Vive le Tour: A 2015 Tour de France gallery

Highlights from Chris Froome's second Tour win

Claudio Chiappucci might believe that the peloton is filled with dull, character-less machines who are only concerned with numbers and only follow wheels, but we think this year's Tour de France offered up a rich spectrum of personalities in addition to Peter Sagan, and plenty of exciting racing.

Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) was the focus of much of the Tour's Utrecht Grand Depart, as the home fans hoped for their man to claim the first maillot jaune, but instead it was Australian Rohan Dennis in the lead after a blazing fast opening time trial.

Crosswinds ripped the race to shreds on the next day, and a number of pre-race favourites lost time, including Alejandro Valverde, Nairo Quintana and Vincenzo Nibali. André Greipel launched what would be a string of four stage victories, and Fabian Cancellara claimed the race lead. But the next stage to the Mur de Huy saw a massive pile-up that left Cancellara with fractures in his back.

The race organisation made the unprecedented decision to halt the racing because all of the medical staff were occupied with crash victims. In the end, the confusion cleared, and Joaquim Rodriguez won the stage over Chris Froome. Cancellara struggled to the finish well behind the race, and Froome took over the race lead.

The drama continued the next day on the cobbles, with Tony Martin overcoming his one second deficit with a solo stage win and finally pulling on the yellow sweater after three stages of being in second place overall. But his luck ran out on stage 6 when a touch of wheels amongst the main GC favourites caused Martin to crash in sight of the finish. His teammate Zdenek Stybar won the stage with no idea that behind, the race leader was being pushed to the finish by the team, his collarbone broken.

Mark Cavendish made up for the bad luck by winning another stage for the team the following day, while Froome assumed the race lead and would not relinquish it until Paris.

Froome put the nail in the coffin of the GC fight on the first big mountain stage, but even though the overall race win grew more and more out of the reach of anyone else in the remaining stages, there were a number of emotional, notable stage winners.

Greg van Avermaet (BMC) overcame his history of second places and topped Peter Sagan for the stage in Rodez. Stephen Cummings gave MTN-Qhubeka a huge victory in Mende on Nelson Mandela day, denying Romain Bardet and Thibaut Pinot a chance, but both would have their day in the final week.

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) finally came good in the last stages, and even though he was eight minutes down on GC, the stage win in La Toussuire - Les Sybelles was done with true panache.

Relive all of the stages with this gallery of images from the 2015 Tour de France.

 

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