Sunday July 19th, 2015

Stage 15Mende / Valence

Start 13h05 (Local time)

Key moments





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Stage summary19.07.2015

André Greipel makes it three

Germany's André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) claimed his third stage victory of the 2015 Tour de France as he outsprinted his compatriot John Degenkolb in a bunch gallop in Valence. Stage 15 was again animated by Peter Sagan who increased his lead in the points classification and Thibaut Pinot who confirmed his return to form the day after finishing second in Mende. Chris Froome retained the yellow jersey for the tenth time this year.

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It was a normal day but not a quiet one. The start has been very demanding. It hurt everyone. It would be fabulous to have a quiet day tomorrow. I know the finale. We'll have to pay attention to Froome and to all the other rivals who could attack me. I feel very well, much better than at the Giro I won last year, being sick.

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I went into the breakaway because I wanted to win the stage. But that's never an easy task. I felt good all day. I took a maximum of points in the intermediate sprint. After that, I wanted to insist. When we got caught by the bunch, I focused on the final sprint. I changed bike to use my favorite one for the flat. But sprinting is a bit of a lottery. There was a head wind in the last three kilometers. I tried to get the best position but Greipel was again stronger than me today.
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Hats off to Kathusha who worked all day. We did some work also at the end but I didn't know what to expect with the head wind. In the first 18km today, everything went through my mind, like making the time cut. There were 24 guys up the road and it was so hard. I've had to deal with a different set up today as my lead out men weren't with me [Greg Henderson pulled out and Marcel Sieberg was in the laughing group]. Jens Debusschere was my last man. We talked about the key point and he...

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"Today was another brutal day, really aggressive. I'm still feeling pretty confident for the Alps, they're definitely more suited to me as a rider. For tomorrow I expect more of the same as we have shown all Tour, that we're strong, riding as one unit. Tomorrow is another day pretty suited to Greg (Van Avermaet). As for me I definitely need to stay out of trouble before the Alps."

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It looked like a straight forward stage on paper, an easy day for us and a good day for the sprinters but it wasn't! It was full gas all day. It didn't stop. It ended up being a very tough stage. My team-mates Peter Kennaugh and Richie Porte have had a bit of a cold. It's not up to me to comment on their medical condition but they seem fine. We're still nine riders in the race, that's a big credit to us. With over three minutes lead on GC I'm in a very privileged position. I'm looking...

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Still hurt by his crash two days ago, Jean-Christophe Peraud admitted he was contemplating calling it quits.

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"I made the right effort, I pushed myself hard in the climber. You saw the images. I was just producing my effort to try and return in the slipstream ahead of Kristoff. There were 250 metres left, I was at full speed and Sagan touched my elbow. While I didn't crash, I derailed. That's all. It's the sprint, it's normal, I'm irritated. I tried to fight my way ahead, I'm disappointed. There was a lot of work done and in the end, there isn't even a Top 10 for the team. But there were annoying...

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Questioned by this morning, Lampre-Merida's directeur sportif Philippe Mauduit declared: “Our sprinter Davide Cimolai [Paris-Nice stage winner at Rasteau in the Rhône valley where the race arrives today] has had three very bad days, in Pyrenees and even more after the Pyrenees, but yesterday for the first time, he said he felt better, so it brings some hope. However, it's not sure that today's stage will be a bunch sprint finish, so we won't chase the breakaways only to please...

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Sporting stakes18.07.2015

Frustrated sprinters make the call

In its first fourteen stages, the Tour de France has made some people happy in the peloton but the majority remains disappointed or frustrated. Sprinters top that list. They've had very few opportunities to play on their favorite terrain so far because of some uphill finishes, so only two of them have found the way to glory: André Greipel (twice) and Mark Cavendish. Peter Sagan is yet to win a stage but he has almost secured the green jersey after winning the intermediate sprint of stage 14...

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