Simon Yates solos to victory as Julian Alaphilippe shows first sign of weakness on dramatic day at Tour de France

John MacLeary
The Telegraph
Simon Yates celebrates as he wins his second stage at this year's Tour de France - REUTERS
Simon Yates celebrates as he wins his second stage at this year's Tour de France - REUTERS

Simon Yates soloed to his second Tour de France victory of the week on stage 15 to the Prat d'Albis as the first cracks appeared in Julian Alaphilippe to bring the battle for the yellow jersey alive.

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Mitchelton-Scott's Yates attacked with 8.7km left of the steep climb above Foix to follow up his victory on Thursday's stage 12 to Bagnères-de-Bigorre.

Behind, Groupama-FDJ's Thibaut Pinot attacked the reduced group of favourites and distanced Geraint Thomas, though the Welshman put in a late dig of his own to ensure he remained above the Frenchman in the general classification.

Alaphilippe finally showed the signs of weakness which have been expected from a rider never considered a contender before the Tour began - but who will enjoy an 11th day in yellow on Tuesday.

The belief that Alaphilippe is to be discounted for the overall now grows and the Tour will resume after Monday's rest day with only 39 seconds separating Thomas in second and Emanuel Buchmann in sixth.

Alaphilippe's advantage over Thomas was cut by 27 seconds to one minute and 35 seconds, but though Thomas moved up he will not be celebrating too much after seeing his rivals race up the road in front of him for a second consecutive day.

Pinot attacked with seven kilometres left and picked up 55 seconds on Thomas, while Thomas' own team-mate Egan Bernal gained 31 seconds after initially keeping up with Pinot.

After the stage, Thomas said he felt much better than he did on the Tourmalet a day earlier, but chose not to attack at the end as he did not want to help rivals catch Bernal.

"I felt better than yesterday but I needed to try to pace it when it all kicked off..." he said.

"It's a difficult one, tactics wise - I wanted to go, I had the legs to go but I wasn't going to chase down Egan Bernal with Alaphilippe on my wheel."

Jumbo-Visma's Steven Kruijswijk stuck with Thomas to remain 12 seconds further back in third place but Pinot is now just a further three seconds behind in fourth.

Yates did not need to worry about the battles unfolding behind him as he took another superb victory.

With his brother Adam's general classification hopes effectively ended in a dismal day on the Tourmalet on Saturday, Simon was free to go stage hunting again.

The 26-year-old was active in a large breakaway which included several riders licking their wounds from the previous day, with Nairo Quintana, Dan Martin, and Romain Bardet all involved.

Simon Geschke attacked from the group on the steep Mur de Péguère around 45km from the finish of the 185km stage from Limoux, but Yates joined him at the summit and they raced clear of the rest.

Yates then struck out for victory early on the final climb, having the power to hold both a surging Mikel Landa and the late attack of Pinot at bay.

"I'm very proud of what I did there," Yates said. "It was extremely hard from the start to the finish today but I raced how I like to, which is aggressive and I managed to pull it off.

"Today was the other day I had a chance for the stage win and I took it with both hands."

But as much as Yates, this was also Pinot's day.

Twenty-four hours after his victory on the Tourmalet, the 29-year-old made clear it is he, and not Alaphilippe, who is France's best chance of ending a 34-year wait for a home winner on the Tour.
PA

 

3:59PM

Thomas gains time on Alaphilippe

Geraint Thomas has crossed the cloud-covered line and will keep his second place on general classification after gaining time on Julian Alaphilippe, but the defending champion will trail the Frenchman by 1min 25sec going into Monday's rest day. Despite once again being second best to man of the moment Thibaut Pinot, who climbed to fourth – 1min 50sec off the pace of Alaphilippe – the Welshman will be buoyed by his late fightback that may just have saved his Tour de France. Steven Kruijswijk who kept hold of his third place after finishing the stage in eighth place on the same time as Thomas.

3:57PM

Pinot takes bonus seconds

Thibaut Pinot finishes second to earn himself a 6sec time bonus with Mikel Landa taking third, both 33sec behind stage winner Simon Yates.

3:57PM

Yates wins anther Tour de France stage from a breakaway!

Simon Yates has done it, the boy from Bury who came to the Tour to ride in support of his twin brother Adam, is suddenly the main man for Mitchelton-Scott who have now won three stage at this year's race.

3:56PM

500 metres to go

Simon Yates will win today's stage in a short while, his second at this year's Tour de France. But what of Thibaut Pinot, how much time will the Frenchman be gaining on defending champion Geraint Thomas?

3:55PM

Thomas attacks!

Geraint Thomas is back in the game. Oh my. The Welshman has attacked the maillot jaune, taking with him Steven Kruijswijk, Alejandro Valverde and Richie Porte (remember him?) but the overall leader going into today's stage Julian Alaphilippe is off the back.

<span>Geraint Thomas (left) responds, taking with him Alejandro Valverde (centre) and Richie Porte</span> <span>Credit: Getty Images </span>
Geraint Thomas (left) responds, taking with him Alejandro Valverde (centre) and Richie Porte Credit: Getty Images

3:53PM

1.5km to go

Thibaut Pinot has caught Mikel Landa.

3:53PM

2km to go

There are no images of Simon Yates, who I think will win the stage here today, as the French television production company show pictures of their main man Thibaut Pinot as he edges ever closer to Mikel Landa.

<span>The lesser-spotted Simon Yates climbs towards the summit finish atop Foix Prat d'Albis</span> <span>Credit: EPA </span>
The lesser-spotted Simon Yates climbs towards the summit finish atop Foix Prat d'Albis Credit: EPA

3:51PM

2.5km to go

This is unbelievable. Thibaut Pinot is gasping for breath and is climbing higher, possibly within distance of Mikel Landa now.

3:50PM

3km to go

Julian Alaphilippe has now been caught by Geraint Thomas who is on the radio to his team car.

3:50PM

3.5km to go

Thibaut Pinot is doing the ride of his life. Well, the biggest ride of his life since yesterday's monumental victory atop the Tourmalet, and is alternating between standing high in his pedals and pressing from the saddle. Up, down, up, down. It ain't too pretty, but it's effective.

<span>Thibaut Pinot rides off in pursuit of Mikel Landa</span> <span>Credit: Getty Images </span>
Thibaut Pinot rides off in pursuit of Mikel Landa Credit: Getty Images

3:48PM

Bernal is dropped! 

Thibaut Pinot kicks again. Egan Bernal is dropped, but can he get back on? 

3:47PM

4km to go

And boom. Thibaut Pinot dispatches Emanuel Buchmann with another kick, but Egan Bernal is on his wheel though appears to be refusing to work. With team-mate Geraint Thomas further down the road the young Colombian is in a bit of a predicament here: combine with Pinot and Buchmann and he will face a dressing down from his team management; do nothing and he may miss out on the chance of making the podium in Paris.

3:46PM

4.5km to go

Thibaut Pinot, Egan Bernal and Emanuel Buchmann are off up the road, Julian Alaphilippe is a few seconds down the road while Geraint Thomas is few bike lengths back – difficult to gauge the time difference.

3:45PM

Alaphilippe cracks! 

Thibaut Pinot is floating. The Groupama-FDJ rider is putting time into the maillot jaune, but the Frenchman has Egan Bernal for company.

3:44PM

5.5km to go

Sébastien Reichenbach leads this group and he has Thibaut Pinot on his wheel. Egan Bernal is there as is Alaphilippe and Emanuel Buchmann. Geraint Thomas is losing an awful lot of time here. 

3:42PM

6km to go | Pinot attacks!

And Thibaut Pinot has opened it up, Julain Alaphilippe chases but Geraint Thomas cannot follow. Sébastien Reichenbach is there for team-mate Pinot, lovely planning there from Groupama-FDJ. 

3:41PM

6.2km to go

Mikel Landa catches Simon Geschke and just rides through. The Basque is around one minute behind the stage leader Simon Yates now.

3:40PM

6.5km to go

Lennard Kämna has now been dropped by Mikel Landa who now trails stage leader Simon Yates by 1min 15sec. Warren Barguil falls out of the back of the maillot jaune's group following that big effort from David Gaudu.

3:38PM

7km to go

For the second day running and David Gaudu has moved to the front of the maillot jaune's group, the young French climber working for team-mate Thibaut Pinot. Jumbo-Visma are on their wheels, followed by Geraint Thomas. Julian Alaphilippe grimaces, but is holding on.

3:36PM

7.5km 

Mikel Landa took with him Romain Bardet and Lennard Kämna, but the Frenchman cracked shortly after and he's pedalling squares.

3:35PM

8km to go

Mikel Landa has edged to the front of the chasing group and is once again on his drops,  out of his saddle and pushing on. The Movistar rider is increasing the pace, that injection of speed causing a few splits in that group.

3:34PM

8.7km to go | Yates attacks!

And boom. Simon Yates has attacked and the Mitchelton-Scott rider dropped Simon Geschke like a stone. He's off up the road and looking sprightly.

3:32PM

9km to go

Simon Geschke and Simon Yates continue to work well toghether, the Briton looking strong.

3:31PM

9.5km to go

The Jumbo-Visma-powered group is eating into Simon Geschke and Simon Yates' lead which has dropped to 2min 40sec. Mikel Landa, meanwhile, has caught team-mate Nairo Quintana and the second group on the road. The Basque makes no eye contact with the Colombian and just rides past him.

3:30PM

10km to go

Mikel Landa loses team-mate Marc Soler, but still has Andrey Amador for company.

3:28PM

11km to go

Andrey Amador and Marc Soler are working for Mikel Landa who is hoping to catch Colombian team-mate Nairo Quintana pretty soon. 

3:27PM

12km to go

Simon Geschke and Simon Yates have a lead of 1min 36sec over Romain Bardet's chasing group that now comprises 10 riders. Mikel Landa et al are another 30sec down the road while the maillot jaune is another minute back.

<span>Simon Geschke (left) and Simon Yates combine as they work together on the front</span> <span>Credit: REUTERS </span>
Simon Geschke (left) and Simon Yates combine as they work together on the front Credit: REUTERS

3:25PM

15km to go

Not for the first time this afternoon, Romain Bardet has words with Nairo Quintana. The Ag2r-La Mondiale rider looks a little frustrated, but not sure if the source of that frustration is the fault of his co-riders or the fact that he hasn't performed to the level he knows he is capable of at this year's race.

3:21PM

16km to go

Julian Alaphilippe drops back to his team car to collect a gel or two before the final push of the day for the race leader. Back on the front of the race Simon Yates and Simon Geschke are working well together as their led on the maillot jaune increases out to 3min 45sec.

3:19PM

18km to go

Jumbo-Visma still has a trio of rider on the front of the maillot jaune's group. Tucked in behind is world champion Alejandro Valverde and the defending champion Geraint Thomas. Thibaut Pinot is next in that group, the Frenchman supported by a posse of team-mates.

3:17PM

20km to go

All to race for here today. Romain Bardet is now soft pedalling and his group don't appear too committed to the chase. 

3:14PM

22km to go

Mikel Landa has managed to catch a pair of Movistar team-mates – Andrey Amador and Marc Soler – who were in the earlier breakaway. The trio are now in pursuit of their other man up the road, Nairo Quintana.

3:11PM

25km to go

There are a few patches of damp looking road so praying everybody get get off this descent safely. A few moments ago Alexey Lutsenko lost his rear wheel, but managed to stay upright. 

3:10PM

27km to go

Simon Yates has managed to catch Simon Geschke, the pair leading this thrilling stage on the eve of the second rest day at this most unpredictable edition of the Tour de France. Romain Bardet, Sébastien Reichenbach, Alexey Lutsenko and Nairo Quintana are in pursuit, while the maillot jaune trials by 3min 4sec.

3:03PM

35km to go

Julian Alaphilippe et al have gone over the top, trailing Simon Geschke by 2min 35sec. Stuck inbetwwen somewhere is Romain Bardet, Sébastien Reichenbach, Alexey Lutsenko and Nairo Quintana. Bardet is gesturing with the others willing them on to work, but he's getting no help.

3:01PM

36km to go

Back in the Julian Alaphilippe group the Jumbo-Visma trio are now controlling the pace as they sweep up Omar Fraile, formerly of the breakaway. The maillot jaune is isolated, whereas Geraint Thomas has two team-mates in Wout Poels and Egan Bernal.

2:59PM

38km to go

Mikel Landa is doing what an in-form Mikel Landa does best. He's out of his saddle, on the drops, and is making easy work of this vertiginous looking slope. Simon Geschke is about to hit the summit.

2:57PM

39km to go

For the second day running Jumbo-Visma has three riders – George Bennett, Laurens De Plus and Steven Kruijswijk – in the maillot jaune's group. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ, Fra) is in there too; he's just watching the wheels. Simon Yates, meanwhile, has clipped off the front of the leading group and is off in pursuit of stage leader Simon Geschke. It is carnage on this horribly steep climb with riders littered all over the place.

2:53PM

39.5km to go

Ineos are losing riders. Jonathan Castroviejo, Michal Kwiatkowski and Dylan van Baarle have both lost contact which is very bad news for Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal. Simon Geschke leads the maillot jaune by 3min 2sec

2:50PM

40.3km to go

Mikel Landa is looking comfortable on these steep, steep slopes. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana, Den), who lost further time on general classification on Saturday, held the Basque's wheel for a short while but he's starting to suffer now. 

2:49PM

40.5km to go

Mikel Landa opens up his legs and has drifted off the front of the maillot jaune's group. It's a very narrow road, just slightly wider than a team car.

2:47PM

41km to go

Elia Viviani has popped now. Julian Alaphilippe could be isolated pretty soon, but he's a specialist on the really steep climbs so he may be okay here today.

2:45PM

42km to go

Deceuninck-Quick Step lose one of their riders, Kasper Asgreen I think, just as the television pictures show a roadsign letting the riders towards the front of the race know that the gradients are about to reach 18 per cent.

2:41PM

44km to go

The maillot jaune of Julian Alaphilippe has four Deceuninck-Quick Step team-mate – Kasper Asgreen, Dries Devenyns, Yves Lampaert and quite surprisingly Elia Viviani – pulling on the front of the peloton as it edges up this climb. As a result of their work, the gap on stage leader Simon Geschke has dropped to 3min 40sec.

2:34PM

46km to go

Simon Geschke rolls off the front of the breakaway, but the bearded German is another 8km from the summit and has some of the world's best climbers in his wake and so I imagine he will be caught pretty soon. Mind you, I seem to remember saying something similar back in 2015 when the then Giant-Alpecin rider went off up the road to win on Pra-Loup. That win which came 1,460 days ago was the German's last victory.

2:26PM

50km to go

Movistar has three riders – Andrey Amador, Marc Soler and Nairo Quintana – driving the pace on the front. Just 3km until they hit the bottom of the brutish Mur de Péguère where the final stretch goes into double digits. We could see some riders dropped here, but they will get the opportunity the get back on once over the other side where there's a wide sweeping descent which is fairly fast.

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2:19PM

60km to go | Quintana second in virtual GC

Following that earlier wobble, Nairo Quintana has managed to get back into the leading group. Thanks to their 5min advantage over the maillot jaune and the fact that the Movistar rider is the highest-placed rider on general classification in this break, the Colombian is now the second rider on virtual GC. Meaning, if the stage were to end right now he would leapfrog himself above Geraint Thomas and would trail Julian Alaphilippe by just 1min 58sec. Deceuninck-Quick Step really need to start riding soon, maybe Ineos will start to worry too?

2:12PM

64km to go

Romain Bardet attacks . . . and he takes 10 points atop of the category one Port de Lers in the mountains classification. As hinted at earlier, I think Bardet may now be focusing on the polka dot jersey after shipping an age of time during Saturday's stage to the top of the Tourmalet.

2:06PM

66km to go

Omar Fraile is riding hard on the front of the leading group – 5min 10sec on the maillot jaune – and the decent group that includes Andrey Amador, Romain Bardet, Giulio Ciccone, Jesús Herrada, Lennard Kämna, Roman Kreuziger, Alexey Lutsenko, Rudy Molard, Sébastien Reichenbach, Nicholas Roche and Simon Yates is around 2km from the summit. Nairo Quintana has team-mate Marc Soler helping him chase back. The little Colombian is not out of this yet.

1:56PM

69km to go

Nairo Quintana is struggling. He was the highest-placed rider on general classification in that leading group, but it looks like his day is done.

1:51PM

71km to go | Mas is dropped!

Bad news for Julian Alaphilippe and Deceuninck-Quick Step. Spanish climber Enric Mas has been dropped by the main peloton, presumably the 24 year-old who is expected to be joining Movistar next season is still suffering following yesterday's exertions. Whatever the reason, that's a huge surprise, especially when you consider their sprinter Elia Viviani is still holding the wheels as Deceuninck-Quick Step continue to control the pace of the peloton which now trails the 16-man leading group by a shade over four minutes.

<span>Elia Viviani (centre) does a fine impression of a mountain domestique, the sprinter riding on behalf of team leader Julian Alaphilippe</span> <span>Credit: Getty Images </span>
Elia Viviani (centre) does a fine impression of a mountain domestique, the sprinter riding on behalf of team leader Julian Alaphilippe Credit: Getty Images

1:45PM

73km to go

Rudy Molard and Sébastien Reichenbach have managed to catch Simon Yates, the trio has Alexey Lutsenko and Nicholas Roche for company.

1:44PM

74km to go

Simon Yates appears to have packed his legs today, the Mitchelton-Scott rider having rolled off the front and looking very comfortable. Groupama-FDJ team-mates Rudy Molard and Sébastien Reichenbach are chasing, but are probably not thinking about their own chances here, but instead about positioning themselves for later in the day when they can drop back to help team-mate Thibaut Pinot should he feel like having another crack at the stage win or more likely attempt to gain some more seconds in the race for the general classification.

1:41PM

75km to go

While I was away from my desk for a couple of minutes a split formed in the leading group. As the riders edge their way up the category one Port de Lers climb that gap will, I'm almost certain, grow further.

1:27PM

82.5km to go

The breakaway's advantage has grown out to 3min 25sec.

1:18PM

Matthews climbs to third in points classification 

Around 250 metres from the line Damiano Caruso opened up a sprint, presumably in an effort to deny Michael Matthews and in turn defend team-mate Sonny Colbrelli's second place in the points classification.  The Italian's efforts, though, were in vain and Matthews in the end took the lion's share of the points after beating Nils Politt to the line with Caruso taking third. Here are the details in the form of a table:

But what has that done to the points classification?

1:10PM

95km to go

The breakaway is around 4km away from the next key point in the stage, the intermediate sprint in Tarascon-sur-Ariège. There's no Peter Sagan in the leading group, but there is a Michael Matthews who will leapfrog  Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick Step, Ita) into third place in the points classification if he wins the 20 points up for grabs.

1:06PM

That breakaway in full

Andrey Amador (Movistar, Crc), Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale, Fra), Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo, Fra), Pello Bilbao (Astana, Spa), Maxime Bouet (Arkéa-Samsic, Fra), Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Merida, Ita), Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo, Ita), Tony Gallopin (Ag2r-La Mondiale, Fra), Omar Fraile (Astana, Spa), Mathias Frank (Ag2r-La Mondiale, Swi), Simon Geschke (CCC Team, Ger), Jesús Herrada (Cofidis Solutions Crédits, Spa), Amund Grondahl Jansen (Jumbo-Visma, Nor), Lennard Kämna (Sunweb, Ger), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe, Aut), Roman Kreuziger (Dimension Data, Cze), Alexey Lutsenko (Astana, Kaz), Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates, Irl), Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Gobert, Fra), Michael Matthews (Sunweb, Aus), Amaël Moinard (Arkéa-Samsic, Fra), Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ, Fra), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo, Hol), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida, Ita), Anthony Perez (Cofidis Solutions Crédits, Fra), Pierre-Luc Périchon (Cofidis Solutions Crédits, Fra), Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin, Ger), Nairo Quintana (Movistar, Col), Sébastien Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ, Swi), Nicholas Roche (Sunweb, Irl), Romain Sicard (Total-Direct Énergie, Fra), Marc Soler (Movistar, Spa), Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-Merida, Slo), Michael Woods (EF Education First, Can), Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott, GB) and Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin, Rus). Their gap is holding at around 3min 20sec.

12:56PM

107km to go

The leading group has just got even bigger and, as it stands, just three teams are not represented: Ineos, Deceuninck-Quick Step and Lotto-Soudal. This 36-man breakaway leads the peloton by 2min 30sec and I am still working on the list of riders. I promise I will have the details with you very soon.

12:47PM

115km to go

Once over the top of that category two climb, the stage leaders – whose advantage has increased to 2min 30sec – are heading towards a valley which takes them to the intermediate sprint in the small town of Tarascon-sur-Ariège.  

12:43PM

124.49km to go

Michael Wood goes over the Col de Montségur ahead of Vincenzo Nibali and Romain Bardet to open his account in the mountains classification. Interestingly, the two points picked up by Bardet were also his first in the competition. He contested that mountain-top sprint fairly aggressively, but does that mean the Ag2r-La Mondiale leader has recalibrated his goals and is focusing on the polka dot jersey?

12:33PM

126km to go

The leading bunch has swelled to around 30 riders and has an advantage of 1min 30sec. This stage is going to be very, very interesting. In this lead group are a handful of riders hoping to save their Tours today, while the presence others may sow the seeds of doubt into the minds of the Deceuninck-Quick Step riders who are working today top protest Julian Alaphilippe's maillot jaune. Ineos, meanwhile, will be happy to follow the wheels of Deceuninck-Quick Step. For the moment, at least.

12:27PM

128km to go

The leading group comprises around 25 riders – I'll get the full list of names if and when this settles down – but there are some heavyweight hitters in here: Nairo Quintana (Movistar, Col) is in there, as is Vincenzo Nibali, Romain Bardet and Pello Bilbao.

12:24PM

129km to go

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott, GB), not for the first time today, has popped up near the front of the field. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo, Ita) is there too, as is Romain Bardet. The presence of some very strong riders here has not set the alarm bells ringing in the peloton which seems a little odd and they appear to have created a decent-sized gap.

12:21PM

130km to go

The two pelotons have regrouped and so Lotto-Soudal man Tim Wellens, resplendent in the maillot à pois, no longer trails by a minute.

12:17PM

132km to go

Damiano Caruso is peering over his left shoulder having managed to escape off the front, but the Sicilian rider is being chased by Magnus Cort, Amund Grondahl Jansen (Jumbo-Visma, Nor) and Lennard Kämna (Sunweb, Ger) while the peloton is not too far behind.

12:09PM

138km to go

And Michael Schär was the next to go . . . but his move was soon extinguished. Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal, Bel), the leader in the mountains classification, is in the second group on the road which trails the main pack by 58sec. With the first climb of the day incoming, the category two Col de Montségur, that's not great news for the Belgian.

12:02PM

145km to go

As the riders continue to rise up along a wooded road more and more riders are starting to struggle, falling one-by-one no doubt already thinking about forming the gruppetto for the day.

11:57AM

147km to go

Caleb Ewan(Lotto-Soudal, Aus) is the latest to be dropped and the Aussie sprinter will soon be joining up with team-mate Roger Kluge. There are some big, big names looking the form a breakaway now. Thomas De Gendt and Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale, Fra) are in there, while Pello Bilbao (Astana, Spa) is looking to bridge over.

11:51AM

152km to go

Vincenzo Nibali(Bahrain-Merida, Ita) attacked briefly, but the Shark of Messina's move came to nothing. 

11:47AM

155km to go

Serge Pauwels (CCC Team, Bel) surges off the front. The Belgian was in the breakaway with Simon Yates et al  during stage 12, but was unable to hold the wheels on the final climb.

11:43AM

158km to go

Roger Kluge (Lotto-Soudal, Ger) pops out of the back while at the other end of the stage – at the pointy end of the peloton – Astana are looking lively. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana, Kaz) is up towards the front with Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida, Bel), stage winner on the steep uphill finish on La Planche des Belles Filles, riding in his wheel.

<span>Stage 16 got off to a lively start but, as yet, a breakaway has failed to stick</span> <span>Credit: Getty Images </span>
Stage 16 got off to a lively start but, as yet, a breakaway has failed to stick Credit: Getty Images

11:41AM

159km to go

Michael Woods (EF Education First, Can) is the next rider to give it a go. The former runner gives his legs a stretch and puts some space between himself and the peloton which is fairly strung out as a result of the rapid pace being set at the start of this stage.

11:39AM

160km to go

Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin, Rus), for the second day running, briefly attempted to clip off the front, but to no avail.

11:36AM

162km to

The peloton has regrouped and after 20 kilometres of today's potentially huge day in the race for the general classification, it is stalemate on the front.

11:29AM

167km to go

As predicted, this race will just not settle down. Benoît Cosnefroy, Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe, Ita), Nicholas Roche (Sunweb, Irl), Lukasz Wisniowski (CCC Team, Pol) now lead by a handful of seconds while Marco Haller (Katusha-Alpecin, Aut) is chasing down this quartet.

11:22AM

175km to go

Sven Erik Bystrom (UAE Team Emirates, Nor) rode through the escapees and briefly led the race, but the 27 year-old was quickly reined back in by a fresh quartet comprising Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Merida, Ita), Anthony Delaplace (Arkéa-Samsic, Fra), Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r-La Mondiale, Fra) and Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Gobert, Ita).

11:17AM

178km to go

Jesús Herrada(Cofidis Solutions Crédits, Spa) and Benoît Cosnefroy (Ag2r-La Mondiale, Fra) were the next two riders to attempt to form a break, but the duo were reined back in. Magnus Cort (Astana, Den) counter-attacks and takes with him Michael Schär (CCC Team, Swi) before Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal, Bel), Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-Merida, Slo), Fabien Grellier (Total-Direct Énergie, Fra) bridge over to form a leading quintet. A very lively start and one that may not have settled down just yet.

11:12AM

182km to go

Ok folks, straight from the flag a number of riders attacked off the front of the peloton and you will not be surprised to discover breakaway specialist Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal, Bel) was involved. Today is a day suited to a break, but with a number of teams having seen their general classification hopes take a battering over the last few days, there could be some big names trying to get into today's breakaway.

11:10AM

And they're off!

Today's racing is under way.

11:06AM

Welcome all

Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage 15 of the 106th edition of the Tour de France, the 185km run from Limoux to Foix.

Very little build-up to today's stage. Here's the stage profile . . .

Stage 15 - How to follow the 2019 Tour de France online, on live TV and through daily episodes of The Cycling Podcast
Stage 15 - How to follow the 2019 Tour de France online, on live TV and through daily episodes of The Cycling Podcast

 . . . and here's what is offer in the race for the polka dot jersey . . . 

 . . . and for those chasing the points jersey, there's this: 

10:55AM

Where are we?

Here's a reminder of the route of this year's Tour de France . . .

     . . . and here are the details of each and every stage at this year's race:

10:55AM

As it stands . . . 

Here's what the standings look like in the general, points, mountains, young rider and team classifications after 14 days of racing.

10:55AM

The Cycling Podcast: re-cap of yesterday's stage 

This most enthralling Tour de France took another twist on the Col du Tourmalet and Richard Moore, Lionel Birnie and François Thomazeau were there to witness the stage and record their thoughts as the race unfolded.

The first big question asked of Julian Alaphilippe, the race leader, was whether he would cope on the first hors categorie mountain of the Tour, and the first time this race has gone above 2,000 metres.

We asked a range of people whether they thought Alaphilippe could win the Tour, we ask what happened to Geraint Thomas and weigh up whether Alaphilippe or Thibaut Pinot are the most likely of the French contenders to win the race.

  • The Cycling Podcast is supported by Rapha and Science In Sport

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