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Tour de France 2016: Stage 15

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Today's 160km stage heads into the Jura mountains with six nasty categorised climbs before the finish in Culoz.  

The riders are currently preparing for the start in Bourg-en-Bresse and signing on before the start. 

 

It is a hot summer day in France with temperatures of between 26-29C. Fortunately the wind has dropped and should not be a factor today. 

 

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) gets a huge cheer as he signs on. He wears the green points jersey but will have to fight for survival on the climbs and twisting roads. 

 

#TDF2016 @PREIDI & @RSinkeldam are spinning the legs ahead of tough mountain stage. https://t.co/3touBoA1Bs

@GiantAlpecin Sun, 17th Jul 2016 10:45:56

Lots of riderd warming up at the start today. It's going to be a tough one #TDF2016

@SadhbhOS Sun, 17th Jul 2016 10:50:17

The riders have lined up at the start, with the four jersey wearers on the front as per tradition. 

 

The riders get a huge cheer as they roll out of Bourg-en-Bresse and head to the official start point of the stage.

The riders face 5.5km of neutralised racing.  

 

Chris Froome (Team Sky) is at the front of the peloton. he seems to be setting his computer device. He is close to rival Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and yesterday's winner Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data).  

 

184 riders have started the stage. Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Soudal) is the non-starter today. He was injured in a crash and suffered  a fissure in his scapula, a disrupted collar bone, a knee incision and a bruised hand.

Matti Breschel (Cannondale-DRapac) was forced to abandon the Tour due to his nasty crash during stage 14. He has a deep cut on his leg. 

 

 

Today's mountain stage is expected to see a fight for the GC. 

This is the current top ten as the riders prepare for the flag to drop. 

 


1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 63:46:40
2 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:47
3 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-BikeExchange 0:02:45
4 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:02:59
5 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:17
6 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:03:19
7 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:04:04
8 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:04:27
9 Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:05:03
10 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:05:16.  

 

The riders are tucked behind the red race director's car but Christian Prudhomme is about to drop the flag and wave the riders away.

 

And they're off!! 

 

And we have a first acceleration as riders try to get into the break of the day. 

 

Tsgabu Grmay (Lampre-Merida) is the first to attack but he is caught and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) makes a move. He is chasing points to defend his climber's polka-dot jersey today. 

 

#TDF2016 and we are racing... Grmay is the first rider to attack after about 200 meters. De Gendt is now on the move too.

@TeamDiData Sun, 17th Jul 2016 11:07:55

De Gendt knows that there are 54 points up for grabs today on the six categorised climbs.  The first climb starts after just 17km but the road is already rolling. 

The peloton is lined out as the chase begins.

 

The chasers have dragged the peloton up to De Gendt but he is still looking to go away and sparks another move. 

 

Chris Froome is near the front as Team Sky control the breakaway riders. 

 

After a gradual climb  the riders enjoy a descent and are all back together.

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) is near the front of the peloton and also seems ready to join a break today.

 

Lotto-Soudal is the 10th team to lose a rider on #TDF2016 with Jens Debusschere not starting Stage 15. #TDFdata https://t.co/ll00hjD89K

@letourdata Sun, 17th Jul 2016 11:14:47

Everyone is expected a quality breakaway to form today on the first climb. 

Many are tipping Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), Nibali and other good climber to go on the attack.  

 

Thomas De Gendt has been in the polka dot jersey since he won stage 12 at Mont Ventoux.

He scored one point yesterday to reach a total of 90 points. He leads 2014 King of the Mountains winner Rafal Majka who has 77, Dani Navarro (Cofidis) has 68.

With 58 points up for grabs, today is a big, perhaps even decisive day for the polka-dot jersey.

 

148km remaining from 160km

The first climb begins in 5km. The Col du Berthiand - 6km at 8.1% begins very soon. 

 

The peloton can see the climb on the horizon now. But the riders are all together. 

 

Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) has a 50m gap but he is bring chased down as the climb begins to bite hard.

 

Surprisingly De Gendt is now at the back of the peloton. 

 

Tony Gallopin on the attack. He's won in the Jura before and reconned this stage a few weeks ago https://t.co/NQ63fbv4ff

@inrng Sun, 17th Jul 2016 11:27:34

The climb snakes up a headland overlooking the river. It is a spectacular start to the stage. 

 

Nibali, Pauwels, Vuillermoz and Zakarin are trying to go clear as the climb hurts. They still have 4km to climb. 

 

Majka is now on the front, putting down lots of power to try to get away. He is going for the KOM points and perhaps the break of the day. 

 

Rafal Majka and Alexis Vuillermoz have a small gap on the first climb of the stage. #TDF2016

@Etixx_QuickStep Sun, 17th Jul 2016 11:35:37

As the gradient eases, Zakarin has joined Majka up front, with a slight tailwind helping them go clear.

 

Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL) is off the back. He's suffering after a difficult last few days. 

 

It's going to be a brutally tough day for the sprinters. Already @MarkCavendish, @marcelkittel, @AndreGreipel & @McLAYDan are off the back

@NBCSNCycling Sun, 17th Jul 2016 11:38:36

Team Sky has three riders on the front with Froome. 

 

Majka is still pushing on up front, taking turns with Zakarin.

 

Zakarin crashed out of the Giro d'Italia, suffering a fractured collarbone but made a rapid recovery after surgery and fought to have the form for the Tour de France.

 

Majka and Zakarin lead by 25 seconds but Nibali charges after them. 

 

Pauwels chases Nibali to take some climber's points but Nibali kicks again to chase the two up front. 

 

In the distance, if riders have time to look up, is Mont Blanc. The Alps and Mont Blanc will host the final mountain stages of this year's Tour.

 

The duo have a 40-second lead but several riders are leading the chase as the road flattens again.

 

A group of 26 riders has formed and caught Majka and Zakarin. Froome and Team Sky seem happy to let them go. 

 

Nieve has dropped his chain as is teammates block the peloton by spreading across the road. 

 

Nibali, Pauwels and Vuillermoz are part of the attack. The gap is now up 1:50. 

 

There's a total of 28 riders in the attack, with several teams having two or three riders present.  

 

The riders are on a un-classified climb but it is causing the peloton to lose more time on the break.

 

Froome is at the back of the peloton after taking a natural break. His teammates are riding slowly, with Rowe, Kiryienka and Stannard back up front to do the early work for their teammates.

 

125km remaining from 160km

Riders are eating and drinking in the peloton, digging in for a tough day in the mountains. 

 

we have Bartosz #Huzarski in the leading group of 28 riders. gap almost 4' #TDF2016 #BoraArgon18

@BoraArgon18 Sun, 17th Jul 2016 12:03:18

It seems that the breakaway is formed: about 30 riders have 3' advantage. Unfortunately, no @Lotto_Soudal rider is part of it #TDF2016

@Lotto_Soudal Sun, 17th Jul 2016 11:59:51

The 30 riders in the break are:

Jon Izagirre and Nelson Oliveira (Movistar), Vincenzo Nibali and Tanel Kangert (Astana), Rafal Majka (Tinkoff), Domenico Pozzovivo and Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R-LaMondiale), George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo), Haimar Zubeldia (Trek), Stef Clement, Jérôme Coppel and Jarlinson Pantano (IAM), Pierre Rolland, Tom-Jelte Slagter and Dylan van Baarle (Cannondale-Drapac), Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data), Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin), Steve Morabito and Sébastien Reichenbach (FDJ), Bartosz Huzarski (Bora-Argon 18), Alberto Losada and Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha), Kristjian Durasek, Tsgabu Grmay and Jan Polanc (Lampre-Merida), Romain Sicard and Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie), Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step), Dani Navarro (Cofidis) and Ruben Plaza (Orica-BikeExchange).

 

Team Sky has six riders ahead of Froome to lead the steady chase. They cannot let the break gain too much time. Reichenback of FDJ is only 11 minute down in the GC.

 

116km remaining from 160km

The gap is up to 4:00.  

 

There are some interesting names in the break, for both the GC battle and the stage victory.  

 

Movistar has both Jon Izagirre and Nelson Oliveira in the break. They are not working and will hope to be there if or when Nairo Quintana attacks in the finale of the stage.

 

Pierre Rolland, Tom-Jelte Slagter and Dylan van Baarle are there for Cannondale-Drapac. Slagter and van Baarle may struggle on the big climbs but will offer excellent support to Rolland. 

 

Rolland is spinning his way up the climb, saving his strength for later.

 

IAM Cycling also has three riders in the move and both Pantano and Coppel could fight for victory today.  

 

Of course Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) is in the move too. 

 

Other strong riders include Nibali and Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R). 

 

The gap is up to 4:50 as the break nears the top of the Col du Sappel.   

 

Several riders have their jerseys open and unzipped as they ride in the heat. 

 

At the back of the race Jesus Herrara (Movistar) has climbed off after being distanced. He has been ill in the last few days. That leaves Quintana with one rider less. 

 

The Col du Sappel climbs up the side of a cliff of rock, rising gradually along the length of the long outcrop.   

 

The roads are roughly surfaced in this part of France, with a surface of chippings stuck into the asphalt making it difficult for the riders.  

 

The break is km from the summit of the climb. 

 

Voeckler reaches the summit first and so takes maximum points in the KOM competition. Majka just behind and so scores more points. He is closing in on leader De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) who failed to get into the break today.

 

 

 

.@jesushl90 abandona el #TDF2016. Fiebre y problemas estomacales no le dejaron recuperar estos días. Ánimo, campeón! https://t.co/Yd7mK0atQq

@Movistar_Team Sun, 17th Jul 2016 12:27:00

RT @CarrefourFrance: 5 points pour Voeckler au Col du Sappel #MaillotapoisCarrefour #TDF2016 https://t.co/Za7yJdf6dW

@LeTour Sun, 17th Jul 2016 12:33:53

Majka scored 3 points on the climb and so Thomas De Gendt and Majka both have 90 points in the polka-dot KOM competition. Dani Navarro is third with 69.

 

100km remaining from 160km

With 100km left to race, the peloton is 6:00 behind, with Stannard chasing for Team Sky.

 

We've added the 30-rider break to our situation on the right of our updates. Check out all the names in the break.

 

 

7 former stage winners in the front group sharing A total of 18 stage wins. 2 former Maillot Jaune. 1 former winner @LeTour #tdf2016

@sebpiquet Sun, 17th Jul 2016 12:44:53

News: Tour de France: Will anyone dare to attack Froome on the Grand Colombier?: The clock is ticking for Nai... https://t.co/IHYnhD8NKe

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sun, 17th Jul 2016 12:51:12

The riders have just passed over the short Col de Pisseloup, with Serge Pauwels taking maximum points. He also seems interested in going for the polka-dot jersey today.  

 

Majka was second and so scored 1 point, to take the lead the polka-dot jersey competition. 

 

 Team Sky is taking advantage of the descent to push on with the chase of the 30-rider break. 

Former Tour de France winner Stephen Roche has previewed all the stages for our sister title ProCycling. This is his comment on today's stage.

"A stage like this is always going to be punchy but it’s difficult to say whether it’s a critical day for GC or not – it really depends on whether a team takes it by the scruff of the neck or not. If they can, even. One thing we’ve seen in the last couple of years is riders having a go on the descent. Froome isn’t a bad descender but he’s functional. However, he’s also the type of guy that whatever you put in front of him he’ll do it and take risks if need be."

 

Romain Sicard (Direct Energie) suffers a mechanical problem but is quickly back on his bike. 

 

The average speed of the race is 37km/h so far, that's fast considering the hilly profile. 

 

Astana directeur sportif Beppe Martinelli spoke to Italian television about their stage tactics

 


"Today is a day that suits us. We’ll try to do something to move Aru back up the GC. It’s a hard, hard stage and a break will go, we’ll try to win the stage too but also to have a rider up there in the finale. Of course if Nibali gets in the break, other teams will chase because he’s a big-name riders and scares lots of people."

 


"I think Froome is the boss of the race for now but things are wide open behind him. We want to take advantage of that.”

 

He added:


“I’m sure that Movistar will try to do something today, using their two leaders Quintana and Valverde to take on Froome. I suspect Valverde will attack at a certain point, so that Quintana try to attack Froome in the finale."

 

83km remaining from 160km

The break is now 2km from the summit of the Col de la Rochette - a 3rd cat climb of 5.1km.

 

The riders enjoy a descent and small climb before the day's feed zone. Soon after the 12.8km Grand Colombier starts, when we can expect some serious attacks.   

 

Cyclingnew’s Sadhbh O’Shea was at the start of the stage and spoke to Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data) about the stage.



“In the first 20k we’ll be concentrating on getting into the right break and then we will see where it goes,” he said.


How do you manage to pick the right break?

 

“It depends, but in a day like today where it is more uphill then it is a little bit easier to pick the right break because only strong riders will get in the front anyway. For example, the stage over the Tourmalet was really difficult because there was 60-70k of more or less flat roads. It was more of a battle to get into the right breakaway. I didn’t make it and actually my race was over at that point.”

 

Fabio Aru (Astana) also spoke briefly before the start of the stage to Italian television. 


"It’s tough right from the start, it’s a tough stage. It’s hot too and so I’m think someone will go for a hard race. Fortunately it’s not windy anymore after five days. The stage suits us and so we hope to do something. We’ll see on the big climbs," he said. 
 

 

Richie Porte (BMC) spoke before the start too.

“It’s a funny day, its so hard but there’s a descent and then 8km of flat roads to the finish. We’ll have to see what happens and try to predict what happens. We’ll sit tight and see what happens. I think me and Tejay can work together but today is all about the legs, its such a hard stage today.”

 

75km remaining from 160km

75km to go now as the break reaches the summit of the Col de la Rochette.  

 

The break passes through the feed zone, collecting their late lunch in musettes. Van Baarle is slightly off the front. 

 

Born in Culoz, @BOUETMAXIME talked of the hard climbs on today's course and sent a message to his teammates #TDF2016 https://t.co/oxfuqkEW8X

@Etixx_QuickStep Sun, 17th Jul 2016 13:28:16

70km remaining from 160km

On the non-classified climb after the feed zone, the move by van Baarle has sparked a more serious attack. Dumoulin jumped across to him and now Nibali has gone after the Dutchman. 

 

The race within the race is underway. 

 

Cyclingnews spoke to Sergio Henao of Team Sky before the start. He expected attacks and a hard day in the saddle. 



"It’s going to be a very complicated stage with constant climbing, heat. It’s going to be a very hard day," he said.



Do you think there will be a lot of attacks from Movistar?


"Sure, Movistar and some of the other teams that are in the doing well in the overall classification. We are now coming to the final days of the Tour and it’s going to be really challenging."  



How is Froome doing going into the final week?



"He’s doing really well. He’s not too tired, he’s confident and really relaxed."

 

#TDF2016 Dumoulin has now attacked the break... Nibali leads the chase with the big @sergepauwels breakaway all strung out. 65km to go.

@TeamDiData Sun, 17th Jul 2016 13:41:05

Dumoulin is still out front alone, with Jarlinson Pantano and Alexis Vuillermoz joining Nibali in the chase. 

 

The 12.8km Grand Colombier has officially begun, with the trio having pulled Dumoulin back to create a front quartet.  

 

Vincenzo Nibali also spoke briefly before the start but didn’t reveal his plans for the stage.

 


“It’s a hard, hilly stage. We just hope to get it right. We’ve got Fabio for the GC and so we’ve got to divide our strengths,” he said.

 

“It’s not a long stage at 160km but it all depends on how the stage is raced. The race could explode on the climb. At Astana this kind of stage suits but you always need the legs to do well on stages like today.”

 

The chasing group is on the Colombier, and Voeckler is struggling to maintain contact at the back. If you can't get TV time off the front, that's another way to do it.

In 2012, when the Tour de France tackled the Col du Grand Colombier, Thomas Voeckler went on the attack and won the stage, but he's having no such luck today.

Slagter and Plaza are being spat out of the chasing group as Navarro surges. The acceleration causes Zubeldia to come unglued, too.

56km remaining from 160km

Majka has nailed Navarro back, but he keeps trying to break up the group. Bennett is out the back of the chasing bunch.

All of those accelerations nailed back the four attackers, and Nibali immediately goes to the back, as does Dumoulin.

55km remaining from 160km

The Sky-led peloton is still 8:28 behind the leaders setting a steady pace. The sprinters are starting to come together in the autobus.

Nibali is gone from the breakaway, as is Izagirre. Up ahead, Rolland, Zubeldia and Bennett are chasing the break.

51km remaining from 160km

As they get closer to the top, Majka and Zakarin go off the front, while Oliveria, Huzarski and more are struggling to remain in the lead group.

Pozzovivo, Vuillermoz, Pantano, Pauwels, Reichenbach, Navarro, Durasek, Alaphilippe are still chasing Zakarin and Majka.

50km remaining from 160km

Oliveira has made it back on the group that is 14 seconds down on the two leaders. Rolland's group is 48 seconds behind, while Nibali has been given his own group at 1:43 ahead of the peloton well behind at 8:27.

There's another steep section ahead, but for now there's a bit of a regroup in the chasing bunch. Pauwels hits the front for a bit, then Navarro takes over. They're doing a good job of sharing the work.

There are now 37 riders in the #MaillotJaune group, 5km from the summit of Grand Colombier. Froome still has 5 teammates. #TDFdata #TDF2016

@letourdata Sun, 17th Jul 2016 14:15:34

Behind the break the peloton has come alive after Diego Rosa and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) upped the pace. 

 

The crowds are huge on the top of the climb. Fortunately they seem to be controlling themselves with good fans pulling out anyone who tries to run alongside the riders. 

 

The riders in the break are attacking each other in sight of the summit. 

 

Majka and Zakarin have 51s as the road rears up, steep all the way to the summit of the Grand Colombier

@inrng Sun, 17th Jul 2016 14:16:49

#TDF2016 The Polish national road champion has every reason to smile - @majkaformal is the virtual #MaillotaPois holder on the road.

@tinkoff_team Sun, 17th Jul 2016 14:18:07

Majka crosses the summit of the HC Grande Colombier and collects 25 points in the KOM competition. Zakarin is just happy to be with him. Julian Alaphilippe is the best chaser, at 30 seconds.

 

The Astana pressure behind is shaking out the Froome group. The Briton has three teammates ahead of him but everyone behind seems to be suffering.

 

Before start Cyclingnews' Sadhbh O'Shea spoke to Adam Yates (Orica) about the stage.

 

"It’s tough to say. On paper, this could be the hardest stage of the entire Tour," he said of the Jura stage.

 

"I see it more being a breakaway day. There’s going to be a big fight and them maybe 20 or 30 riders are going to go away. We’ll see, Sky are always keen to chase and try and take it in the wind as they have been doing. For me, I’ll still wait with the GC guys and if there is an opportunity in the final to take some seconds then I’ll take it."



What's the most challenging part of the course?



"The second to last climb is likely to be where it is going to go down. Depending on how much time the breakaway has, and how certain teams are feeling and certain tactics. Anything can happen, people can attack on the climb, on the descent or even on the flat if there’s a little bit of wind."


Are you starting to think about a podium?

"We’re just taking it each days as it comes. I’m still on the podium and it’s the last week of the Tour de France. If you’d told me this at the start of the Tour de France then I would have thought it was pretty great. We’ve still got to take it day by day, anything can happen; I could have a bad day and lose a lot of time. As long as we do the max and put in a 100 per cent then we’ll try to hang onto it."
 

 

The Astana acceleration has seen Barguill (Giant) go off the back.

 

Team Sky has also lost Sirgeo Henao -a key domestique for Froome.

 

Plenty of action on the Grand Colombier. Astana have turned the screw and the lead group is now very select #TDF2016

@TeamSky Sun, 17th Jul 2016 14:24:44

41km remaining from 160km

The descent has compacted the leader. Alaphilippe and Pantano have caught up to Majka and Zakarin. 

 

The Froome reaches the summit, some 7:45 after the attackers. Froome still has three teammates with him but Astana is trying to put the yellow jersey and the G riders group under pressure. 

 

Froome spoke to the media before the start and seemed wary of the stage. 

 

"There’s hardly any flat roads today so it’s going to be a hard stage but the team are ready and we looking to get to the finish today with the yellow jersey still on my shoulders," he said.

"Other teams are going to be good. It depends on how they ride the stage. Obviously, I’ve got a great advantage at the moment. I’ve just got to trust in my teammates and stay safe today. It’s a really selective stage today and who’s to say that something won’t happen."


"It’s really tough, more than 4,000 metres of climbing, more than any other stage of the Tour it’s going to be a really tough day." 
 

 

The Grand Colombier got its first Tour outing in 2012, when the HC-ranked climb was included as a meagre bone in a race aimed foursquare at rouleurs.

 

It was on the corresponding stage in 2012 where Thomas Voeckler took the first of two Tour stage wins that year. Today, six categorised climbs – three of them 1 or HC - await the peloton on this 160km jaunt through the Jura. There are three more significant but uncategorised climbs along the way too.

 

The penultimate climb goes to the very summit of the Grand Colombier but it’s the descent which could be even more crucial. It starts wide and fast and then coils up at the bottom.

 

Vincenzo Nibali unsettled Bradley Wiggins with an attack here in 2012. Unusually for a Tour stage, the race hits a 24km finishing circuit when it enters Culoz, including the final climb, dubbed the Lacets du Grand Colombier. This is a separate ascent of the mountain that uses a dramatic looping road back up.

 

Upfront Zakarin has lost contact on the descent. That's normal after his nasty crash in the Giro.   

 

The descent is over for the break and the riders are trying to catch up and form a front group. However nobody is willing to wait, sparking a pursuit match on the road.

 

Unfortunately, @alafpolak has crashed while being in the lead. #TDF2016

@Etixx_QuickStep Sun, 17th Jul 2016 14:39:52

Alaphilippe is chasing in the team cars but is trying to chase alone.

 

26km remaining from 160km

Majka and Pantano are now clear with the four chasers struggling to work together. In 3km the races passes through the finish to start the final climb of the Lacets du Grand Colombier. 

The last climb is 8.4km long at 7.6%.

 

Astana are still taking it to Froome in the peloton, with Nibali back working with Aru and Rosa. This could be fascinating.

 

Majka and Pantano lead the four chasers by 50 seconds. Alaphilippe, Rolland and others are further back, at 1:30.  

 

22km remaining from 160km

They have one lap of the circuit around Culoz, and the peloton behind are deep in discussion - Froome talking to the Astana riders.

21km remaining from 160km

The peloton come through the line for one lap to go, some 7 minutes behind Majka and Pantano.

Meanwhile, the chasers are only 38 seconds behind climbing the Lacets du Grand Colombier.

Sky has lost Geraint Thomas, he's well behind the peloton.

19km remaining from 160km

Astana have taken control in the peloton, good news for Team Sky who welcome the help.

Zakarin leads the chasers, who aren't making up enough ground on Majka.

Pantano has lost contact!

36 seconds for the Zakarin group, 50 seconds to the larger chase group behind.

Pantano must have dropped back for some water because he's back on Majka's wheel.

The descent to the finish line will be a fun one - we expect to see Alaphilippe going for broke again.

There are four chasers, Huzarski, Alaphilippe, Rolland and Durasek, but the Lampre rider is going backwards.

Aru attacks!

18km remaining from 160km

Aru has a gap, but Valverde goes after him.

Majka, up front, is alone again having dropped Pantano for good.

Poels is looking pained as he keeps Valverde and Aru at striking distance.

Zakarin has stopped with a puncture.

Valverde and Aru persist but they are dangling just meters ahead of the Sky train.

17km remaining from 160km

Pantano is keeping Majka in sight, but he's not catching back up. Now that Zakarin's been left behind, it's only Vuillermoz and Reichenbach chasing, having left Pauwels.

Oh yikes, that's a large image. Sorry about that!

The crest of the climb is still 4km away for Majka, but win or lose this stage, he will be in polka dots at the end of the day.

All of the action in the peloton has brought the gap to 5:36. We haven't had a good look at the maillot jaune group but on the lacets it seems to be back together.

The fans are a little less crazy on this climb than the Ventoux, but are still acting a nuisance by setting off smoke flares.

Aru is back in the peloton and a little further back than he was. Up front it's Poels and Neive with Froome, and Porte, Bardet and Quintana tucked in behind.

15km remaining from 160km

34 seconds for the pursuers behind Majka, they have caught Pantano.

The maillot jaune group is getting leaner and leaner. Mollema is right up front.

Froome played a little practical joke on his competitors, he suddenly jumped as if he'd attack but then reconsidered.

1k to the top for Majka.

Bardet attacks the Froome group.

Van Garderen is shot out the back with that acceleration.

14km remaining from 160km

Majka hits the top as Bardet passes Stef Clement, they're catching the remnants of the early breakaway.

20 seconds for Pantano and Reichenbach, they've lost Vuillermoz.

Poels has a coke. That's not a good sign, he's running out of gas.

Bardet got a gap but Team Sky has used its combined strength to pull him back. 

10km remaining from 160km

Up front Majka is on the testing part of the descent and almost went off the road. The grass saved him.

 

Majka is tucked low over his bike as he tries to stay away from Pantano. He doesn't seem spooked by his near crash. 

 

Sky and the leaders are over the top of the climb and are on the descent. The only effect of Bardet's attack was to distance van Garderen and Yates a little.  

 

The descent is over for Majka but Pantani is on him now after the Pole's near crash. Reichenbach and Vuillermoz are only 25 seconds back. This is a thriller.  

 

Majka and Pantano know they have to work together to stay away. 

 

Mikel Nieve (Team Sky) has also put his foot down on the descent. Froome still has Poels leading him.

 

5km remaining from 160km

Majka and Pantano agree to work but they are about to fight for the stage victory if they stay away.

 

The Froome group has made it safely down the descent but Movistar is setting the pace.   

 

Yates and Mollema are at the group. 

 

Looks like @NieveMikel has had a moment there on the descent. He's now out of the lead group but looks okay #TDF2016

@TeamSky Sun, 17th Jul 2016 15:24:09

157km remaining from 160km

Majka and Pantano are both tired but are focused on winning the sprint. 

 

Froome tells Poels to stop working, forcing the other to do the chase of Riechenbach.  

 

Porte is in the group but there is no sign of van Garderen.

 

1km remaining from 160km

Last kilometre! Will Pantano and Majka stay away?  

 

Reichenbach and Vuillermoz can see them! 

 

Majka and Pantano sprint it out!

 

Majka leads it out strongly but can't hold off Pantano who wins the stage. 

 

TDF2016 stage 15 witnesses the victory of Jarlinson Pantano.

@Etixx_QuickStep Sun, 17th Jul 2016 15:31:02

Reichenbach and Vuillermoz finished just six or seven seconds behind Pantano but got little for their efforts. 

 

Here comes the Froome peloton.

 

Zubeldia brings them home, working to limit the time gain of Reichenbach. 

The Swiss rider will move up in the top ten thanks to going in the break of the day. 

 

With Froome safely in the group, it means he keeps the yellow jersey for another day. 

Only Astana tried to attack the GC group today but Team Sky responded with force yet again. 

 

It's an important win for the Swiss IAM team. Sadly the team will fold at the end of the season despite winning a its first ever stage at the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France this year.

 

Tejay van Garderen finishes, about 1.25 down on the yellow jersey group. He was dropped earlier on the climb

@inrng Sun, 17th Jul 2016 15:36:06

Whew. Action-packed day from start to finish at #TDF2016. @PierroooRolland finished in seventh place in Culoz.

@Ride_Argyle Sun, 17th Jul 2016 15:34:59

Nicely done @TeamSky! A key day in the Jura ticked off. Chris Froome home safe on stage 15 to retain his #TDF2016 #YellowJersey

@TeamSky Sun, 17th Jul 2016 15:34:56

This stage through the Jura was a tough test for everyone but Froome can ride to Bern in Switzerland, knowing that none of his biggest rivals have the strength or courage to attack him.  

 

This is the provisional stage top ten: 

 

1 Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling 4:24:49
2 Rafał Majka (Pol) Tnkoff Team 00:00:00
3 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 00:00:06
4 Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) FDJ 00:00:06
5 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - QuickStep 00:00:25
6 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data 00:00:25
7 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Cannondale - Drapac 00:00:25
8 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha 00:01:30
9 Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 00:01:30
10 Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale - Drapac 00:02:08

 

RT @jmgheraille: Un grand Colombien au Grand Colombier. Logique #Tour

@Biarnes72 Sun, 17th Jul 2016 15:39:59

#IAMTDF This is how we celebrated the victory of @jarlinsonpantan in the team bus of #TeamIAM #Amazing #TDF2016 https://t.co/XHvVYAapJ1

@IAM_Cycling Sun, 17th Jul 2016 15:43:01

This is the provisional GC after stage 15. 

The biggest loser today in Tejay van Garderen, who was distanced on the last climb and finished 1:20 behind.

He slipped to 8th at 4:47.

 

1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 68:14:36
2 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 00:01:47
3 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-BikeExchange 00:02:45
4 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 00:02:59
5 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 00:03:17
6 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 00:04:04
7 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 00:04:27
8 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 00:04:47
9 Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx - Quick-Step 00:05:03
10 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 00:05:16 

 

Pantano takes the flowers and kisses on the podium. You may remember that he finished the stage to Andorra Arcalis with an umbrella to protect him from the rain. 

Today he was emotional as he talked about his stage victory. 

 

Pantano spoke emotionally about his stage victory.


“It’s an incredible day for me. I came to the Tour de France thinking I’d try to win a stage but to do it is difficult to believe. I’d hope to do it but this is incredible," he said.

 

"I want to thank my IAM teammates who did a great job for me in the attack. I also want to thank my family, especially my wife, who have always supported me. This is a special day for me.”
 

 

In the GC, @DanMartin86 is still 9th, after coming home together with the other contenders. #TDF2016

@Etixx_QuickStep Sun, 17th Jul 2016 15:47:27

Froome is on the podium and pulls on his 38th yellow jersey. 

 

Kjell Carlstrom (IAM Cycling DS) celebrated the team's biggest ever win.

"We knew this stage was perfect for him. It was a hard stage from the beginning. Our plan was to put as many as possible in the breakaway because we knew it's a big chance that it goes to the finish. Jarlinson and Stef Clement and Jerome Coppel they made it. Jarlinson took it a little easy in the beginning, and then in the final part he was phenomenal. He did a great downhill and came back to the guys who went away on the climb. It's really nice,"he said.

"We just said to him that he needs to keep on fighting. We knew Majka would probably go away on the climb, so [we said] just keep him in sight. Then in the downhill he will make it back. He did exactly that. It was perfect. The stage of the Tour is always really important. It's really special for him, it's the first victory and a beautiful one."

 

We have the first images of the stage, showing Pantano as he celebrates beating Majka in the sprint. 

 

 

The stage was also a fight survival, with a large gruppetto just finishing the stage. 

British sprinter Dan Mclay was last to finish but everyone was in side the time limit. 

 

"I did not have great sensations but I'm happy because my hand is a little bit better." -@PierroooRolland #TDF2016 https://t.co/BQT8snZX2C

@Ride_Argyle Sun, 17th Jul 2016 16:10:07

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) spoke about his brief move of the front and Movistar's tactics.

 

"Sky were very strong yet again and they really made it hard for us. It was a very difficult stage, and difficult for us to do anything with the pace. Nairo seemed pretty relaxed, he's very strong coming into this next week," he said.

"We're going to try to do our best in the coming week. We're definitely going to try something. I think people are expecting more fire and fight from us. We will fight in the coming stages but not today."

 

#TDF2016 for those asking, yes... all our riders made it safely home and well within the time limit today. ;)

@TeamDiData Sun, 17th Jul 2016 16:24:42

#TDF2016 #Tinkoff now holds both the #MaillotaPois and the #MaillotVert after stage 15 @LeTour. Great rides all round.

@tinkoff_team Sun, 17th Jul 2016 16:29:37

Here's Majka on the attack with Zakarin mid-stage as he chased KOM points.

 

 

This is the moment Froome and the GC contenders finished the stage to Culoz. 

 

 

Tejay van Garderen lost more than a minute to the Froome group and many of his GC rivals. 

 

 

This image shows the testing terrain of today's stage. It included lots of climbing and lots of descending.

 

 

That's about it for our live coverage from the stage. For a full report and photo gallery, click here.  

We will soon have more images, news stories and interviews from the our reporters at the race. 

 

 

Join us for full live coverage of stage 16 from Moirans-en-Bretagne to Bern in Switzerland on Monday. 

 

The 209km stage seems perfect for another breakaway or select sprint finish before the second rest day in the Swiss city on Tuesday.

 

After that come the final mountain stages of this year's Tour de France in the Alps. 

Merci e a bientot! Vivre la France!

 

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