Tour de France: Magnus Cort wins stage 15 in Carcassonne

Magnus Cort (Astana) took the second consecutive stage win for Astana Sunday at the Tour de France, winning the sprint of a three-man group in the 15th stage to Carcassonne. Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) took second, with Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) third.

Part of the large break that got away some 40km into the day, Cort made the selection on the day's only first category climb - the Pic de Nore, which peaked 41.5km from the line. As Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) detonated the group with an attack midway up the mountain, Cort banded together with Mollema to keep in touch some 30 seconds back.

Several groups of the fractured break came together shortly after the descent, making a lead group of eight men, including Cort's teammate Michael Valgren. When the attacks for the stage win began, Cort made it to the lead group of three, just having to wait for the sprint to easily outclass the two men with him.

"It's amazing. It's what I've been dreaming of even before I started riding a bike," Cort said after the stage. "It's my first year here at the Tour and I'm so happy to take a victory. I have to thank my team a lot for giving me this chance and really believing in me - especially also with Michael [Valgren] in the final."

"It really was perfect and my sports directors had a really big belief in me. THey were the ones who came with this tactic many days ago, they already said that this is the stage for me. Everything worked out perfectly and I'm so happy."

The Team Sky-led peloton rolled in 13:11 down having enjoyed a largely drama-free day. The overall general classification remains unchanged heading into Monday's rest day, while Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) once again nabbed more points to add to their respective points and mountain classification leads.

How it happened

Stage 15 of the Tour, the final transition stage before the rest day and then the Pyrenees, ran 181.5km from Millau to Carcassonne ‒ possible ambush territory given the third, second and first category climbs en route.

First up, among the trio of sharp climbs that started the day, was the Côte de Luzençon (3.1km at 5.9 per cent) just 9km into the day. The category two Col de Sié (10.2km at 4.9 per cent) came after 64.5km, before a long and lumpy 'descent' into the valley before the main climb of the day - the 12.3km, 6.3 per cent Pic de Nore, which came after 140km. A largely downhill 41.5km to the finish followed, raising the possibility of a GC ambush on the climb.

A fast start to the day saw Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) once again try to go at the gun. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) also tried an early move but neither made it away. Meanwhile Arnaud Dé-mare (Groupama-FDJ) was among the first to drop from the peloton, losing contact on the early third category climb.

Before a break was established, Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) leapt out to take the maxi-mum two points on said climb. A large number of attacks were launched soon after, but the Team Sky-led peloton weren't keen to let anything go in the first 20km.

A large break was only allowed away over 40km into the day, with the gap soon zooming up to over three minutes. It was made up of Peter Sagan, Paweł Poljański and Rafał Majka (all Bora-Hansgrohe); Lilian Calmejane and Fabien Grellier (both Direct Énergie); Greg Van Avermaet (BMC); Bauke Mollema, Julian Bernard and Toms Skujiņš (all Trek-Segafredo); Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data); Dome-nico Pozzovivo, Sonny Colbrelli and Ion Izagirre (all Bahrain-Merida); Daniel Martínez (Education First-Drapac); Daryl Impey and Damien Howson (both Mitchelton-Scott); Arthur Vichot (Groupama-FDJ); Amaël Moinard and Florian Vachon (Fortuneo-Samsic); Magnus Cort and Michael Valgren (both Astana); Jesús Herrada (Cofidis); Nikias Arndt (Team Sunweb); Imanol Erviti, Marc Soler and Daniele Bennati (all Movistar); Silvan Dillier (AG2R La Mondiale); and Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors).

As the break hit the day's second climb - the Col de Sié - they rode into the department Tarn, home of Calmejane. The Frenchman attacked on the climb, ensuring he led the Tour into his home region, collecting the mountain points but finding himself all alone with over 110km to go and a 1:15 advantage.

Just 10 kilometres later, Calmejane dropped back to the break, realising such a long solo was probably not wise move after all. That wasn't the end of the attacks though, as his teammate Grellier was very active over the next 20km. He eventually got away with Bernard just before the day's intermediate sprint, situated at the base of the Pic de Nore began.

Midway up the climb, with 50km to race, the duo enjoyed a 1:30 advantage over the remainder of the break, and a gap of over 13 minutes back to the peloton. It soon evaporated though, with Majka attacking from the break while Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) went on the offensive back in the peloton.

The Pole led over the top, battling the crosswinds on the exposed section of road at the top of climb. Cort and Mollema gave pursuit 25 seconds back, while a group consisting of Calmejane, Skujiņš, Pozzovivo, Izagirre and Valgren lay a further 15 seconds in arrears. Dan Martin crested the peak 12 minutes later, a minute ahead of the peloton but facing a lonely 40km run to the finish.

A regrouping at the front with 15km to go saw the lead group swell to eight as Martin's effort came to an end after the at the same time, with more exposed and windy roads leading to the finish in Carcassonne. Heading inside the last 10km, the break began to attack one another.

After Pozzovivo kicked off the festivities, a group of three emerged, with Cort, Izagirre and Mollema making it to the front of the race. Despite an attempt from Izagirre to get away, the Astana sprinter was always the favourite to win.

Cort led from the front, checking around for any flyers from behind, and went on to launch his sprint as Izagirre went first with 250 metres to go. More or less the confirmed stage winner as soon as he made the front group, all that was left was to confirm it. 

Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team4:25:52
2Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-MeridaRow 1 - Cell 2
3Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo0:00:02
4Michael Valgren (Den) Astana Pro Team0:00:29
5Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo0:00:34
6Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 5 - Cell 2
7Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 6 - Cell 2
8Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe0:00:37
9Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb0:02:31
10Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-SegafredoRow 9 - Cell 2
11Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 10 - Cell 2
12Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step FloorsRow 11 - Cell 2
13Daniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar TeamRow 12 - Cell 2
14Fabien Grellier (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 13 - Cell 2
15Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-HansgroheRow 14 - Cell 2
16Amael Moinard (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 15 - Cell 2
17Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-ScottRow 16 - Cell 2
18Romain Sicard (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 17 - Cell 2
19Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 18 - Cell 2
20Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 19 - Cell 2
21Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-ScottRow 20 - Cell 2
22Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension DataRow 21 - Cell 2
23Arthur Vichot (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 22 - Cell 2
24Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team0:06:07
25Florian Vachon (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic0:08:13
26Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 25 - Cell 2
27Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky0:13:11
28Chris Froome (GBr) Team SkyRow 27 - Cell 2
29Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Team SkyRow 28 - Cell 2
30Egan Bernal (Col) Team SkyRow 29 - Cell 2
31Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 30 - Cell 2
32Dion Smith (NZl) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 31 - Cell 2
33Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team SkyRow 32 - Cell 2
34Simon Geschke (Ger) Team SunwebRow 33 - Cell 2
35Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team SunwebRow 34 - Cell 2
36Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro TeamRow 35 - Cell 2
37Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team SunwebRow 36 - Cell 2
38Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 37 - Cell 2
39Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 38 - Cell 2
40Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 39 - Cell 2
41Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 40 - Cell 2
42Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 41 - Cell 2
43Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 42 - Cell 2
44Jesper Hansen (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 43 - Cell 2
45Pierre Rolland (Fra) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 44 - Cell 2
46Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 45 - Cell 2
47Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 46 - Cell 2
48Kristijan Durasek (Cro) UAE Team EmiratesRow 47 - Cell 2
49Marco Minnaard (Ned) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 48 - Cell 2
50Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 49 - Cell 2
51Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La MondialeRow 50 - Cell 2
52Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 51 - Cell 2
53Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 52 - Cell 2
54Silvan Dillier (Swi) AG2R La MondialeRow 53 - Cell 2
55Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 54 - Cell 2
56Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La MondialeRow 55 - Cell 2
57Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 56 - Cell 2
58Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar TeamRow 57 - Cell 2
59Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team EmiratesRow 58 - Cell 2
60Omar Fraile (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 59 - Cell 2
61Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-JumboRow 60 - Cell 2
62Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 61 - Cell 2
63Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step FloorsRow 62 - Cell 2
64Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar TeamRow 63 - Cell 2
65Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 64 - Cell 2
66Wout Poels (Ned) Team SkyRow 65 - Cell 2
67Warren Barguil (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 66 - Cell 2
68David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 67 - Cell 2
69Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 68 - Cell 2
70Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-MeridaRow 69 - Cell 2
71Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-ScottRow 70 - Cell 2
72Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 71 - Cell 2
73Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-HansgroheRow 72 - Cell 2
74Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott0:15:40
75Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Team SunwebRow 74 - Cell 2
76Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 75 - Cell 2
77Maxime Bouet (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 76 - Cell 2
78Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert0:17:55
79Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Groupama-FDJRow 78 - Cell 2
80Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 79 - Cell 2
81Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-AlpecinRow 80 - Cell 2
82Timo Roosen (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 81 - Cell 2
83Chad Haga (USA) Team SunwebRow 82 - Cell 2
84Paul Martens (Ger) LottoNL-JumboRow 83 - Cell 2
85Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 84 - Cell 2
86Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 85 - Cell 2
87Ian Boswell (USA) Katusha-AlpecinRow 86 - Cell 2
88Thomas Degand (Bel) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 87 - Cell 2
89Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-ScottRow 88 - Cell 2
90Koen de Kort (Ned) Trek-SegafredoRow 89 - Cell 2
91Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto SoudalRow 90 - Cell 2
92Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 91 - Cell 2
93Darwin Atapuma (Col) UAE Team EmiratesRow 92 - Cell 2
94Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 93 - Cell 2
95Rory Sutherland (Aus) UAE Team EmiratesRow 94 - Cell 2
96Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 95 - Cell 2
97Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-SegafredoRow 96 - Cell 2
98Edward Theuns (Bel) Team SunwebRow 97 - Cell 2
99Kevin Ledanois (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 98 - Cell 2
100Romain Hardy (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 99 - Cell 2
101Elie Gesbert (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 100 - Cell 2
102Yoann Offredo (Fra) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 101 - Cell 2
103Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:18:01
104Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:21:44
105Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 104 - Cell 2
106Simon Gerrans (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 105 - Cell 2
107Julien Vermote (Bel) Dimension Data0:22:17
108Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe0:23:36
109Michael Gogl (Aut) Trek-SegafredoRow 108 - Cell 2
110Anthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 109 - Cell 2
111Oliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 110 - Cell 2
112Laurent Pichon (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 111 - Cell 2
113Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 112 - Cell 2
114Mathew Hayman (Aus) Mitchelton-ScottRow 113 - Cell 2
115Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 114 - Cell 2
116Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-HansgroheRow 115 - Cell 2
117Tom Scully (NZl) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 116 - Cell 2
118Jay Thomson (RSA) Dimension DataRow 117 - Cell 2
119Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-ScottRow 118 - Cell 2
120Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension DataRow 119 - Cell 2
121Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 120 - Cell 2
122Tim Declercq (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 121 - Cell 2
123Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 122 - Cell 2
124Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 123 - Cell 2
125Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 124 - Cell 2
126Taylor Phinney (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 125 - Cell 2
127Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 126 - Cell 2
128Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension DataRow 127 - Cell 2
129Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team EmiratesRow 128 - Cell 2
130Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Groupama-FDJRow 129 - Cell 2
131John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-SegafredoRow 130 - Cell 2
132Roberto Ferrari (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 131 - Cell 2
133Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 132 - Cell 2
134Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-HansgroheRow 133 - Cell 2
135Kristijan Koren (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 134 - Cell 2
136Damien Gaudin (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 135 - Cell 2
137Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-HansgroheRow 136 - Cell 2
138Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 137 - Cell 2
139Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Groupama-FDJRow 138 - Cell 2
140Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step FloorsRow 139 - Cell 2
141Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step FloorsRow 140 - Cell 2
142Jack Bauer (NZl) Mitchelton-ScottRow 141 - Cell 2
143Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 142 - Cell 2
144Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain-MeridaRow 143 - Cell 2
145Luke Rowe (GBr) Team SkyRow 144 - Cell 2
146Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 145 - Cell 2
147Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) LottoNL-JumboRow 146 - Cell 2
148Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 147 - Cell 2
149Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Dimension DataRow 148 - Cell 2
150Jerome Cousin (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 149 - Cell 2
DSQGianni Moscon (Ita) Team SkyRow 150 - Cell 2
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Sprint 1 - 121.5km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo20pts
2Fabien Grellier (Fra) Direct Energie17Row 1 - Cell 3
3Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe15Row 2 - Cell 3
4Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team13Row 3 - Cell 3
5Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe11Row 4 - Cell 3
6Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe10Row 5 - Cell 3
7Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott9Row 6 - Cell 3
8Arthur Vichot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ8Row 7 - Cell 3
9Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott7Row 8 - Cell 3
10Silvan Dillier (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale6Row 9 - Cell 3
11Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team5Row 10 - Cell 3
12Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida4Row 11 - Cell 3
13Daniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar Team3Row 12 - Cell 3
14Romain Sicard (Fra) Direct Energie2Row 13 - Cell 3
15Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team1Row 14 - Cell 3
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Sprint 2 - 181.5km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team30pts
2Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida25Row 1 - Cell 3
3Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo22Row 2 - Cell 3
4Michael Valgren (Den) Astana Pro Team19Row 3 - Cell 3
5Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo17Row 4 - Cell 3
6Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida15Row 5 - Cell 3
7Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie13Row 6 - Cell 3
8Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe11Row 7 - Cell 3
9Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb9Row 8 - Cell 3
10Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo7Row 9 - Cell 3
11Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team6Row 10 - Cell 3
12Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors5Row 11 - Cell 3
13Daniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar Team4Row 12 - Cell 3
14Fabien Grellier (Fra) Direct Energie3Row 13 - Cell 3
15Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe2Row 14 - Cell 3
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KOM 1 - 9km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors2pts
2Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale1Row 1 - Cell 3
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KOM 2 - 64.5km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie5pts
2Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo2Row 2 - Cell 3
4Arthur Vichot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ1Row 3 - Cell 3
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KOM 3 - 140km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe10pts
2Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo8Row 1 - Cell 3
3Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team6Row 2 - Cell 3
4Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie4Row 3 - Cell 3
5Michael Valgren (Den) Astana Pro Team2Row 4 - Cell 3