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Monday, July 17, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

The theory of evolution, like the theory of gravity, is a scientific fact. - Neil deGrasse Tyson

Tour de France: 2022

Bill & Carol McGann’s book The Story of the Tour de France, 2022: The Fastest Tour Ever is available as 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 15 reports

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

Here’s the report from stage winner Wout Poels' Team Bahrain Victorious:

On his tenth Tour de France, Wout Poels soloed to his first-ever Grand Tour stage win atop Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc on stage 15 of the Tour de France. The 35-year-old Dutch rider added his dream to his Palmares, which includes a monument win at Liège Bastogne Liège in 2016.

Wout Poels about to win stage 15. Sirotti photo

Poels joined the day’s breakaway with a group of over 30 riders, including teammate Mikel Landa and with around 50km to go, Poels followed Van Aert (Jumbo Visma) to latch on an earlier move made by Soler (UAE) on Col des Aravis. As the three closed in on the penultimate climb, Côtes des Amerands, Poels launched his attack leaving Van Aert behind and soloing to victory securing Team Bahrain Victorious’ second stage win at this year’s Tour de France.

Poels, in disbelief, commented: “I always dreamed to win a stage at the Tour. I won a Monument and now a stage in the Tour. When you are young, you dream of it, look at all the people watching on tv and at the side of the road. The Tour is the Tour.

"I’ve had great memories at this race; this is my tenth. I’ve always worked for people, so it’s incredible to have my chance and achieve this dream. Yesterday I tried, and we didn’t manage to get much time, but today I went all in again. In the beginning, I wasn’t happy the group was so big, but we kept going, and I just had to follow the right moves, and when I saw Van Aert following Soler on the downhill, I knew that was my ticket.

"I wanted to enjoy it in the last kilometre, but it was really steep, so I really kept going to the line, and what a hard stage to win. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions for the team in the last month, and I still can’t believe it. It’s special to achieve this in honour of Gino.”

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Here's the report from second-place Wout van Aert's team Jumbo-Visma:

Wout van Aert has missed out on a stage win in the 15th stage of the Tour de France. The rider of Team Jumbo-Visma had to concede the lead to Wout Poels on the summit of the Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc. Jonas Vingegaard retained the yellow leader's jersey.

Wout van Aert headed to a second-place finish. Sirotti photo

Van Aert attacked almost immediately during the stage involving more than four thousand altimetres. A crash involving Sepp Kuss, Dylan van Baarle and Nathan Van Hooydonck paralysed the peloton before a large group of riders, including Van Aert, broke away. This group eventually fought for the stage win.

In the closing stages, Van Aert, along with Poels and Marc Soler, broke away from his escape companions. In the blink of an eye, the trio rode away from the rest of the peloton. The final two climbs saw a man-to-man battle, with Poels proving the strongest.

Trailing by a few minutes, Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar fought again for every metre. The Danish yellow jersey wearer fended off an attack and stayed on the wheel of the Slovenian. The pair eventually crossed the line side by side. As a result, Vingegaard takes a 10-second lead into the final week of the Tour de France.

"I had high hopes of winning the stage today”, Van Aert said. "But the last climb showed who was the strongest. I preferred to go into the last climb with a lead, but Poels was much better today. I couldn't answer his attack. Then I rode at my own pace, hoping to catch Poels, but the power left my legs. I didn't want to give up, so I fought until the end. It was nice to be part of the day's breakaway again. I like aggressive and attractive racing. The morale is still high, so we will keep chasing our goals.

Vingegaard had another strong day and rode with a lot of confidence. "This was, for the umpteenth time, a fight on the edge. It should be beautiful for the spectators to watch. In the end, we can be happy with the result. I felt good today. I felt that I could answer Tadej's pinpricks relatively easily. I can see that I am getting better every day.”

"I look forward to the final week with confidence", Vingegaard continued. "Starting with the time trial on Tuesday. We have explored the course, and there are possibilities. I'm looking forward to it. We feel strong and believe we can win another Tour. Now we are ready for the rest day. After that, we will continue in good spirits, hoping to achieve our goals.”

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Here's the report from GC third-place Carlos Rodriguez's Team INEOS Grenadiers:

Carlos Rodriguez backed up his victory on Saturday with another rousing ride to extend his third place advantage at the Tour de France.

The Spaniard was well supported by his team-mates across another gruelling mountain test, arriving at the foot of the final climb on stage 15 looking strong.

The Grenadier set his own tempo when the race's lead duo of Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar forged on ahead, but was able to ride back to the pair inside the final pair of kilometres. Rodriguez paced the yellow jersey and his closest rival into the final kilometre, in a bid to limit his losses to Adam Yates (UAE-Team Emirates).

Rodriguez now sits third by 19 seconds as the race arrives at the second rest day. Yates jumped up one place to fourth overall after Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) lost contact on the Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc finale.

Carlos Rodriguez finishes stage 15. Sirotti photo

Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) retained his 10-second lead over Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), with Carlos now 5:21 back.

Tom Pidcock battled back from feeling unwell and limited his losses well on the final climb. He now holds 12th overall.

Rodriguez was supported into the closing stages by Jonathan Castroviejo, with Omar Fraile dropping back from the day's break to lend additional help. Former team rider Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious) won solo from the day's break, taking a popular victory.

A mass crash earlier in the stage saw Egan Bernal go down briefly, but the Colombian was quickly back up and able to return to the peloton during a furious opening phase.

Tom Pidcock:
“It was hard!

“Carlos Is doing a fantastic job and today again, really good job. He won his first stage of the Tour yesterday then he does a good ride again today. Super impressive.

“To be honest I felt a bit sick at the start. I felt terrible to be honest, but by the end I came round. I still managed to kick my own head in on that final climb.”

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And here's the report from Jai Hindley's Team Bora-hansgrohe:

A last demanding stage in the Alps ended the second week of racing at the Tour de France. After a long fight for the break, eventually almost 40 riders went clear and BORA – hansgrohe had two riders up front with Marco Haller and Nils Politt. Of course, on such terrain the chance for a stage win was very little and the idea was more to have both of them in the finale to support Jai Hindley. With about 40km remaining Marco and Nils were caught from a first bunch were also Bob Jungels, Patrick Konrad and Emanuel Buchmann were still with Jai.

Unfortunately, Emu crashed in the last descent of the day approaching the final climb. But also for Jai it was another difficult day after his crash yesterday. He lost contact with the yellow jersey group at about 7km to the top. While W. Poels took the stage win from the breakaway, Jai crossed the line in 25th place almost 2’ behind the yellow jersey. Before the second rest day Jai is now 5th in GC 1:17 behind the podium.

Jai Hindley is almost to the finish line. Sirotti photo

From the finish line
“It was another hard day out there and obviously not my best one. It’s hard to say how much the crash yesterday affected me but I suffered a lot again. Of course, fatigue does accumulate through three hard days in the mountains, but normally that plays to my advantage. Unfortunately, not today. But anyway, there was nothing more we could do. I tried my best, gave it my all, and now it’s all about recovering on the rest day. Although the podium is still within reach, I‘m focusing on recovering for now, because I’ll only have a chance when I am back to my best.” – Jai Hindley

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