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Live coverage

Tour de France 2018: Stage 15


Bonjour and welcome to our live coverage of stage 15.

The riders are currently signing on in Millau for the 181.5km stage.

It is yet another testing stage, with some testing climbs early, on, mid-stage and in the finale. 





Tom Dumoulin has signed on. He is third overall, 1:50 down on Thomas. 

"I hope it's going to be a quiet day but its the Tour de France and so it won't happen," he said. 




From the CN blimp we can see Geraint Thomas is about to sign on. 


Thomas gets a quiet welcome from the crowd. 


This is the eighth day in yellow of his career and fourth in this year's Tour.  Can he keep it longer? 


"I don't know, I'm just enjoying it all, the team is riding well, me and Froomey too. We're just going to keep doing what we doing," Thomas said. 


"We've got three big days in the Pyrenees and the final time trial. It's also been a tough week. We also need to stay on it today. A lot can happen on the Tour." 


Saturday's stage winner Omar Fraile signs on and gets a special award and photo book from technical director Thierry Gouvenou.


Today's stage takes the riders southwest from MIllau to Carcassonne at the foot of the Pyrenees. 

The stage profile is visible above. This is the stage map.




We can expect lots of sunflowers, wheat fields, rolling roads and perhaps some wind.




It's another day for a breakaway – arguably even more so than the previous day.

However the twenty kilometres of false-flat downhill could make the finale very eventful.

The medieval citadel of Carcassonne will offer some of the best helicopter shots at this 105th edition of the Tour de France.

Although it's appeared on the race as a stage start in recent years, the last time Carcassonne hosted a stage finish was in 2006, when the stage was won by Yaroslav Popovych. 


The local rider in the Tarn department nowadays is Direct Energie's Lilian Calmejane, who won stage 8 to Les Rousses in his first Tour de France participation last year.

Calmejane is a favourite for stage 15, which should be a popular stage given that it's on TV on a Sunday afternoon.


Some riders signed on early today and are now on the rollers warming up for the expected fast and aggressive start.


This is EF Education.



Next to sign on is Peter Sagan. He is again in green.


Asked if he will go inn the break, Sagan said:


"Ahh... I don't know. If the break chooses me maybe but I won't be choosing the break..." 




Were 7 minutes away from the roll out of the stage.


The riders also face 6km of neutralised roads.


Just after the flag drops, the riders will pass under the spectacular Millau viaduct.    


The sun is out in Millau as the riders begin to line-up for the start of the stage.

As usual, the four jersey wearers and the previous day's stage winner are given a special place at the front.


This was the stage result yesterday. The main peloton finished 18 minutes behind.


1 Omar Fraile (Spa) Astana Pro Team 04:41:57
2 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors 00:00:06
3 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 00:00:06
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:12
5 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team 00:00:17
6 Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Sunweb 00:00:19
7 Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 00:00:19
8 Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie 00:00:23
9 Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott 00:00:30
10 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 00:00:37


The climb up to the Mende airstrip sparked some gaps amongst the GC riders. This is the current top ten. 


1 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 58:10:44
2 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 00:01:39
3 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 00:01:50
4 Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo 00:02:38
5 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 00:03:21
6 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team 00:03:42
7 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 00:03:57
8 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 00:04:23
9 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 00:06:14
10 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 00:06:54. 


Even Thomas and all of Team Sky warmed up for the expected fast start.


It could be an aggressive start to the day.


The riders roll out from Millau. Here we go!  


This is the Millau viaduct.  Fortunately for any riders who suffer with heights, the stage passes underneath.


As usual, the riders are packed tight  behind the race director's red car waiting for the flag to be dropped.


The riders can see the viaduct and so know the start is only 1km away.


181km remaining from 181km

They're off!


Prudhomme waves the flag and the stage is on.


And the attacks come. 

Thomas de Gendt is the first to surge away. Tejay van Garderen is on his wheel. 


It could be a great opportunity for the American.


The stage starts with three short but steep climbs. It's ideal for a break to go away. 


Adam Yates kicks clear but is alone. 


The peloton is lined out behind him, with some riders already suffering. 


Yates is hoping other riders will join him. He's no longer a GC contender - he's down to 27th at 39 minutes and so is keen to bounce back and is trying to win a stage.   


176km remaining from 181km

Yates is swept up on the descent. Now its time for the Cat 3 3.1km climb of Cote de Luzencon. 


We can expect Alaphilippe to sprint for the points here. The break is likely to go after the summit.  


Ouch. Demare is struggling behind whenever the road heads upwards.


Warren Barguil attacks on the climb to try and take the points. Pozzovivo and Van Garderen react, so do the rest of the peloton. 


The high speed means that several riders are being spat out the back.


There's a headwind on the climb but Alaphilippe is on the move.


Alaphilippe takes maximum points but the peloton reacts.


Alaphilippe scored just two points but they could be precious if Warren Barguil goes on the attack in the Pyrenees to try and take the polka-dot jersey.  


There is now 18 points between the two in the mountains classification/


Anthony Perez (Cofidis) is the next to attack on the descent. 


We stand corrected on the mountains points. Alaphilippe now leads Barguil by 22 points. 


Maths was never our strong point at school. 


164km remaining from 181km

The attacks keep coming but no break yet. 



Team Sky and Geraint Thomas are covering accelerations at the head of the peloton. 


Adam Yates and Barguil try again.  


Others are chasing them. 


The third early climb is helping Yates, Barguil and Muhlberger of Bora extend their gap. 


22km remaining from 181km

The lined-out peloton is not far behind and refuses to let them go. 


154km remaining from 181km

The trio dive down the descent  to Saint-Affrique. 


Movistar is on the front of the peloton, trying to slow the chase. We could have he break of the day.


150km remaining from 181km

Behind Ion Izagirre is trying to go across the gap. 


Edvald Boasson Hagen makes a second attempt to go across the gap.


147km remaining from 181km

The peloton is chasing band the high speed has put 40 riders out the back. 


Demare, his Groupama teammate Sinkeldam and Van Keirsbulck of Wanty are even further back and fighting to survive. They're 5:00 back and losing time. 


They need the break to go and the peloton to ease if they hope to get back on.


144km remaining from 181km

Gruppo compatto as they say in Italy. 

It's time for new attacks.


143km remaining from 181km

Sylvain Chavanel is on the move. Others chase him but they're fighting into a head wind and so riders are not convinced they can get away. 


When one attacks is caught, another goes clear.


Bora are riding to get in the break but they seem keen to Sagan in the move.  


Alaphilippe has dropped back to the team car and DS Bramati makes it clear he has to stay relaxed and focus.


"The other guys will work for you, stay cool," he shouts from the car.


137km remaining from 181km

On a straight road we have a split and an echelon.


Is the break of the day? 


Peter Sagan was caught behind but made a huge effort to get across the gap. 


He wants more points and why not even another stage win. 


This time the peloton seems to have let them go. 


The gap is up to 30 seconds. Sky is blocking the peloton. Other teams too. 


There are some talented breakaway riders in the 29-rider move.


131km remaining from 181km

The peloton has slowed dramatically. The gap is up to 3:30.    


The break is riding smoothly together, pushing the gap up with every pedal stroke.



There is a slight cross wind and so Team Sky is spread across the road at the head of the peloton.


Two idiots on the roadside light flares but a rider tries to knock it to the ground.


124km remaining from 181km

The riders are on the Col de Sié climb. And local hero Lilian Calmejane has gone clear alone.


He's trying to split the break and get ride of the sprinters, including Peter Sagan.  


122km remaining from 181km

Thomas is sat protected by his Team Sky teammates in the peloton. 5:20 down on the break. 




As the stage rolls on, Lotto Soudal have surprisingly announced that Andre Greipel will not be with the team in 2019.

It seems to be a bitter divorce.

Click here to read more.



119km remaining from 181km

The break is 3km from the summit of the climb. 


The big question is why has Calmejane attacked alone? 



116km remaining from 181km

The break is riding steady behind Calmejane. He leads by 1:15 but faces a lonely ride out front.  


Today's stage is strangely reminiscent of yesterday's stage -- large group, large gap, Sky keeping the peloton under strict control. We wonder if the gap will explode to 20 minutes as it did yesterday?


With 111km to go, the gap to the Sky-led peloton is up to 6:33.


Meanwhile, Calmejane topped the Col de Sie alone and took the five points. 


Arnaud Demare, Ramon Sinkeldam and Guillaume van Keirsbulck have taken advantage of the relatively slow pace of the peloton and have now caught up again, making up a deficit of some five minutes. 

Direct Energy DS Benoit Genauzeau tells that Calmejane's solo attack was not part of the team plan. “Lilian knows the roads at perfection”, he said. “He has taken a big risk. The other breakaway riders can’t be underestimated. There are three strong teams there. But there wasn’t much to do to stop him.”

Calmejane's lead over the large group has fallen to only 28 seconds, but the peloton is still 6:37 back.


101km remaining from 181km

Calmejane must have realized his attempt was futile. He has now fallen back into the fold, or at least into the lead group. 


Chad Haga (Sunweb) falls back to the team car. Near the front of the field, Tom Dumoulin has four teammates with him.


Looks like quite a parade of teams in teh peloton: All of Sky, followed by (almost) all of Sunweb, followed by all of LottoNL-Jumbo.


The lead group is on the descent and who has taken a short lead? None other than green jersey Peter Sagan!


Thomas, Zakarin and a handful of others making their way up through the team cars, probably after a nature break. 


Andre Greipel is not the only one leaving Lotto Soudal. His buddy Marcel Sieberg has confirmed on Twitter that he too is leaving the team at the end of the season. He will announce his new team, rumoured to be Bahrain-Merida, in August. 


Six riders have tried to jump from the lead group and tried to get away, including Sagan and Terpstra. That didn't work, and they are all together again. 


81km remaining from 181km

The gap from the lead group to the peloton has skyrocketed to 7:41 now.

Terpstra tries again to get away but Sagan leads the chase to catch him. 


Skijuns, van Avermaet and a Direct Energy rider are the next to take off.


The Direct Energy rider is Grellier, as the gap has now grown to 8:20.


One reason, no doubt, that the gap has suddenly blown up is that the peloton has just gone through the feed one. Takes time to gather those bags, and inspect and stow the contents!


76km remaining from 181km

The leading trio is giving their all but Sagan is once again leading the chase and there is only a handful of seconds difference.

More than a handful back to the field though, rather it is now over nine minutes. 


The trio has been caught. The chase led to a break in the large field of 29, but it looks like they are now all back together.  At least for the moment.


Grellier takes off again.


Grellier is having more luck alone. He now has 11 seconds on the group.


66km remaining from 181km

We clearly have a race within the race today. The fight for the stage win and then a test of GC form behind. 

That's one of the special things about stage races and especially Grand Tours. 

The peloton is now 10:15 behind the break. They eased up at the feed zone and like many of us, seem to been enjoying a long Sunday lunch. 


Julien Bernard and Fabien Grellier are off the front, 3km from the intermediate sprint in Mazamet.

Soon after the Pic de Nore -the big climb of the stage kicks in. 


It is 12.3km long at 6.3%. It tops out with 41.5km to go. 


It will be fascinating to see if there attacks on Team Sky by Movistar, LottoNl or Tom Dumoulin. 


It is a long descent and then flat road to the finish in Carcassonne but the descent is testing. 


Imagine if one of the GC contenders crashed?  


Julien Bernard and Fabien Grellier roll through the sprint, with Sagan taking third. 


In theory he now needs just 9 more points to wrap up the green jersey competition. Of course he has to finish in Paris next Sunday to take a sixth green jersey and so equal Erik Zabel's record.





Julien Bernard and Fabien Grellier start the Pic de Nore.


It climbs at 7% for the first 6km, then kicks up even steeper, before easing to 5% for the final 5km. 


The Pic de Nore has a huge red and white tower at the barren summit. The winds could also be a factor today. 


The better climbers in the break will have to try to distance the sprinters such as Sagan on this climb if they want a shot at victory.



There are reports of strong winds in the valley road to Carcassone after the climb. 



This is a screen grab shot of the summit. 



49km remaining from 181km

Julien Bernard and Fabien Grellier still lead by 1:10 but Izagirre and Pozzovivo have upped the pace behind as the Pic de Nore begins to hurt. 


Sagan has cracked after the surge in pace. He's 2:00 down on the lead riders now.

It will be difficult for him to get back on and fight for victory today.



There are again huge crowds on the climb. Fortunately they are well behaved today.



Rafal Majka (Bora) attacks the chasers. He seems to have been the green light to attack from Sagan.  


Here we go! We also have attacks in the GC group. 


With 10km of the climb to go, Dan Martin (UAE) accelerates away. 


Race on!


Majka has caught and passed the attackers and so now leads the race with Bernard.


Majka is alone with 5km of the climb to go, he can enjoy the easier gradient and would be wise to wait for the chasers. Mollema, Pozzovivo and others are only  20 seconds back.  


Dan Martin has opened a gap and seems committed to trying to gain time and move the GC. He flatted at the foot of the climb to Mende yesterday, losing time. 


He is currently tenth overall at 6:54 but could move up today.  


44km remaining from 181km

Martin leads the GC peloton by 40 seconds. He is 13 minutes down on Majka on the stage.  


42km remaining from 181km

Majka is pushing on alone, going deep to hold a 40 second lead. 

A spectator seems to have been pushed into the road as he passed or he lost balance. Majka was not involved but a race motorbike almost hit him. 


That's sad to see after the problems of L'Alpe d'Huez. 


Majka is at the summit of the Pic de Nore. He has to fight a strong side wind.




Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana) and Bauke Mollema (Trek) are chasing Majka.


The GC riders are 45km from the summit, with Martin a minute clear on his own. 


It will be fascinating to see if he can stay away.


Majka and his chasers face a very technical 17km descent now. The road weaves through the forest before the fast road to Carcassonne. 


Wout Poels is leading the chase of Martin for Team Sky.


Other riders are being spat out of the back due to the fast, steady speed Poels is putting out.


Martin reaches the summit of the Pic de Nore. 


We'll now see his lead on the GC peloton. 


He is timed at 1:05 ahead of the chasers.


There are only 45 riders left in the GC peloton.


27km remaining from 181km

Up front Majka is going all-in with his solo attack. 


He is trying to hold off the chasers: Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana), Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie), Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), Jon Izagirre Insausti (Bahrain-Merida),  Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) and Michael Valgren (Astana). 


Martin's gap has reduced to 40 seconds. He's not giving up yet but Team Sky are keeping him in check, while also controlling their GC rivals.


Nobody seems ready to take any risks today and attack Thomas and Sky.


20km remaining from 181km

The descent is about to end and so the tram cars are coming up to the break to feed their riders for the last time before the 'bar closes' and feeding is no longer allowed to protect rider safety.


Majka leads the chasers by just 20 seconds. But he refuses to ease up. 


16km remaining from 181km

Majka is giving it big licks out front but will soon feel the strong valley roads.  


Finally Majka realises its useless to fight on alone. He sits up and waits for the 7 chasers.

We now have right riders at the head of the race. 

It will be a very tactical fight for the stage victory.


13km remaining from 181km

Dan Martin is about to be caught by the GC peloton. He gave it a go but is perhaps still too much of a threat to his GC rivals, including Team Sky.


10km remaining from 181km

The wind is blowing from the riders' right across the barren vineyard near Carcassonne. This could become interesting when the GC riders hit the exposed roads.



8km remaining from 181km

Here we go!

The eight rider begin to attack each other. 


The eight are: Rafal Majka (Bora - Hansgrohe), Ion Izagirre, Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain - Merida), Magnus Cort, Michael Valgren (Astana Pro Team), Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie), Bauke Mollema and Toms Skujins (Trek - Segafredo)


Astana, Bahrain and Trek have two riders in the attack but can they make their advantage work? 


Nielsen, Izagirre and Mollema have a gap and their teammates are refusing to work with Calmejane. 


They are clear. They are away.  



Majka is also there but was not able to help Calmejane after his earlier attack.


4km remaining from 181km

Cort Nielsen is by the fastest in a three-rider sprint but surely Mollema and Izagirre will try to attack before the finish.


The peloton is at 15km to go and hit the exposed roads.


There is concern about echelons and splits.


2km remaining from 181km

Mollema, Cort Nielsen and Izagirre are riding together and 30 seconds ahead of the chasers.




1km remaining from 181km

Izagirre jumps but Nielsen is onto him.


It's a tactical game now. 


Sprint finish!


Nielsen is forced to lead out. 


Nielsen leads through the last curve and is stronger and faster.


He gives Astana a second consecutive stage win.


The chasers come in some 30 seconds down, with Valgren celebrating his teammates win.



Izagirre took second and Mollema third.


The rest of the 29-rider break comes in but some have crashed in the final metres.



Several of the attackers went down like skittles in the finishing straight. 


Movistar is leading home the GC peloton. 


This is the stage result.



1 Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team 04:25:52
2 Jon Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
3 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 00:00:02
4 Michael Valgren (Den) Astana Pro Team 00:00:29
5 Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo 00:00:34
6 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 00:00:34
7 Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie 00:00:34
8 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:37
9 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb 00:02:31
10 Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo 00:02:38 



The GC peloton is 3.5km from the finish but riding steady with Sky on the front. 


Cort Nielsen took his first stage victory at the Tour in Carcassonne. He was the fastest finisher of the three and had little problem out sprinting Izagirre and Mollema.



Team Sky bring home the peloton, ensuring that Geraint Thomas stays in the leader's yellow jersey for the second rest day in Carcassonne.



Peter Sagan bring up the rear after being caught by the GC group. 


No points for him at the finish, so he still needs a few points to wrap-up a sixth green jersey. However it is his 100th day in green today.


This is a screen grab of the peloton finishing 13:09 down on Cort Nielsen.



This is the GC after stage 15.


1 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 62:49:47
2 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 00:01:39
3 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 00:01:50
4 Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo 00:02:38
5 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 00:03:21
6 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team 00:03:42
7 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 00:03:57
8 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 00:04:23
9 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 00:06:14
10 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 00:06:54


We have the first photographs from the sprint finish. 

Cort Nielsen is very happy.




This is the moment Magnus Cort Nielsen hits he line.




The Dane celebrates his win on the podium. It is Denmark's 19th stage victory but the first since 2009. 


Magnus Cort Nielsen said of his win:


"This is a dream come true. I'm very happy to take a victory, and I have to thank my team a lot for going me this chance and really believing in me, and especially also Michael in the final."


"Everything was perfect, and my sports director had big belief in me. The team had this tactic from many days ago, we said that this was a stage for me, and that I should go out in the break with Valgren, and then everything worked out perfectly. I'm so happy."



He was inspired after Astana won on Saturday with Fraile.

"Omar Farile's win on stage 14 really gave me confidence that it's possible to win here at the Tour. I'm very happy also for him, and for me and the team. It's amazing," Cort Nielsen said.


Geraint Thomas also waves and smiles on the podium as he pulls on the yellow jersey again.

He still leads Froome by 1:39 with Tom Domoulin third overall at 1:50.


Thomas again has to autograph a number of yellow jersey.



Team Sky enjoyed a relatively quiet day controlling the peloton.



Peter Sagan got a huge cheer on the podium as Le Tour celebrated his 100th day in the green jersey.



Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) spoke about his solo attack on the last climb. It didn't work out but he was not afraid to try to shake up things.


"We’re at a race and I wanted to race for a reason, so I just thought: why not try," he said.


"I thought the downhill would be a lot more downhill than it actually was. There was a headwind and it’s difficult for one guy against a team and a TV motorbike, even if stays 20m in front, that makes a fair difference."


"It’s a calculating sport and everyone was calculating their pennies before the last week. I felt good and could hurt in the Pyrenees but you can have a bad day anywhere and my attack is not going to make a difference." 


Martin won the stage to Mur-de-Bretagne in the first week but crashed in Amiens and lost time and lost tine on Saturday with a flat at the foot of the climb to Mende. 

He is tenth overall at 6:54 but will surely try to move up in the Pyrenees.



Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) spoke briefly about the stage after pulling on a clean yellow jersey.


"It was obviously a hard start. The first hour was a lot of attacks and quite a hard road and wind as well, but we controlled it nicely," he said.


"There was a bit stressful on the descent when Romain Bardet tried to do a little something, and then obviously the winds in the last 15k, but we were always in control, so a good day."




Thomas, like many in the peloton, is looking forward to Monday's second rest day.


"It's a rest day now and then a big week. We'll just keep doing what we're doing, you know, day by day and try to do everything right. We'll see what happens," he said.


"I tend to not mind [the day after a rest day] most of the time. I haven't had too may issues before. It's along stage anyway, so I think even if you are a bit dodgy at the start you have plenty of time to get into it."


At the start of the stage, Thomas and Sagan chatted while showing off their special jerseys.



Sadly the Dimension Data team have confirmed that Serge Pauwels is out of the Tour after fracturing his right elbow in the crash near the finish.



French journalist Patrick Chasse took this photo of Pauwels as he emerged from the mobile x-ray truck.



The Mitchelton-Scott team has confirmed that Damien Howson has a small fracture  in his pisiform bone in his right hand after the crash near today's finish.


The Australian team said he will 'enjoy' the rest day and if there is good news, he should be able to start Tuesday's stage.


It was another day of stunning scenery at the Tour de France, click here to read our full stage report and full results, and to see out growing photo gallery. 




Geraint Thomas also spoke about the comments made by former teammate Bradley Wiggins on Saturday.


The 2012 Tour winner talked about his TUEs, the Jiffy Bag and investigations into Team Sky.

Wiggins said: "Once it's all stacked up and pieced together, it's quite shocking, actually. Eventually. There are a few people bricking it (scared - Ed) at the moment, that's for sure. We'll see. I hope that it comes out of its own accord. It's in some people's interests for it not to come out and to get buried.





Thomas did not seem impressed with Wiggins' comments. 


"I don't know what he said actually. It's not a nice situation is it," Thomas said.


"For me it's the highlight of my career and a massive honour and privelage to be wearing the jersey. To have such an incredible race so far, yes there is a bit of negativatey around which isn't nice but at the end of the day you need to stay strong in your head and crack on."


"The way I see it. I'd rather be in this jersey and having the race of my life and getting booed and whatever than maybe being thirty and getting dropped on the first climb and everyone cheering me on. It is what it is. I'm enjoying it still."


Today is the sixth anniversary of Bradley Wiggins' 2012 Tour de France victory. 


Click here to read our full story on his comments yesterday.



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