If you want to succeed, you better wait
Without a real general classification leader, Bjarne Riis’ men have been hard at work in the breakaways of this year’s Tour. They may not have won a stage but there’s been time in the polka-dot jersey and the most aggressive award as consolidation. It was surprising then to see no Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank rider in the day’s stage 15 escape. It had been almost 60km before the break succeeded but there was no Saxo Bank rider present, that was until Nicki Sörensen took off in pursuit.
Sörensen took his time getting to the five leaders, approximately 20km but he may not have made it at all if it wasn’t from some encouragement by his director sportif Riis. The words were not however, directly at his rider but rather apparently toward the other team managers who were aware of Sörensen’s chase. They were reportedly told, according to L'Equipe, that if his rider didn’t make it, then the team would chase the break down. This was the predicament placed upon the leading group.
"You do not want him to return, we will ride behind you", the team reportedly said.
Sörensen eventually caught and joined in the effort to stay away from the uninterested peloton. The Dane ended the day in fourth place, just losing out to Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) in a two-man sprint. (AM)
Simply trying isn't enough for Argos-Shimano
Koen de Kort had made it clear that he was looking forward to a number of stages that suited him for a breakaway. Stage 15 from Samatan to Pau was of particular interest to the Dutch rider, who was clearly unhappy that he missed the opportunity.
"I attacked several times, but was grabbed back every time. Everyone tried to get away. When everyone was tired, a group succeeded. I was disappointed. I even threw a bottle. I had this stage in my mind for a long time," said de Kort.
De Kort has already signaled the 222.5km stage 18 as his last opportunity for a result. While he has been happy with his Tour thus far, there’s still motivation to seek his own result.
"Now the stage before the time trial is my last real chance. I'm happy with my role so far, I think I've assisted Tom Veelers pretty well during his sprints, but I also want to show myself," he said. (AM)
Show me the money
With the rest day upon the riders of the Tour, they can sit back and count their winnings thus far – not that any of it has been paid yet. Unsurprisingly Sky is leading the unofficial prize money classification, swimming in €77,920 with Liquigas-Cannondale and Europcar with €57,200 and €42,390 respectively.
It’s not all celebrations and champagne for some of the teams with fewer results in the first two weeks of racing. Alejandro Valverde was touted as a possible contender in this year’s race but his team is scraping the bottom of the table with just €3,610. That’s not enough to cover the team’s fuel bill. They’ve got a busy third week ahead of them if they want to lift from the bottom spot. (AM)
Learning from experience
Tejay Van Garderen is yet to complete his second Tour de France and while he seems certain to wear the white jersey into Paris, he’s already thinking about his future in the race. Touted as the next great American stage race rider, his ambitions lie beyond the young rider’s jersey.
"The first goal of the Tour is to ensure Cadel finishes as high as possible,” he told De Telegraaf. "He is a champion and it’s an honour to ride for him. Although he is busy with his own performance, he is also willing to help me.
"Cadel knows that he is not young anymore and can see in me someone who can follow his path. Hopefully I can now wear the white jersey into Paris and who knows, one year I could win the Tour," he said. (AM)
Today's Tour de France news
- Video: Tour de France Stage 15 highlights
- Video: Vande Velde comes close to first Tour stage victory
- Video: Garmin rally after bad luck hits Tour de France bid
- Fédrigo wins on happy hunting ground in Pau
- Six more abandons as Tour peloton reduced to 156
- Casar continues Sánchez duel at Tour de France
- Voeckler salutes Fédrigo Tour de France stage win
- Mark Renshaw: Abandoning the Tour