Simon Yates wins Tour stage 15 as Alaphilippe loses time: Daily News Digest
Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Simon Yates solos to the Tour de France stage 15 win from the break, Julian Alaphilippe loses time on the final climb, Italy shines in the Olympic test event. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Simon Yates wins stage 15 of the Tour de France as Julian Alaphilippe loses time
Stage 15 of the Tour de France offered no shortage of action. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) stormed to the victory, his second of this Tour de France, out of the breakaway. Not far behind, the GC contenders lit up the mountainous stage with attacks. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and Mikel Landa (Movistar) took second and third on the rainy day, putting over a minute into race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), who showed his first signs of vulnerability of the entire race on the final climb.
Alaphilippe remains in yellow headed into the second rest day, but several rivals cut into his lead. Pinot and Landa were among the biggest winners in the GC battle, with Egan Bernal (Ineos) and Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) also picking up significant time on Alaphilippe.
For Yates, the stage victory gives him multiple stage wins at all three of cycling’s Grand Tours.
“I’m very proud of what I did today,” said Yates. “It was an extremely hard day from the start to the finish. I raced the way I like to, which is trying to be aggressive, and I managed to pull it off.”
After more than an hour of racing that saw multiple attempts to form a breakaway, Yates joined a sizable move alongside plenty of other heavy hitters. Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale), and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) were among the other big names in the move. The peloton gave the break some breathing room, with the gap around three minutes at the midway point of the stage, as the escapees neared the first of three back-to-back-to-back category-one finishing climbs.
The ascent whittled the break down significantly, but it also saw the gap between the surviving leaders and the peloton grow over five minutes.
The racing heated up on the next climb. Simon Geschke (CCC) soloed out of the break on the early slopes and built a sizable lead, and then Yates jumped out of the chasing group to bridge up to the German. Behind, the pack was quickly reduced to a select GC group, with Alaphilippe’s Deceuninck-Quick-Step teammates dropping left and right.
Landa powered away from the dwindling GC group and pressed on solo, catching and passing various members of the early break.
Geschke and Yates crested the penultimate climb and then took on the descent into the final climb together. Then, shortly into the Prat d’Albis finishing climb, Yates made his move. The 26-year-old Briton soloed clear to tackle the steep, wet road to the line alone.
A little ways behind – and with Landa and a few stragglers from the break still in between – the GC group hit the climb, with Groupama-FDJ and Jumbo-Visma working to set a hard tempo. Some seven kilometers from the top, Pinot kicked off hostilities in the small yellow jersey group with a blistering attack. Even as Geraint Thomas (Ineos), Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma), and others lost touch, Alaphilippe initially held on alongside Bernal and Buchmann.
A kilometer later, he finally cracked as Pinot put in another big turn.
With Alaphilippe drifting back, and Pinot, Bernal, and Buchmann pressed on, before Pinot soloed clear with around three kilometers to go. He soared up the final climb and ultimately bridged up to Landa as Alaphilippe dropped back to a small group that included Thomas, Kruijswijk, and Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo). The yellow jersey hung with the group for a few minutes before the hard tempo proved too high, shelling Alaphilippe out the back and leaving him to push up the climb alone.
At the head of the race, nobody could touch lone breakaway survivor Yates, who had plenty of time to celebrate as he hit the line. Pinot led Landa across the line 33 seconds later. Buchmann and Bernal arrived 18 seconds after that.
Alaphilippe saw his lead to second-placed Thomas dip to 1:35, with Kruijswijk 1:47 back. Although still further down on the overall leaderboard in fourth, Pinot surged up to 1:50 down on Alaphilippe with his strong showing on the day.
Stage 15 results
1 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 4:47:04
2 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:33
3 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar
4 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:51
5 Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos
6 Lennard Kämna (Ger) Sunweb 0:01:03
7 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos 0:01:22
8 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
9 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
10 Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:30
1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 61:00:22
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos 0:01:35
3 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:01:47
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:50
5 Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos 0:02:02
6 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:02:14
7 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar 0:04:54
8 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar 0:05:00
9 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana 0:05:27
10 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First 0:05:33
It’s nice to know the Caleb Ewan is still able to have fun even when the Tour is way up in the mountains …
— Caleb Ewan (@CalebEwan) July 20, 2019
… and also that Wout van Aert is still helping his team out even as he recovers from a bad crash.
— grischa niermann (@grischaniermann) July 20, 2019
And then there was this back-and-forth from George Bennett and Geraint Thomas after stage 14.
Ah I think they were booing you mate 🙈🤣
— Geraint Thomas (@GeraintThomas86) July 20, 2019
Ulissi wins Tokyo Olympics test event
Watch out for Diego Ulissi and the rest of the Italian team next summer in Tokyo.
Ulissi won the Olympic road race test event on Sunday in Japan at end of the lumpy journey from Musashinonomori Park to Fuji International Speedway. Compatriot Davide Formolo nabbed runner-up honors 17 seconds later, while the next best finisher, Nans Peters of France, came home 1:52 down.
Tour de France has been a ‘nightmare’ for Bardet
In an otherwise excellent Tour de France for the French, Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) has struggled mightily this July. The overall runner-up in 2016 finished over 20 minutes on stage 14 on the Tourmalet, and has now shifted his focus to stage-hunting.
In a post on his Instagram after Saturday’s stage, Bardet said he has been riding through a “nightmare” with “every pedal stroke.”
“Realizing and admitting that I don’t have the level I’d planned is a tough experience,” he wrote.
“Another race begins now. I hope that if my legs don’t take me where I want to go, my morale will compensate.”
Coming Up at the Tour
After some tough days in the Pyrenees, the Tour de France peloton will have a well-deserved day off on Monday’s second and final rest day before heading East towards the Alps.
Beauty of Cycling
The Col du Tourmalet delivered plenty of excitement at the Tour de France. It also made for some incredible imagery.
Don’t miss the fantastic photography in our gallery of stage 14.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Simon Yates wins stage 15 of the Tour de France. Photo: Nico Vereecken/PN/Cor Vos © 2019