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Tadej Pogacar won stage 15 of the Tour de France on a brutal day in the Jura Mountains that saw defending champ Egan Bernal drop out of contention for the yellow jersey.
Bernal and Nairo Quintana both lost touch with the rest of the GC group in the early goings of the Grand Colombier finishing climb. With Jumbo-Visma setting a hard tempo, both riders were dropped just as the early break was caught with 13 kilometers still to go. From there, the gap quickly grew as the lead group maintained its high pace up the ascent.
That pace would mostly keep things together for the rest of the GC riders, with a short-lived attack by Adam Yates the only major move until the final kilometer. As the leaders wound up the pace on the run-in to the line, the group began to split, with Porte, Roglic, and Pogacar separating themselves from the rest. Porte led the way into the last 200 meters but Pogacar surged past to nab his second stage win of this year’s Tour. Roglic took second on the day with Porte in third.
Behind the lead group, Quintana would ultimately leave Bernal behind, limiting his losses to 3:49 to at least stay within the top 10 overall. Bernal finished over seven minutes down on the day. With Bernal tumbling off of the provisional podium, Rigoberto Urán moved into third overall behind race leader Roglic and second-placed Pogacar.
The 174.5-kilometer journey from Lyon to Grand Colombier saw fast racing from the start as riders battled to get into the breakaway. Before a move was fully established, Sergio Higuita went down hard in a crash. He remounted but would then crash again, and he ultimately abandoned the race with a suspected finger or hand injury.
The breakaway that did eventually get clear featured eight riders, including climbing talents like Pierre Rolland and Jesús Herrada, but the peloton made sure to keep the gap manageable on the day, with the break’s advantage maxing out at under five minutes.
The race heated up in the second half of the stage as breakaway riders attacked each other on the Montèe de la Selle de Fromentel and the Col de la Biche, while Jumbo-Visma upped the pace in the peloton behind. Rolland and Michael Gogl led the way out front onto the Grand Colombier but the peloton was less than two minutes behind on the start of the climb and closing fast.
Jumbo-Visma’s high pace put several riders into difficulty in the early goings of the climb, with Bernal beginning to struggle only a few kilometers in. Rolland dropped Gogl but the yellow jersey would close both of them down in short succession, just as Bernal and Quintana lost touch. Although they settled into a chase group with teammates and a handful of other riders, the gap yawned out quickly. Within minutes it was clear that Bernal’s yellow jersey bid was over.
In the lead group, Jumbo-Visma’s pace mostly kept things under control, except for an attack by Adam Yates with around seven kilometers to go. A kilometer and a half later, he was back in the group. From there, things stayed together into the finale, where a surge from Roglic split the group in the last 500 meters. Roglic, Porte, and Pogacar led into finale, where Pogacar pulled away for the victory and a handful of bonus seconds.
Top 10, stage 15
1 POGACAR Tadej (UAE-Team Emirates) 4:34:13
2 ROGLIC Primoz (Team Jumbo-Visma)
3 PORTE Richie (Trek – Segafredo) 0:05
4 LÓPEZ Miguel Ángel (Astana Pro Team) 0:08
5 MAS Enric (Movistar Team) 0:15
6 KUSS Sepp (Team Jumbo-Visma)
7 LANDA Mikel (Bahrain – McLaren)
8 YATES Adam (Mitchelton-Scott)
9 URÁN Rigoberto (EF Pro Cycling) 0:18
10 VALVERDE Alejandro (Movistar Team) 0:24
Top 10, GC
1 ROGLIC Primoz (Team Jumbo-Visma) 65:37:07
2 POGACAR Tadej (UAE-Team Emirates) 0:40
3 URÁN Rigoberto (EF Pro Cycling) 1:34
4 LÓPEZ Miguel Ángel (Astana Pro Team) 1:45
5 YATES Adam (Mitchelton-Scott) 2:03
6 PORTE Richie (Trek – Segafredo) 2:13
7 LANDA Mikel (Bahrain – McLaren) 2:16
8 MAS Enric (Movistar Team) 3:15
9 QUINTANA Nairo (Team Arkéa Samsic) 5:08
10 DUMOULIN Tom (Team Jumbo-Visma) 5:12
In other news
| Vos storms to victory on stage 3 of the Giro Rosa
Marianne Vos picked up her first win of 2020 on stage 3 of the Giro Rosa.
The pack reeled in any attempts to get clear before the finale of the 142-kilometer stage from Santa Fiora to Assisi, setting up a battle on a steep finishing climb. On the grueling ascent to the line, Vos proved strongest out of a select group, hitting the finish two seconds ahead of Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig. Elisa Longo Borghini took third, five seconds back.
Annemiek van Vleuten finished in fifth, 12 seconds behind Vos, retaining her overall race lead on the day.
Top 10, stage 3
1 VOS Marianne (CCC – Liv) 3:53:34
2 LUDWIG Cecilie Uttrup (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) 0:02
3 LONGO BORGHINI Elisa (Trek-Segafredo Women) 0:05
4 LIPPERT Liane (Team Sunweb) 0:08
5 VAN VLEUTEN Annemiek (Mitchelton-Scott) 0:12
6 KOPECKY Lotte (Lotto Soudal Ladies) 0:13
7 VAN DER BREGGEN Anna (Boels – Dolmans Cycling Team) 0:16
8 MOOLMAN Ashleigh (CCC – Liv) ,,
9 NIEWIADOMA Katarzyna (Canyon SRAM Racing) ,,
10 GARCÍA Mavi (Alé BTC Ljubljana) 0:19
Top 10, GC
1 VAN VLEUTEN Annemiek (Mitchelton-Scott) 8:07:06
2 VAN DER BREGGEN Anna (Boels – Dolmans Cycling Team) 1:22
3 NIEWIADOMA Katarzyna (Canyon SRAM Racing) 1:37
4 LUDWIG Cecilie Uttrup (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) 2:38
5 HARVEY Mikayla (Équipe Paule Ka) 3:40
6 MOOLMAN Ashleigh (CCC – Liv) 3:58
7 GARCÍA Mavi (Alé BTC Ljubljana) 4:08
8 LONGO BORGHINI Elisa (Trek-Segafredo Women) 4:16
9 CHABBEY Elise (Équipe Paule Ka) 4:40
10 VOS Marianne (CCC – Liv) 4:53
| Van der Poel nabs stage 7 of Tirreno-Adriatico
One day after his teammate Tim Merlier sprinted to victory on stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico, Mathie van der Poel picked up another win for Alpecin-Fenix in a thrilling stage 7 finale.
Van der Poel joined a strong group of attackers with a little over 50 kilometers to go on the 181-kilometer trek from Pieve Torina to Loreto. Attacks from Ruben Guerreiro whittled the group down and then split it apart, with van der Poel and others chasing Guerreiro and Matteo Fabbro on a lumpy circuit inside the last 25 kilometers.
Van der Poel’s chasing group reconnected with the two out front, but then Fabbro soloed away. The Italian still had a gap into the finale but van der Poel exploded past him in the last few hundred meters to take the victory. Guerreiro took second four seconds later with Fabbro settling for third.
Race leader Simon Yates and the other top GC contenders finished together 10 seconds down.
| Vermeersch wins the Antwerp Port Epic
On a big Sunday for Alpecin-Fenix, the team also scored a one-day victory at the Antwerp Port Epic.
The 187-kilometer race in and around Antwerp came down to a three-rider battle, with Gianni Vermeersch taking the victory over Stan Dewulf and Baptiste Planckaert.
| Coming up at the Tour
After a challenging day in the Jura Mountains, the peloton will enjoy a well-deserved rest day on Monday. Racing resumes with stage 16 on Tuesday.
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Today’s featured image of Tadej Pogacar winning stage 15 of the Tour de France comes from Cor Vos.