On a day in which Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) became the first American since Tyler Farrar in 2011 to win a stage in the Tour de France, there were relatively few major time gaps between the overall contenders on stage 15 to Andorra.
The most significant shift came for Frenchman Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) who dropped from second overall to ninth after he was distanced on the descent before the final climb of the Col de Beixalis.
Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech) lost 29 seconds to his main rivals inside the top 10 after being dropped on the last ascent, but thanks to Martin’s performance, the Astana leader was able to move up a place to seventh.
At the top of the standings, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) rarely looked in trouble and he retained his grip on the yellow jersey. Rigoberto Urán (EF Education-Nippo) moved back up to second thanks to another consistent, and often aggressive ride, with the Colombian 5:18 off the lead.
The battle between the main overall contenders came alive on the slopes of the Port d'Envalira, with Ineos Grenadiers lifting the pace dramatically. They were briefly helped by Movistar but it was Richie Porte, Geraint Thomas and Michal Kwiatkowski who reduced the yellow jersey group to just a handful of names that included Pogačar, Enric Mas, Jonas Vingegaard, Urán, Ben O'Connor, Lutsenko, Guillaume Martin, Wilco Kelderman, Pello Bilbao, Esteban Chaves, Sergio Higuita, and Louis Meintjes.
A long and, at times, technical descent followed but at the foot of the Col de Beixalis, it was Carapaz who attacked first after all of the work his team had put into the earlier phase of the stage. Initially, only Pogačar and the highly impressive Vingegaard could follow but it wasn’t long before Urán, Mas and then a handful of names made contact as the road rose to around a 13 per cent gradient.
O’Connor made a couple of attacks whenever the pace slowed but he was again distanced as Vingegaard, Pogačar, Carapaz, Urán, and Mas proved themselves to be the strongest riders on the climb.
Urán also attacked and forced Pogačar to take control, and his efforts dropped Kelderman, O'Connor, and Lutsenko. The Bora rider was able to regain contact before the descent, while O'Connor used the downhill to claw his way back to the group that was led home by Wout Van Aert, finishing 4:51 after Kuss.
Lutsenko would finish alongside Bilbao at 5:22 with Martin eventually crossing the line in 33rd place at 8:45. While the Frenchman would drop seven places, Bilbao's progress ensured that he rose a place from 11th to 10th, with Mattia Cattaneo (Deceuninck-QuickStep) - who was dropped at the top of the Port d'Envalira and chased with Martin ahead of the Beixalis - dropping a place as a result.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates||62:07:18|
|2||Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-Nippo||0:05:18|
|3||Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma||0:05:32|
|4||Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers||0:05:33|
|5||Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team||0:05:58|
|6||Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:06:16|
|7||Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech||0:07:01|
|8||Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team||0:07:11|
|9||Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis||0:07:58|
|10||Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious||0:10:59|
|11||Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep||0:14:45|
|12||Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team||0:21:15|
|13||Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Team BikeExchange||0:22:51|
|14||David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||0:27:15|
|15||Louis Meintjes (RSA) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux||0:29:16|
|16||Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma||0:31:43|
|17||Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain Victorious||0:35:49|
|18||Sergio Henao Montoya (Col) Qhubeka-NextHash||0:36:48|
|19||Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Victorious||0:43:14|
|20||Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Education-Nippo||0:44:01|
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