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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, September 14, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these. - George Washington Carver

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Tour de France Stage 15 team reports

We posted the organizer's stage fifteen summary with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Tadej Pogacar's UAE Team Emirates:

In the general classification, the leader of UAE Team Emirates earned a 4-second bonus with victory over GC leader Roglic. Tadej Pogacar is now 40" behind Roglic. In third position, Rigoberto Uran (Ef) is 54" from Pogačar.

Tadej Pogacar

Tadej Pogacar wins stage 15. Pauline Ballet photo

As for the fight for the white jersey, the Slovenian now boasts a 2’35 ”lead over Enric Mas (Movistar).

Pogačar: “The race started at great speed until the breakaway went, and we had Marco Marcato there to cover it.

"Jumbo-Visma set a very high pace and maintained it throughout the stage, which along with the heat meant it was better not to attack. In the final, I waited for the sprint and took another beautiful victory. Some of the GC guys were dropped and this was due the effect of the pace set by Jumbo-Visma. Tomorrow we’ll have the rest day, then I’ll try to give my best again: at the moment, Roglic seems unbeatable, but anything can happen, anyone can have a bad day, as happened today to Bernal or as can happen to me or to Primoz”.

Tomorrow the Tour will see its second rest day, before resuming on Tuesday with the 16th stage, the La Tour du Pin-Villard de Lans, 164 km with the ascents of the Cote de Virieu (4th category), of the Col de Gates (2nd category), the Cote de Revel (2nd category), the Montée de Saint Nizier du Moucherotte (1st category) and the final climb of the Cote 2000 (3rd category).

Here's the report from GC leader Primoz Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team:

Primoz Roglic continues to lead in the general classification after the fifteenth stage in the Tour de France. After preparatory work by his team, the leader of Team Jumbo-Visma sprinted to second place on the Grand Colombier behind his compatriot Tadej Pogacar.

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin leads Primoz Roglic up the Grand Colombier. Sirotti photo

In the stage from Lyon, with the Montée de la Selle, the Col de la Biche and the final climb to the Grand Colombier along the way, the pace was very high from the start. Team Jumbo-Visma controlled the stage. Robert Gesink and Wout van Aert were able to catch up with the early breakaway at the beginning of the final climb. Due to the fast pace of George Bennett, Tom Dumoulin and Sepp Kuss, the group systematically got smaller and smaller. Roglic started the sprint early and got outsprinted by Pogacar on the finish line.

“I came just a little short to win”, Roglic said. “Pogacar was a bit faster. I would have liked to win to reward the guys for their work, but that didn't work out, unfortunately. I compliment my teammates. They were very, very strong. Impressive even. The pace was really high. It was a tough, but all in all good day for us. So far everything is going according to plan, but we are not there yet. ”

Birthday boy Sepp Kuss concurred with his leader’s story. “It was a great day for the team. We rode an almost perfect stage. It seemed like everyone was outperforming themselves. In the final we might have approached it slightly differently. Maybe I should have been in Tom’s wheel to start the sprint for Primoz earlier. But all in all, it was a great stage for us. We stuck to our plan by increasing the pace. As a result, some rivals lost time and the rest were riding at their limits. I am also happy that I am doing better every day. Much better than in the first week. It's nice that the feeling I had in the Dauphiné is back.”

Dumoulin also rode a strong stage in support of Roglic. “Primoz felt good and indicated that he wanted to go for the stage win. As a team we were collectively very strong. That is good to see. Too bad we didn’t win the stage. Primoz started the sprint at five hundred metres or so. Perhaps he should not have done that, but that is easy to say in hindsight. In any case, I am happy that my form is going in the right direction. I felt really good today. That gives me a lot of confidence for the upcoming stages. It still looks good for Primoz and the team, but we have to be focused and stay on our guard. Especially for Pogacar.”

Here's the update from Richie Porte's Trek-Segafredo team:

Richie Porte is heading into the Tour de France second rest day with a big boost of confidence after crossing the line in third place in Stage 15 behind stage winner and second overall Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) and race leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).

It was the same finish as the final stage in Tour de l’Ain in early August where Porte finished in 5th place after Jumbo-Visma thwarted his attack in the last few kilometers. Roglic went on to win that stage and the overall.

Richie Porte

Richie Porte (shown at the 2019 Tour) had a good day in the mountains. Sirotti photo

“I knew from doing Tour de l’Ain where I attacked with 2kms to go, and I didn’t really know the finish, so today my plan was always to sit in as long as I could,” explained Porte. “When it got to [600m] to go and Roglic attacked, and I had to go to the front and do my pace since I am never going to beat guys like Pogacar and Roglic on a finish like that. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it was good to put time into some other GC guys.”

After Roglic’s attack, Porte countered with 350 meters remaining. Although he did not shake Pogacar and Roglic, he distanced other rivals that still sit ahead of him in the GC.

"It was nice to be able to sit on the wheels of Jumbo-Visma on the final climb, and I felt pretty comfortable. Jumbo-Visma had a high pace, and it was hard to do much off that pace. When Yates attacked, they never really struggled. I think they lost George Bennett, but that was it. At the end of the day, you almost have to look at them as your teammates when they’re that strong to control."

After losing 81 seconds to many of his rivals in the crosswinds of Stage 7, Porte has battled back in the big mountain stages, moving from 20th to 6th place in the general classification. He has shown to be growing stronger as the Tour moves into a very tough third week, a good sign, while other rivals have struggled, including last year’s winner Egan Bernal and three-time podium finisher Nairo Quintana.

Trek-Segafredo took a big blow when it lost Bauke Mollema to a crash in Stage 13, but Porte has shouldered the weight and risen to the challenge of leading the team and has climbed in reach of the overall podium, sitting 39 seconds from third.

“It was a good day for the team, and I am happy with today,” added Porte. “The big guys did a great job looking after me for the first 100kms, and Mads (Pedersen) and Jasper (Stuyven) put me in a perfect position for the first climb. And then I had Kenny (Elissonde) there with me. I am motivated for the last week. Now I am looking forward to the rest day and recover a bit and hopefully have a good final week of the Tour.”

Team Bora-hansgrohe sent me this:

Compared to previous days in the mountains, the profile of stage 15 seemed a little flat to begin with, but this was more than made up for in the second half of the 174.5km parcours.

There were three categorised climbs, with two first categories coming in quick succession, before the summit finish on the brutal Grand Colombier, its Hors Catégorie classification well and truly deserved – 17.4km at an average gradient of 7.1% with maximum slopes of 12%.

Stage 15 profile

Stage 15 had a profile that commanded respect.

After several hard days of attacking, counter-attacking and controlling the peloton, the BORA-hansgrohe riders knew this would be a day for the GC riders, and so would be saving energy today, but this didn’t stop Peter Sagan from making sure he challenged for the intermediate sprint at the 58km point. While the escape would take most of the day’s points, never letting a chance to take points pass him by, the Slovak rider kept a close eye on his rivals, attacking and responding well to attacks, to take some points in the sprint, before returning to the bunch.

A select group of GC riders formed and after catching the break with 13km to go, made their way to the finale on the Colombier’s stunning roads. It wasn’t until the final few hundred metres though that the battle for the stage exploded, and with the win decided, it was simply a matter of ensuring the BORA-hansgrohe riders came in within the time cut, ready for the rest day and the tough final week that was waiting for them.

From the Finish Line:
"It was another very hard stage, from the start, and we did our best in the intermediate sprint. With three tough climbs after that, I stayed in the gruppetto to save as much energy as I could. Tomorrow, we have a well-deserved rest day and then, I look forward to the final tough week of the Tour de France" – Peter Sagan

"Unfortunately, I'm still not feeling well and, for a few days, I have been experiencing a few stomach problems and suffering from a mild cold. It seems that everything is now coming together against me. However, I'm here and I'll do my best to help the team. I worked yesterday and I enjoyed it because, so far, the squad had been working for me, so it felt nice to give back to them. I look forward to next week and helping the team as much as I can. It's pointless to just stay in the gruppetto and ride just to make the time limit, I want to contribute and do something for the team." - Emanuel Buchmann

"After two hard stages where we put in a lot of effort and entertained the cycling world again, it seemed to be clear to us that today's stage was going to be a battle between the real GC contenders of the Tour de France. As a result, a breakaway group wasn't going to have any chance, so in our morning meeting we decided we were going to take a few points with Peter and then ride in a way to save as much energy as possible. We wanted to take a little rest in the stage, combine it with the rest day tomorrow, so that we can come back and fight for a stage win and the green jersey in the final week." – Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director

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