Stage 15 of the Tour de France was billed as a day for the sprinters but the fast men would have to make it over a tough second category climb if they wanted to contest the bunch gallop at the end. Mark Cavendish was dropped but André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) made it through and beat John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) in the sprint. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) came fourth after already spending the day in the break and ensuring his place in the green jersey.
The GC riders made it through unscathed as they all came home on the same time.
André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal)
"The key factor today was suffering from kilometre zero right until the end. The whole team from kilometre zero kept me out of the wind and tried to keep me in the group. I worked really hard to stay with the bunch but in the end we made it perfect to keep me in a good position for the sprint and I just went full gas in the last 250 metres and kept it until the line and I’m really proud of my team and also of myself."
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo)
When asked why he went in the day's breakaway by French Eurosport, Sagan replied, "Why not? Because I doubted it was too hard of a stage for the sprinters. I said it was also too hard to control from the start. I went with a group of 15 guys and thought maybe it would be good. I thought OK, if I have to suffer in the climb, the sprinters also have to suffer in the climbs'. In the last climb, the group was very close and I just waited for the group after I led the sprint. I felt OK for the sprint, but it was a crazy sprint in the finish."
After leaving the breakaway, Sagan punctured and had a curious run-in with a camera motorbike. "The video camera was there and he was shoving past me. My car was behind the motorbike, the motorbike stopped 10m from me and he blocked the car. Everyone was angry. The mechanic just threw the bottle."
Chris Froome (Team Sky)
“It was a good day out there and a great atmosphere out on the roads. There were no unfortunate incidents today. We’re here to do a job and obviously that takes precedence. What happened yesterday was unfortunate and hopefully that’s not going to happen again now.
“If you think, before the Champs Élysées we’ve got five real racing stages left so we’re really into the tail end of the race now. You can see the tired bodies out there on the road. I think we’re in an extremely fortunate position, we’ve still got nine riders, everyone is fit and healthy. We’re just hoping to get through to the next rest day and then go for the last part of the race.”
Koen de Kort (Giant-Alpecin)
"I haven’t been able to speak to [John Degenkolb] yet but we missed Ramon Sinkledam in the sprint train now. He was very important for that but unfortunately he had to abandon yesterday. We decided to put him on the wheel of Greipel. I think that he was in the right spot but I’m not sure sure exactly what happened in the sprint but I think that Greipel was better by the looks of it.
I think we had one stage where we completely took control. Today we sat back a little more and had the right guy in the break with Simon Geschke. I think it was a good day for us where we didn’t have work too much. We’ll see what happens but it would still be nice to get that victory. We are running thin in sprint opportunities but we’ll see how we feel and we’ll try for tomorrow.
Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge)
After having heated words with Cofidis rider Christophe Laporte
“There’s people doing crazy things in finals for no reason. It’s just making it unsafe for the rest of the riders. Using head and elbows and everything. It’s just not safe racing, really.
“Yeah, definitely (had a chance to win) but when riders ride crazy like this it puts too much risk in the bunch sprints. When you’re trying to sprint at 70k an hour and someone head-butts yous that makes things quite dangerous.”
Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge)
“I got into the first break and there was 27 riders and there wasn’t much co-operation, there was a lot of guys sitting on. Then there was a little climb and nine of us got away and we worked pretty good all day, everybody committed and it was a strong group of guys but the teams in the peloton weren’t happy with it so we got caught back.
“The group wasn’t big enough, you need about 15 guys all working really well but that’s how it goes.”
Tejay van Garderen (BMC)
“We knew there was some narrow passages and a lot of roundabouts coming into the final kilometres, so we just wanted to make sure we were in the front and out of trouble. Today was another brutal day. It might not have looked like it, but it was full gas from the start, really aggressive and.
“I’m still feeling good and confident for the Alps. I think the Alps are more suited to my characteristics as a rider. We’re really strong. We’re one unit. Tomorrow is another day pretty suited to Greg [Van Avermaet]. I definitely need to stay out of trouble. The Col de Manse in particular has been known to cause some trouble. But I think if we can get through tomorrow and then to the rest day we’ll be ready to tackle the Alps.”