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[VIDEO] Tour de France Stage 15 Results: Greipel takes third sprint victory

Roar Guru
19th July, 2015
2015 Tour de France – General Classification after Stage 14:
01. Christopher Froome (Sky)… 56:02:19″
02. Nairo Quintana (Movistar)… +3:10″
03. Tejay Van Garderen (BMC)… +3:32″
04. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)… +4:02″
05. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo)… +4:23″
06. Geraint Thomas (Sky)… +4:54″
07. Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo)… +6:23″
08. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)… +8:17″
09. Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal)… +8:23″
10. Bauke Mollema (Trek)… +8:53″
The peloton heads uphill for Stage 17. (Photo: Team Sky)
Roar Guru
19th July, 2015
174
1390 Reads

STAGE RESULTS

Andre Greipel has confirmed his standing as the fastest sprinter of the 2015 Tour De France after taking out his third sprint stage in a dominant display at the finish of Stage 15.

The 183km stage from Mende to Valence was eventful from the start, with a huge breakaway of 29 riders initially escaping the peloton.

Unhappy they missed out on the party and wanting to set things up for Alexander Kristoff, Katusha pulled hard on the front of the peloton to reel the very dangerous group back in.

>>REPORT: Greipel secures Tour de France triple

Eventually a smaller break of 9 formed, including Green Jersey holder Peter Sagan and his teammates Michael Rogers, World Champion Michal Kwitkowski, 2012 Giro winner Ryder Hesjedal, Thibault Pinot and Orica GreenEdge’s Adam Yates.

While the action took place with the breaks at the front and the peloton set and average pace upwards of 47km/h on the hilly first half of the stage, a number of riders, including Mark Cavendish, fell off the back and never saw the main field again.

It never looked like a day for the breakaway either as the sprint teams of Katusha and Europcar pushed the race along at a gruellingly fast pace.

After Sagan took the honours at the intermediate checkpoint to further extend his lead in the points classification, the speed of the break noticeably slowed.

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The catch became inevitable on the slopes of the Col de l’Escrinet as their lead dipped below a minute with over 60km to go.

That didn’t stop first Matteo Trentin and then Ryder Hesjedal raging against the dying light on the descent of the l’Escrinet but they were caught with 29km remaining after the race hit the flat run into the finish line.

From there the sprint teams looked to set up their big guns for a bunch finish but not before one last solo attack from Etixx Quickstep rider Zdenek Stybar, who looked to emulate Tony Martin’s Stage 4 victory, attacking with 5km to go.

However the finish came 1km too late for Stybar and from there it only ever looked like one man could take the win: Andre ‘The Gorilla’ Greipel.

In an ultimate showing of power the German launched his sprint early, out paced Giant-Alpecine’s John Degenkolb, who positioned himself perfectly on Greipel’s wheel and also managed to rally a second time to hold off Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff and Peter Sagan.

Greipel, who is in the best form of his life takes his third stage win for the Tour and will go into the final stage as favourite to take the coveted win on the Champs Elysee.

Mercifully the peloton made it through the day with no crashes and no changes to the overall standings and no change was made in the King of the Mountains either.

The only real loser for the day was Mark Cavendish who got left behind early and will be ruing the chance to match it with the other sprinters on a rare flat finish for this Tour.

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STAGE RESULTS
1. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal)
2. John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin)
3. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha)
4. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo)
5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka)

SPRINER’S POINTS CLASSIFICATION
1. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) – 360pts
2. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) – 316pts
3. John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) – 264pts
4. Mark Cavendih (Etixx-Quickstep) – 192pts
5. Bryan Coquard (Europecar) – 122pts

STAGE PREVIEW

It’s the last chance for the sprinters to make their mark before Paris, as the Tour de France travels from Mende to Valence for Stage 15. Join The Roar from 10:00pm AEST for live updates and commentary.

The 183km stage starts out in the hills but after a long descent down the Col de la Croix and the punch category 2 Col De l’Escrinet there will be 60km of flat roads for the sprint trains to assemble.

While the initial hilly terrain and cat 2 climb up l’Escrinet could be fruitful grounds for a breakaway to push out a gap, the numerous sprint teams will be hitting the flats at full gas for one of their last opportunities at a stage win.

Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), Mark Cavendish (Etixx Quickstep) and John Degenkolb (Giant Alpecin) will be particularly desperate to take the stage win.

In the Pyrenees Greipel lost his initial lead in the Sprinter’s classification to Peter Sagan and quickly needs to take some points if he wants to have any chance of regaining the Green Jersey before Paris.

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For Cavendish and Degenkolb it is all about salvaging disappointing Tours for themselves and in Degenkolb’s case, his team.

In recent years Giant have been able to rely on Marcel Kittel to bring home a bevy of stage wins and while they will be happy with the results of GC contender Warren Barguil, Degenkolb has not been the replacement for their team leader they hoped, failing to deliver any victories for the team.

There is the chance Giant could combine with another team like Alexander Kristoff’s Katusha on the Col De l’Escrinet to try and burn off the more pure sprinters of Greipel and Cavendish.

An Australian outsider for the day could be Orica GreenEDGE’s Michael Matthews, he has suffered through most of the tour with a fractured rib but has said he is slowly healing and he could well be in the mix, particularly if the peloton drops Etixx or Lotto.

Prediction

The possibility of Cavendish and Greipel being distanced on the Col De l’Escrinet is an intriguing one and I do think some of the better climbing sprinters will give it a go.

However 60km of flat road is just too far to hold off teams as strong as Etixx and Lotto so I think everything will come back together for a fully contested bunch sprint.

From there I see the Manx Missile, Mark Cavendish taking the win, he has only won one stage this Tour and will be desperate to prove he is still the fastest man in the world.

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But what do you think? Let us know in the comments and join us from 10:00pm (AEST) for live updates, commentary and a chat as we follow Stage 15 of the 2015 Tour De France.

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