the Gesink group. 5km to the summit and the race was heating up. Romain Bardet led the break over the summit ahead of Anacona. Rodriguez popped and was struggling to hang on for the summit. He would fail to add points to his tally for the day.

Nibali launched a couple of moves against Froome followed by Quintana. Valverde popped. The Contador group suffering from the pace behind. Bardet attacked the descent and opened a gap on Anacona. Valverde raced to rejoin the Yellow Jersey group.

Romain Bardet arrived at the foot of the Lacets de Montvernier with a 41-second gap over his chasers. He was able to hold that gap status quo over the top grabbing five more points and bringing himself on par with Rodriguez, each with 68 points in the mountains classification. While Rodriguez will retain the jersey for now, his days are surely numbered.

Pierre Rolland set off in pursuit of his countryman both taking risks on the descent toward the finish. The group of the Yellow Jersey and the current top ten of the race marking each other all of the way.

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Romain Bardet, AG2R-La Mondiale, Tour de France 2015 Stage 18 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Bardet offered the French and AG2R their second stage win of this years Tour holding Rolland at bay, his solo efforts successful. Winner Anacona came home third followed by Bobby Jungels and Jakob Fuglsang.

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Jakob Fuglsang, Pierre Rolland, Winner Anacona, Bob Jungels, Tour de France 2015 Stage 18 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Warren Barguil, having been dropped a couple of times on the final climb was able to fight his way back to the Yellow Jersey group and lead the bunch over the line 3:02 behind Bardet whose effort moved him up into the top ten. The nine places ahead of him remaining the same as it was at the start of the day.

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Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 18 Montvernier Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Two more days in the Alps and two summit finishes separate the riders from Paris. On tap tomorrow the climbs of Col du Chaussy (15.4 kilometre-long at 6.3%) – category 1, the Col de la Croix de Fer (22.4 kilometre-long at 6.9%) – category HC, Col du Mollard (5.7 kilometre-long at 6.8%) – category 2 and the summit finish at LA TOUSSUIRE (18 kilometre-long at 6.1%) – category 1. Opportunities for Quintana, Valverde, Contador, Gesink and company are now wearing thin.

This was one of the toughest days on the bike. I wanted to try things and see what could be done but at the end, we didn’t achieve anything in particular. I dropped Valverde on Glandon, this always brings confidence but the only thing I now focus on is to recover. It was a very hard stage and my attacks were more driven by the heart than the legs. I was able to observe a few things and we will now see how I recover for tomorrow.

In order for Valverde not to be on the podium, a catastrophe must take place. He has an incredible opportunity and just by doing things the right way it’s impossible for him not to reach the podium. The sport of cycling is like this and we will have to take it day by day.”
Alberto Contador, Tinkoff-Saxo

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Alberto Contador, Tinkoff-Saxo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 18 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Tour de France 2015 Stage 18 Top 10

  1. Romain Bardet (FRA) #12
    AG2R La Mondiale 05h 03′ 40″
  2. Pierre Rolland (FRA) #121
    TEAM EUROPCAR 05h 04′ 13″ + :33
  3. Winner Anacona (COL) #52
    MOVISTAR TEAM 05h 04′ 39″ + :59
  4. Bob Jungels (LUX) #147
    TREK FACTORY RACING 05h 04′ 39″ + :59
  5. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) #3
    ASTANA PRO TEAM 05h 04′ 39″ + :59
  6. Serge Pauwels (BEL) #218
    MTN-Qhubeka 05h 04′ 41″ + 1:01
  7. Cyril Gautier (FRA) #123
    TEAM EUROPCAR 05h 05′ 30″ + 1:50
  8. Damiano Caruso (ITA) #62
    BMC RACING TEAM 05h 05′ 30″ + 1:50
  9. Andrew Talansky (USA) #161
    TEAM GARMIN-CANNONDALE 05h 05′ 35″ + 1:55
  10. Warren Barguil (FRA) #82
    TEAM GIANT-Alpecin 05h 06′ 42″ + 3:02
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Steven Kruijswijk, Lotto NL-Jumbo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 18 Montvernier Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Tour de France 2015 General Classification Top 10 after Stage 18

  1. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    TEAM SKY 74h 13′ 31″
  2. Nairo Quintana (COL) #51
    MOVISTAR TEAM 74h 16′ 41″ +3:10
  3. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) #59
    MOVISTAR TEAM 74h 17′ 40″ + 4:09
  4. Geraint Thomas (GBR) #39
    TEAM SKY 69h 74h 20′ 05” + 6:34
  5. Alberto Contador (ESP) #41
    TINKOFF-SAXO 74h 20′ 11” + 6:40
  6. Robert Gesink (NED) #131
    TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO 74h 21′ 10” + 7:39
  7. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) #1
    ASTANA PRO TEAM 74h 21′ 35” + 8:04
  8. Mathias Frank  (SUI) #181
    IAM CYCLING 74h 22′ 18″+ 8:47
  9. Bauke Moellema (NED) #141
    TREK FACTORY RACING 74h 25′ 37″ +11:47
  10. Warren Barguil (FRA) #82
    TEAM GIANT-Alpecin 74h 26′ 23″ + 13:08
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Luis Ángel Maté, Cofidis-Solutions Crédits, Tour de France 2015 Stage 18 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Tour de France 2015 Jerseys after Stage 18

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

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Joaquim Rodriguez, Team Katusha, Tour de France 2015 Stage 19 Montvernier Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

It was a hard day but I felt good and immediately went on the attack with the goal to take maximum points today. Everything went well but it was hard to control all riders in the break the entire day. In the flat part at the feed zone before the Glandon I had a bad moment. It went fast and I could not take my feed bag so on the Glandon I paid for that. It was my goal to also take those 25 points or even the stage win but it was over for me at that point. However, I won’t give up. There are two mountain stages to go and I will attack again. Fuglsang and Bardet will be motivated, too, but I will fight for it.
Joaquim Rodriguez, Team Katusha


Stage 18
Date: 23 July, 2015
Start:  Gap
Finish: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne
Distance: 185 km


Tour de France 2015 Stage 18 route

Tour de France 2015 Stage 18 route map

Tour-de-France-2015-Stage-18-route-mapTour de France 2015 Stage 18 profile

Tour-de-France-2015-Stage-18-profile

Tour de France 2015 Stage 18 climbs

6.5 km – Col Bayard (1 264 m)6.3 km de montée à 7% – category 2
35.5 km – Rampe du Motty2.3 km de montée à 8.3% -category 3
60.5 km – Côte de la Mure2.7 km de montée à 7.5% -category 3
70.5 km – Col de Malissol2 km de montée à 8.7% -category 3
85 km – Col de la Morte (1 368 m)3.1 km de montée à 8.4% -category 2
147 km – Col du Glandon (1 924 m)21.7 km de montée à 5.1% -category H
176.5 km – Lacets de Montvernier (782 m)3.4 km de montée à 8.2% -category 2

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 18 last km

Tour de France 2015 Stage 18 last km

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

Simon Geschke solos to victory on Pra Loup; Froome moves one step closer to Paris

Cover: Simon Geschke, Team Giant-Alpecin, Tour de France 2015 Stage 17
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Todd Hofert


A daunting and dangerous stage coming off of a rest day and heading straight into the Alps. The Stage 17 profile appears docile enough with only a pair of cat 3’s, a pair of cat 2’s and a single category 1 climb, the penultimate climb of the day, the Col d’Allos. How riders respond to the rest day always a concern particularly when there is little opportunity to spin the legs out when the race gets going again. Some respond favorably to the rest days, others do not.

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

Chris Froome arrived at the start enjoying a comfortable margin on GC despite coming off a stressful week of answering to critics and fending off physical assaults on himself and his teammates, including the heinous and despicable act of a spectator (I refuse to refer to them as a cycling fan) throwing urine at the race leader.

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

Peter Sagan with a firm grip on his goal of winning the Green Jersey for a fourth year running, only an inability to finish in Paris standing between himself and that feat.

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

Joachim Rodriguez continued to borrow laundry from Chris Froome as the second man in the standings for the climber competition wore the Polka Dot Jersey.

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

The White Jersey of the best young rider remained firmly on the shoulders of the man holding second place on GC, Nairo Quintana.

The yellow numbers and helmets of the team competition still being worn by Team Movistar.

There was one rider that did not make the start following the rest day and that was Laurent Didier (Trek Factory Racing). That left 168 riders in the race.

Nine riders were able to briefly break clear after just 3km but the peloton were quick to react and the race was back together after 3.5km. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) would give it another go, looking to make the break for a fourth straight day. He and Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) were gone clear however the peloton were having none of it and they too were reeled in just 2km later. Several more attempts to form breaks were squished by the pack and riders were coming unhitched off the back. Most notably, Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) obviously suffering something from the rest day.

The race would reach the top of the first climb, the category 3 col des Lèques, Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) came across the summit first taking two points and Kristjian Durasek (Lampre) one point for second place. Van Garderen already a full minute behind the action, his Tour now in jeopardy.

Every move that had been made included a very aggressive Peter Sagan. Once again he was off the front joined again by Steven Kruijswijk along with Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Garmin) but they would be caught. By this stage in the race it was glaringly apparent to everyone but Peter Sagan that he was not going to be allowed up the road. Van Garderen now reported by his team as suffering from headaches a full 3:52 behind the peloton, an example of just how quickly ones Tour fortunes can change.

Finally after 64km 28 riders were clear, and Sagan’s stubborn persistence had paid off. The break contained: Tanel Kangert (Astana), Jan Bakelants and Mikaël Chérel (AG2R-La Mondiale), Thibaut Pinot and Benoît Vaugrenard (FDJ), Richie Porte and Nicolas Roche (Sky), Rafal Majka and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo), Jonathan Castroviejo, José Herrada and Gorka Izagirre (Movistar), John Degenkolb and Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin), Alberto Losada (Katusha), Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge), Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-Quick Step), Perrig Quémeneur (Europcar), Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo), Kristjian Durasek and Rafael Valls (Lampre-Merida), Andrew Talansky and Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale-Garmin), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling), Merhawi Kudus, Serge Pauwels and Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN Qhubeka). Serge Pauwels and Daniel Teklehaimanot both of MTN Qhubeka would go one, two over the top of the category 3 Col de Toutes Aures.

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Tejay Van Garderen, BMC Racing Team, Tour de France 2015 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Van Garderen and the small group of riders that had fallen off the back were able to reconnect with the peloton 82km into the stage. For now, Tejay was back in the race and looking to avoid losses and get through the day.

Much to his dismay, however, Alberto Contador went on the attack on the Col de la Colle-Saint-Michel and his move would up the tempo to one that only sixteen riders were able to answer, Van Garderen not one of them. He appeared to be a man defeated and he would abandon a few minutes later. The cruel reality of a race of attrition. A Tweet by Boulder native Connie Carpenter-Phinney summed it up.

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To be fighting for a podium in the Tour de France, and then the next minute you are sitting in the car, was really hard. It was hard to look my teammates in the eyes. It was hard to call my wife and explain to her what was going on. It was a lot of emotions.”
Tejay Van Garderen, BMC Racing

The result at the summit of the Col de la Colle-Saint-Michel (cat. 2): Serge Pauwels-5 points, José Herrada-3 points, Kristjian Durasek-2 points and John Degenkolb-1 point. The break regrouped on the descent, the intermediate sprint was lightly contested in Beauvezer with Benoît Vaugrenard (FDJ) taking the first place points followed by John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) and Peter Sagan content to take third. The ascent and perhaps more notably the descent of the category 1 Col d’Allos right in front of them and the peloton behind.

With opportunities for stage wins dwindling, the 28 man break was jockeying for the right moves that would prevent Peter Sagan from landing the elusive honor of the day. Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin) was able to open up a gap on the lower slopes of the Col d’Allos. Two riders, Kristjian Durasek (Lampre-Merida) and José Herrada (Movistar) giving chase and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) also trying to come across. Roche, Porte, Hesjedal, Vaugrenard, Degenkolb, Losada, Quémeneur and Edet all fell off the pace, the Sagan group in between them and the lone leader.

The peloton’s foot off the gas now well over seven minutes in arrears. Geschke’s move now looking eerily familiar to that of Ruben Plaza’s winning move into Gap two days prior. The remainder of the break less Pinot and Majka regrouped behind Geschke with a 1:45 gap.

The reigning World Champion, Michal Kwitkowski (Etixx – Quick Step) became another notable abandon and the race would explode on the descent of the col d’Allos. Riders were all over the hillside. Pinot would clip a pedal and crash on the descent. Talansky would catch and pass him. Contador would suffer a crash as well. Gesink was separated from the Yellow Jersey group in the final kilometer of the Allos and chaos ensued.

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Alberto Contador, Tinkoff-Saxo, Tour de France 2015 Stage 17 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

My wheel slipped and I fell. We tried to fix my bike but it wasn’t working and I took Peter’s bike. I tried to descend as well as I could but at the bottom of the climb I had to change back to one of my own bikes to minimize the losses. Cycling is like this, sometimes you do well sometimes you don’t. But right now the most important thing is to recove.”
Alberto Contador, Tinkoff-Saxo

Simon Geschke hit the final climb of the day, the Pra Loup, with a two-minute gap on hard charging Andrew Talansky. That gap would prove to be too great to overcome and Simon Geschke claimed a big stage win for Giant-Alpecin. Andrew Talansky followed thirty-two seconds down and Rigoberto Uran at 1:01 rounded out the podium for the day.

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Simon Geschke, Team Giant-Alpecin, Tour de France 2015 Stage 17 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

I didn’t feel great. I joined the breakaway group together with John, which was a strong group.

After the sprint I attacked and started the final climb with an advantage. I had 1’30” for a long time, and I thought I’d just see what would happen.

I knew it was a difficult descent and I went pretty fast. On the last climb I gave it my all and was able to hold on to my advantage. I suffered incredibly but I cannot put this feeling into words.

This is a dream come true. After so many attempts it finally happened. I cannot believe it.”
– Simon Geschke, Team Giant -Alpecin

The truth is that it took a while today to get into the breakaway,” Uran said. “I lost a lot of energy to be in the front at the beginning. It wasn’t easy. I probably paid for the effort in the climb of first category, which is when Geschke went. I was also waiting to see what guys as Majka and Pinot were doing. Then in the downhill I tried to close the gap, but it was already too late.

Congrats to Geschke. Concerning me, I’m happy with my third place even if we are always out there to try and win a stage. This stage was really hard, and in the next days it will be just as tough, if not more tough. But I will try again in the next days. It won’t be easy, but we have to take the risk to get into the breakaway and see what we can do in the final days.”
Rigoberto Uran, Etixx-QuickStep

Back down the Pra Loup the general classification battle was taking place as promised. In a weird show of tactics, Movistar found themselves with four riders and an isolated Chris Froome however they opted to pace the Yellow Jersey up the majority of the climb. Vincenzo Nibali was present and took advantage of some renewed form to move up the GC by finishing with this group. Matthias Frank, the best-placed rider in the days break profited handsomely from his ride moving into the top ten overall.

Movistar now has a firm grip on the final two spots of the overall podium with Nairo Quintana second to Froome at 3:10 and Alejandro Valverde moving into third at 4:09 a full 2:25 ahead of fourth placed Geraint Thomas. Contador hangs on to his fifth place overall but falling to 6:40 behind the Yellow Jersey and stands 1:01 ahead of Robert Gesink in sixth place.

I felt really well today. I recovered fine and did not struggle after the rest day. We fared pretty well, as well myself as my team-mates – with the pace we rode through the Allos climb, I didn’t realized until the end of the climb that we were only four of five at the front. That’s where I tried to attack, just like I did in the finale, though I didn’t get a gap.

We didn’t have an intention of trying to turn things around today as there are days where the mountains are more demanding, and we think we’ll be able to try harder later on. Tomorrow’s stage will be complicated; the one on Friday, finishing at La Toussuire, is a route that suits me well -full of ups and downs, with serious climbs, a hard route with long ascents-; and Alpe d’Huez is a long climb whose slopes are really good for me.

There’s still room for battle. We also entered the podium with Alejandro Valverde, who has a nice chance to snatch a place into the top-3, and kept the lead in the teams’ classification, so today’s overview must be pretty good for us.”
Nairo Quintana, Movistar

Day one in the Alps is in the books and three days remain. What shake ups are in store for tomorrow?

Tour de France 2015 Stage 17 Top 10

  1. Simon Geschke (GER) #86
    TEAM GIANT-Alpecin 04h 12′ 17″
  2. Andrew Talansky (USA) #161
    TEAM GARMIN-CANNONDALE 04h 12′ 49″ +:32
  3. Rigoberto Uran (COL)  #118
    QUICK STEP-Etixx 04h 13′ 18″ + 1:01
  4. Thibaut Pinot (FRA) #21
    FDJ 04h 13′ 53″ + 1:36
  5. Mathias Frank (SUI) #181
    IAM CYCLING 04h 13′ 57″ + 1:40
  6. Steven Kruijswijk (NED) #133
    LOTTO TEAM NL – JUMBO 04h 14 ’44’ ‘ + 2:27
  7. Nicolas Roche (IRL) #36
    TEAM SKY 04h 15′ 19″ + 3:02
  8. Jonathan Castroviejo (ESP) #53
    MOVISTAR TEAM 04h 15 ’21’ ‘ + 3:04
  9. Serge Pauwels (BEL) #218
    MTN-Qhubeka 04h 15′ 22″ + 3:05
  10. Adam Yates (GBR) #108
    ORICA GREENEDGE 04h 15″ 38″ + 3:21

Tour de France 2015 General Classification Top 10 after Stage 17

  1. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    TEAM SKY 69h 06 ’49”
  2. Nairo Quintana (COL) #51
    MOVISTAR TEAM 69h 09′ 59″ +3:10
  3. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) #59
    MOVISTAR TEAM 69h 10′ 58″ + 4:09
  4. Geraint Thomas (GBR) #39
    TEAM SKY 69h 13′ 23” + 6:34
  5. Alberto Contador (ESP) #41
    TINKOFF-SAXO 64h 51 ’39” + 6:40
  6. Robert Gesink (NED) #131
    TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO 69h 14 ’28” + 7:39
  7. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) #1
    ASTANA PRO TEAM 69h 14 ’53” + 8:04
  8. Mathias Frank  (SUI) #181
    IAM CYCLING 69h 15 ’36’ ‘ + 8:47
  9. Bauke Moellema (NED) #141
    TREK FACTORY RACING 69h 18′ 36″ +11:47
  10. Warren Barguil (FRA) #82
    TEAM GIANT-Alpecin 69h 19 ’57″ + 13:08

Tour de France 2015 Jerseys after Stage 17

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 17
Date: 22 July, 2015
Start:  Digne-les-Bains
Finish: Pra-Loup Station de Montagne
Distance: 161 km


Tour de France 2015 Stage 17 route

Tour de France 2015 Stage 17 route map

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 17 profile

Tour-de-France-2015-Stage-17-Profile

Tour de France 2015 Stage 17 climbs

40 km – Col des Lèques6 km de montée à 5.3% – category 3
67 km – Col de Toutes Aures6.1 km de montée à 3.1% -category 3
96 km – Col de la Colle-Saint-Michel (1 431 m)11 km de montée à 5.2% -category 2
139 km – Col d’Allos ( 2 250 m)14 km de montée à 5.5% -category 1
161 km – PRA LOUP (1 620 m)6.2 km de montée à 6.5% -category 2

Tour-de-France-2015-Stage-17-climbs-Col-dAllos-to-Pra-Loup

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

Lance in France

Cover: Lance Armstrong
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


Lance Armstrong was back in the saddle on the roads of the 2015 Tour de France this week, riding with the Le Tour One Day Ahead team to raise money to find a cure for leukemia.

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Geoff Thomas, Le Tour One Day Ahead Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The group, organized by leukemia survivor, Geoff Thomas, is a team of amateur cyclists that are riding the entire Tour de France course one day ahead of the actual race. They are riding with a support team, mechanics, and rolling road closures – and for two days this past week, Lance Armstrong.

Armstrong joined the group for stages 13 and stage 14 on a route winding through the Midi-Pyrénées from Muret to Rodez on the first day, and then on to Mende on day two.

No musette bags here

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Lance Armstrong, Le Tour One Day Ahead Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

While the riders are tackling the same territory as the Tour de France 2015 cyclists, and in the same conditions, which for stage 14 meant temperatures reaching 40° Celsius (104° Fahrenheit), lunch wasn’t something pulled out the back of their jersey.

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Lance Armstrong, Le Tour One Day Ahead Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

On the Rodez to Mende stage, the group stopped for a leisurely lunch in a beautiful village overlooking the Tarn River. Armstrong was relaxed as he chatted with the team during their early afternoon break.

Before mounting their bikes again for the remaining 67 km to be ridden in the scorching heat, Armstrong patiently posed for countless photos, answered a few questions from the journalists in attendance, then climbed on his bike, set his computer, and pedaled off to Mende.

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Lance Armstrong, Le Tour One Day Ahead Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Should Lance have ridden with the group?

Obviously, Lance joining the group on their ride was to increase awareness for the project that has a mission to raise £1m for Cure Leukaemia.

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Brian Cookson, Tour de France 2015, Grand Départ Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Armstrong’s participation ignited much commentary from the cycling community and beyond. UCI president, Brian Cookson, stated in March:

I’m sure that Geoff Thomas means well, but frankly, I think that’s completely inappropriate and disrespectful to the Tour, disrespectful to the current riders and disrespectful to the UCI and the anti-doping community.”

Before the Tour began, journalists were already attempting to add the Armstrong angle to their coverage. At the pre-race press conference in Utrecht, a journalist asked Chris Froome about Armstrong’s presence. Froome responded eloquently, stating that he supported Geoff Thomas’ goal to raise funds to fight a disease that had caused his mother’s death and then turned the conversation back to Team Sky’s participation in the race.

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Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 pre-race press conference Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Even some of the teams have criticized Armstrong’s participation on social media.

So, should Lance have ridden with the group or was he, as Cookson stated, “disrespectful to the Tour?”

Should Lance be in France?

For those criticizing the promotional nature of Armstrong’s attendance – nearly every charity event has celebrities in attendance and markets their event heavily to raise funds.

Armstrong was Geoff Thomas’ inspiration to ride the 2005 Tour de France route ahead of the professionals. Thomas, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2003, conquered the TDF route soon after going into remission in 2005 and the achievement won Thomas an award at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards and launched his efforts of raising funds for leukemia charities.

For Armstrong – sure it was a bit of a jab at the Tour and professional cycling. But, was participating in the charity ride wrong?

Although banned from professional cycling, or from even participating in a swim event or triathlon, Armstrong obviously has the right to hop on a bike and take a ride through the Pyrénées if he desires. Armstrong just happened to draw some media attention along the way with the timing of this one, bringing notice to a ride for charity that otherwise would not have had the New York Times and CNN report on it.

Ivan Basso’s departure from the Tour with testicular cancer just days before Armstong’s arrival also underscored just another reminder of the reason for the ride – to fight a horrible disease.

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Ivan Basso, Tinkoff Saxo, Tour de France 2015, Stage 2 Utrecht Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Was Lance a distraction to the Tour?

The Tour de France is an entourage of thousands of support personnel, journalists and cyclists moving throughout France for 21 days. It takes a lot to divert attention from the race.

For me personally, the daily press conference questioning of Chris Froome about doping suspicions actually brings back more memories of the late Lance days than a 43-year-old riding a bike on the roads of France with a few members of the media popping in for a photo or quote.

So, was Lance a distraction to the Tour? Armstrong’s choice of riding the transitional stages made it fairly easy to cover both. We managed to grab a few shots as the group road through Millau, stopped off at their lunch up the road, and then still got back to Rodez for the finish of stage 13.

As we drove into the Tour finish the next day in Mende, my thoughts were of Lance and the One Day Ahead group arriving the day before. Far from the throngs of fans on the Champs Élysées that awaited Armstrong at the end of his former France rides, this ride ended in a field on a hill above Mende with a team of Brits and little attention.

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Lance Armstrong, Le Tour One Day Ahead Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Isn’t it time we moved on?

In 1989, Pete Rose was banned from baseball for life for betting on the game. He’s now making commercials that poke fun at his exclusion from baseball’s Hall of Fame.

In a couple of decades, will Armstrong be on TV hawking a product while making jokes about not being able to run a tri?

Doubtful.

Armstrong’s personality made, and continues to make, him a lightning rod. By his own account, he can be rude and has bullied people. He has an obvious distrust and dislike for the press, perhaps justifiably, and appears on edge when cameras are nearby and microphones are stuck in his face.

When we lived in Aspen from 2011-2013, Lance lived a few blocks away. There, we saw a different Armstrong – a relaxed guy that would run by on his daily jog with a casual wave to say hello.

Two different sides of the same guy in different circumstances – I would imagine there are even more.

Armstrong rode in an era of doping and he mastered the craft. It was a time, as he has stated, that doping was just like “air in the tires and water in the bottles.”

What he did was against the rules, was wrong, and was also done by nearly every cyclist riding in the peloton at the time.

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Lance Armstrong, Le Tour One Day Ahead Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

He was also an exceptional cyclist and, in America, ignited a passion for the sport for millions of people who otherwise may never have become cycling fans. And, many of those people are also now riding bikes every day – a healthy activity – and for that, we must also remember the good that came out of the time.

It’s a rarity to meet anyone whose life hasn’t been touched by cancer. My father died of cancer in February. The One Day Ahead riders – and Lance for two days – are undertaking a huge task with the goal of raising money to fight a terrible disease. I prefer to say, bravo for their efforts, and just leave it at that. It’s time to move on.

If you would like to donate to Le Tour One Day Ahead, do so by visiting Geoff Thomas’ fundraising page.

Froome heads into 2nd rest day with 3 min 10 second lead; Ruben Plaza picks up Tour de France 2015 Stage 16

Article by Todd Hofert


The stage to Gap today represented the final transition stage of the Tour. Gap lies on the fringes of the Alps at 745m (2,445 ft) above sea level while the stage started at 157m (515 ft) above sea level, another day made up of a long uphill drag from start to finish. This drag included two climbs and an intermediate sprint point.

Three whole minutes into the race a break would form and again Peter Sagan would make sure he was in it. For the third day in a row, he came out to defend his Green Jersey out on the roads. The break was made up of: Andriy Grivko (Astana), Christophe Riblon (AG2R), Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Simon Geschke, Marco Haller (Katusha), Bob Jungels (Trek), Nelson Oliveira (Lampre-Merida), Ruben Plaza Molina (Lampre-Merida), Daniel Navarro (Cofidis), Pierrick Fedrigo (Bretagne-Seche-Environnement), Serge Pauwels (MTN-Qhubeka)

Part of the original move, another group of 16 was caught between the break and the peloton.

35km into the stage the break had established a six-minute gap on the peloton and a minute over the chase of 16 although the gap between the two escape groups was coming down ever so slightly. Some riders would retreat back to the relative peace of the peloton, the pace high out front as the lead group remained intent on fending off their chasers

As planned Peter Sagan took the win and the 20 points at the intermediate sprint in Die. He was uncontested and his win extended his Green Jersey lead over Andre Greipel to 64 points. Halfway through the stage, the gap between the 12 man break and the peloton had swelled to 9:21 with the second group of 12 still hovering around a minute behind the leaders. The two groups finally merged a few kilometers up the road and the gap to the now 23 riders strong breakaway was now over ten minutes. The riders remaining out front were: Grivko (Astana), Riblon (AG2R), Sagan (Tinkoff Saxo), De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Geschke (Giant Alplecin), Haller (Katusha), Irizar and Jungels (Trek), Oliveira and Plaza Molina (Lampre), Navarro (Cofidis), Erviti (Movistar), Hansen (Lotto Soudal), Golas and Trentin (Etixx), Voeckler (Europcar), Mate (Cofidis), Pantano (Cannondale Garmin), Fedrigo and Perichon (Bretagne Séché), Boasson Hagen, Pauwels and Teklehaimanot (MTN)

The race would proceed status quo up the first of two categorized climbs on the road to Gap. The results over the category 2 Col de Cabre:1. Serge Pauwels (MTN) 5 points2. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) 3 points, Edvald Boasson-Hagen (MTN) 2 points, and Marco Haller (Katusha) 1 point. The peloton appeared to fall victim to a series of punctures as they came across the summit. It would later be clarified that molten pavement under the riders tires was making it feel as though they had flatted, the oppressive heat continued to wear down the race.

Edvald Boasson Hagen, MTN Qhubeka, Tour de France 2015
Edvald Boasson Hagen, MTN Qhubeka, Tour de France 2015 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

With 50km to go Edvald Boasson-Hagen (MTN) would have a go off the front of the break. He was joined by Marco Haller (Katusha) and Nelson Oliveira (Lampre-Merida). Peter Sagan, like a boss, drilled the move back almost single-handedly. For now it appeared that the cooperation within this lead group had begun to fracture. The gap to the peloton now over fifteen minutes.

The next to go was Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal). He managed a gap of 31 seconds before Marco Haller (Katusha) made an attempt to bridge up to him. He made the catch and the two working together began to open their advantage. As it approached a minute, the gap to the peloton had grown to nearly eighteen minutes. The Col de Manse (1,268 m) an 8.9 kilometre-long climb at 5.6%, coming into sight.

Adam Hansen, Lotto Soudal, Tour de France 2015
Adam Hansen, Lotto Soudal, Tour de France 2015 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

It’s our goal to win stages, so we wanted to try that again today. It took a while before I and ten others joined the first group. We had to chase for about 100 kilometres because the speed was so high. Luckily some did an extra effort to close the gap. It was the intention to bring Thomas De Gendt into the finale in the best possible position. I had to respond to attacks, but because we were with so many I decided to attack to reduce the group and hoped Thomas could move along. Unfortunately only one other rider joined me, so it was hard to cover more than 40 kilometres. Because of my shoulder injury it’s hard to sprint, so if I would have gone to the finish with some others I wouldn’t have won anyway.”
Adam Hansen, Lotto Soudal

The pace on the ascent of the Col de Manse was lifted and the effects were evident. The gap to Hansen and Haller coming down rapidly. Peter Sagan clinging to the group leading the chase. They made the catch with six km left on the climb and 18km to the finish. An acceleration by Ruben Plaza Molina (Lampre-Merida) blew Hansen and Haller straight out the back leaving Sagan to lead a group of four in pursuit of Plaza.

Most of the break regrouped behind the move of Plaza as his lead grew to a minute, the chasers all intent to sit on Peter Sagan. Sagan, however, attacked the descent putting his bike handling skills on display. Only able to cut the deficit in half however he was once again relegated to a second place finish behind Ruben Plaza who took his first Tour de France stage win. Peter Sagan came across the line beating a fist to his chest signifying his insurmountable grip on his fourth overall Tour Green Jersey, only misfortune able to take it from him now. Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling) COL rounded out the day’s podium.

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

Meanwhile, the fireworks in the chasing peloton had been lit. Vincenzo Nibali, another master of the descent, was off the front of the pack. In a moment of high drama, Geraint Thomas (Sky) was forced off the road on the descent, hitting a pole head first and plummeting over a barrier into a deep ditch, his well-being uncertain. Soon after Nibali led the chasing GC contenders home to the finish Thomas could be seen fighting his way seemingly unscathed back to the group to protect his sixth place in GC. So much testimony to the grit and determination required to complete this great race.

For now, take a deep breath. Tomorrow is a rest day. Then come the Alps and four days of high drama before the race reaches its conclusion in Paris on Sunday.

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

If you don’t try, you gain nothing. I tried and funnily I always have second places. But it’s okay, I’m very happy with my effort. I might have some bad luck because everybody is looking at me in the race and follows me, when I try. Today, nobody wanted to work on the final climb but I tried to keep the race open. Well, I have a good lead in the points classification but Tour de France is crazy and everyday something can happen and I have to make it to Paris.

I’m very happy with the support I have here at the Tour, it really motivates me. For example, a whole bus from Slovakia is here and follows me at the race to cheer me on – it’s really nice. Today, I also had many great friends in the group that all wanted to stay with me so it was very difficult to do something but I did my best, also for the supporters.”
Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo

Tour de France 2015 Stage 16 Top 10

  1. Ruben Plaza (ESP) #156
    LAMPRE – MERIDA 04h 30′ 10″
  2. Peter Sagan (SVK) #47
    TINKOFF-SAX 04h 30 ’40’ ‘ + :30
  3. Jarlinson Pantano (COL) #188
    IAM CYCLING 04h 30′ 46″ + :36
  4. Simon Geschke (GER) #86
    TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN 04h 30′ 50″ + :40
  5. Bob Jungels (LUX) #147
    TREK FACTORY RACING 04h 30′ 50″ + :40
  6. Christophe Riblon (FRA) #17
    AG2R La Mondiale 04h 30′ 50″ + :40
  7. Daniel Teklehaimanot (ERI) #219
    MTN-Qhubeka 04h 31′ 03″ + :53
  8. Thomas De Gendt (BEL) #73
    LOTTO-SOUDAL 04h 31′ 10″ + 1:00
  9. Luis Angel Mate (ESP) #174
    COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS 04h 31′ 32″+ 1:22
  10. Thomas Voeckler (FRA) #129
    TEAM EUROPCAR 04h 31′ 32″+ 1:22
Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015
Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

I did hear on the radio that G (Geraint Thomas) had been caught in a crash behind. At that point I was just trying to say to the guys around me ‘listen there’s been a crash let’s just try and keep the race steady for now.’ But obviously only a few kilometres before the finish the guys wanted to go hard.

It’s really unfortunate for us to lose Pete Kennaugh at this point. He’s a big part of the team but he’s had a tough couple of days with illness. I hope he recovers soon. It means we’re going to have to share the work between the eight riders but the guys are strong and I’ve got a lot of confidence in them.

Beyond that I think it’s been a pretty good day for us. We saw the other GC teams trying today. Tinkoff-Saxo took the race on at the foot of the last climb. We saw attacks over the top and Vincenzo Nibali going for it. I think that’s definitely what we can expect these next two days in the Alps. The race certainly isn’t over yet. We’re going to have try and keep control of the race and hope we can keep the lead until Paris.”
Chris Froome, Team Sky

Tour de France 2015 General Classification Top 10 after Stage 16

  1. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    TEAM SKY 64h 47 ’16”
  2. Nairo Quintana (COL) #51
    MOVISTAR TEAM 64h 50′ 26″+3:10
  3. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) #61
    BMC RACING TEAM 64h 50′ 48” + 3:32
  4. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) #59
    MOVISTAR TEAM 64h 51′ 18” + 4:02
  5. Alberto Contador (ESP) #41
    TINKOFF-SAXO 64h 51 ’39” + 4:23
  6. Geraint Thomas (GBR) #39
    TEAM SKY 64h 52′ 48” + 5:32
  7. Robert Gesink (NED) #131
    TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO 60h 64h 53′ 39” + 6:23
  8. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) #1
    ASTANA PRO TEAM 64h 55′ 05” + 7:49
  9. Bauke Moellema (NED) #141
    TREK FACTORY RACING 64h 56′ 09″ + 8:53
  10. Warren Barguil (FRA) #82
    TEAM GIANT-Alpecin 64h 58′ 19″ + 11:03

Tour de France 2015 Jerseys after Stage 16

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 16
Date: 20 July, 2015
Start:  Bourg-de-Peage
Finish: Gap
Distance: 201 km


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

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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

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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.

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.