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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, July 18, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

There is no greater harm than that of time wasted. - Michelangelo

Tour de France: 2019

Bill & Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, 2021: The Little Cannibal Dominates is available in both Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Tour de France stage fifteen reports

We posted the race organizer's report with the results.

Here’s the report from Jonas Vingegaard's & Wout van Aert's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Wout van Aert got his sixth podium place in the Tour de France on an unlucky day for Team Jumbo-Visma. The day before the second rest day, the 27-year-old Belgian sprinted to second place, but the stage was mainly marked by crashes involving Steven Kruijswijk, Jonas Vingegaard and Tiesj Benoot. Even before the start, there was bad news.

Wout van aert (left, in green) sprinting to second place against the faster Jasper Philipsen. Sirotti photo

Primoz Roglic did not get back on his bike for the fifteenth stage because of his earlier injuries. “To let my injuries heal, we decided I will not start today. I’m proud of my contribution to the current standings and I’m confident that the team will achieve its yellow and green ambitions. I want to thank everyone for their support.”

In the sweltering heat it seemed it would be a calm day until, in a short time, a lot went wrong for Team Jumbo-Visma. First, Kruijswijk was involved in a crash and the 35-year-old Dutchman was forced to give up. A few kilometres later, Vingegaard and Benoot also crashed, but they could continue their way.

“It was a bad day for us”, Vingegaard said. “I’m okay. Tiesj fell in front of me and I couldn’t avoid him. This kind of incident is part of cycling, unfortunately. It’s really unfortunate Steven and Primoz crashed. They are essential teammates. After the rest day, we will do our best and keep fighting until Paris."

Van Aert had a lot to endure during the stage. The Belgian was in a front group of three in the early stages but dropped back.

After Kruijswijk’s crash, Van Aert returned to the peloton in the final and kept Vingegaard at the front. “We were told there was another demonstration”, Van Aert said. “I don’t know if it was because of that, but suddenly there was chaos in the peloton. When Steven crashed, I could only just avoid him. I waited, but it didn’t look good. Before I was back in the peloton, I saw all my teammates with Jonas. Those were hectic kilometres. We have to measure the damage and recover on the rest day.”

Van Aert eventually sprinted to second place, just behind Jasper Philipsen. “Jasper surprised me a bit in the inside corner. He did it smartly. I was in an excellent position, but he was too strong for me today.”

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Here's the report from Geraint Thomas' Team INEOS Grenadiers:

The INEOS Grenadiers combined well in the final kilometres of a technical finale to ensure the team has three riders in the top 10 overall at the Tour de France heading into the final week.

Geraint Thomas remains third, Adam Yates fifth, with Tom PIdcock still ninth as there was no change in general classification as Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin Deuceunick) won a reduced bunch sprint.

The day was not quite as warm as was forecast. ASO photo

Before the sprint, Luke Rowe, Dani Martinez, Jonathan Castroviejo and Dylan van Baarle combined well to place the Grenadiers at the front of the bunch in a technical close to the second week of the race, which ended in a sweltering Carcassonne.

With a possible change in wind direction and power, the Grenadiers were alert and ensured their GC men were at the front of the peloton, but there was no opportunity to steal a march on their rivals. 

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Team Bora-hansgrohe posted this report:

Up to 40 degrees on the way to Carcassonne made the race today more than just difficult for the riders. Nevertheless, Nils Politt was one of the first attackers and hoping for another big group on the move. But only Wout van Aert and M. Honore followed Nils as the sprinter teams tried to control the situation from the beginning.

After 30km Wout dropped back and latest at this moment it was clear that to stay in front until the line was a mission impossible. Still, Nils pushed on and was finally caught on the last climb with about 50km remaining. On this climb also the bunch did split and some of the sprinters were dropped. BORA – hansgrohe tried to take advantage of the situation as Danny Van Poppel was still sitting in the first bunch. Even the race came back together, the team still did a great job in keeping Danny in the front. He was well positioned on the last kilometer and finished in 5th place today while Jasper Philipsen took the stage win. Nils Politt was honored with the red number as most competitive rider of the day.

“Our plan was definitely different. We hoped for another big group, and I just wanted to make sure I am in with going early. When we have been three in front, I still hoped a group would join, but when Wout dropped back it was pretty clear we are going nowhere today. It’s always nice to be on the podium in the Tour, but of course I would have enjoyed it more after a stage win. But I think how we present ourselves here, always active, always aggressive, is a strong statement as a team. We struggled with some health issues the last days, but I am confident we will also play a role in the Pyrenees. For me personally it will be difficult, but our climbers will be up there.” – Nils Politt

“It was a brutal day on the bike. Some of the crashes happened because reactions get slower in this kind of heat. I felt not too bad actually and was in the first group after the last climb. The boys tried to help me and pulled to keep us in front. Some sprinters came back, but we still have been positioned really well on the last kilometers. I am actually happy with the result; I am really tired after those hard mountain stages and really look forward to the rest day tomorrow.” – Danny Van Poppel

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And here's the report from Team DSM:

The final day of racing before the last rest day at the Tour de France saw the peloton take on another 200 kilometre plus long stage from Rodez to Carcassonne. With some rolling terrain there was an air of uncertainty in the peloton whether it would be a day for the sprinters or the breakaway. Despite a fast start in the early kilometres, a trio quickly established itself out front and with the sprint teams spread across the road; it looked as if it would be the former.

The stage was over rolling terrain.

With the day ticking by the team rode well together but the searing heat started to take its toll on the bunch. Unfortunately, Martijn Tusveld was caught up in a crash but he was able to remount his bike and continue. Within the peloton the pace increased over the final categorised climb and the bunch thinned down, with Alberto Dainese, Romain Bardet, Chris Hamilton and Andreas Leknessund making the reduced group of around 50 riders. Leknessund rode really strongly and helped to set a pace at the front, aiming to make it hard for some sprinters and their teams who were chasing behind but ultimately some more riders and teams came back to the bunch; making it around 75 riders strong.

Heading into the finale a new attacking duo held onto a good lead, meaning the pace was up even more. On the twisting and technical run-in Bardet tried to position Dainese but it was hectic in the bunch and Dainese got sandwiched between two riders and had to brake; meaning he was unable to compete fully in the sprint.

“It was a pretty hot day,” explained Dainese. “The start was easier than other days but the last climbs were pretty hard. Trek was pulling a lot and I could stay in the reduced bunch with Romain, Andreas and Chris. We put Andreas to ride and put some pressure on other sprinters and that was a super good job he did. Unluckily in the final it was a big fight to get to the front because every sprinter was almost alone. At around 600 metres to go I got boxed in and had to brake pretty hard, and then couldn’t really sprint. It was a bit unlucky but in the end it was also a super hard day and not easy to get a good position, but I’m proud of how the guys rode.”

Team DSM coach Matt Winston added: “It was a hot one out there today for the guys; in the car it got to 42 degrees at one point. The heat started to affect the race and we saw a few crashes in the peloton, with Martijn involved in a big crash. Then the race really split after that. We came to a situation where the chance for Alberto looked okay so Andreas pulled on the front. Unfortunately, when we came into town Alberto was sandwiched and not really able to do his sprint.”

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