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On a day marked by heavy crosswinds, Australian Michael Matthews (Sunweb) won his second stage of the 2017 Tour de France, winning Stage 15 into Romans-sur-Isère Tuesday. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) finished second in a photo finish, with John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) in third.
The stage win was contested out of a 32-man group of contenders, having distanced themselves with 13 kilometers to go in the crosswinds. Missing was German Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors), who was dropped early on the stage was also absent from the day’s intermediate sprint, which Matthews won. In all, Matthews took 50 points on Kittel, narrowing the gap in the green-jersey competition to just 29 points with only four road stages remaining.
The peloton shattered into fragments with 13 kilometers remaining as Team Sky drove the pace into a critical corner, the wind switching from tail to cross. Riders complacent with their positioning were quickly caught out in the gusts over 50 kph and consistent wind around 40 kph. The general classification teams and sprinter’s teams were perpetually diligent, attempting to keep their men at the front of the field and out of trouble.
The day’s biggest GC loser was Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors), who lost 51 seconds and dropped out of the top five. Though Martin had Jack Bauer and Gianluca Brambilla to help him in the final, the rest of the team was with Kittel — other than Philippe Gilbert, who abandoned the race due to viral gastroenteritis.