Tour de France: Simon Yates takes a second stage win on Prat d'Albis

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) won his second stage of the Tour de France, triumphing once again from the break on the summit finish of Prat d'Albis. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) was once again the strongest of the GC contenders, taking second ahead of Mikel Landa (Movistar) and gaining precious time on each of his rivals.

While Yates won from the day's early break, chasing down Simon Geschke (CCC Team) on the day's penultimate climb before going solo on the climb to the finish, it was Pinot who stole the headline with his relentless attacking on the slopes of Prat d'Albis.

Pinot launched 6km from the line, dropping all but Egan Bernal (Team Ineos), Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep), though the trio couldn't hold his pace for long.

He powered on alone to the finish, picking up Landa along the way for an eventual time gain of 1:16 on Alaphilippe, who finally collapsed as the climb went on. Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) and Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) went on the attack late on to make smaller gains on the Frenchman.

"It was my weather, a stage as I like it," said Pinot after the finish. "I had good sensations and I knew that the final was flat so I could put myself in the red in the steep part. I wasn't taking too many risks. I took time on everyone again, that's the main thing.

"We must continue now – we're moving up the ranking and the toughest stages are coming. When you have good legs, you have to enjoy them.

"This was the tactic put in place this morning and it worked well. We can be satisfied. I have David [Gaudu] with me and he did a good job again. I picked up Rudy [Molard] and Seb [Reichenbach]. We showed we are a solid and attacking team. It paid off and it's great when it works!"

For Yates, it's another stage win to add to his growing Grand Tour collection, now seven in total. His victories, along with Daryl Impey's on stage 9, have saved the race for a Mitchelton-Scott team built around Adam Yates' now long-dead GC ambitions.

"I'm very proud of what I did today," said Simon Yates after the stage. "It was an extremely hard day, really from the start to the finish. I raced the way I like to, try to be aggressive, and I managed to pull it off. I'm really happy.

"Today was the other day that I would have had a chance, so nothing really changed for me. I was just taking it with both hands. I'm very tired now, that one took a lot of effort. There are some more chances, we'll see what it holds."

Alaphilippe remains in yellow, though his advantage over Thomas in second is now reduced to 1:35 as the peloton head for the second rest day of the race. Thomas, Kruijswijk, Pinot, Bernal and Buchmann in sixth are separated by only 39 seconds, setting up a fascinating final week of the race.

How it unfolded

The second summit finish in as many days, stage 15 of the Tour de France would provide another chance for the GC contenders to battle it out in the Pyrenees. Four classified climbs dotted the stage. First up was the Col de Montségur (6.8km at 6 per cent) after 60km, then the first-cat Port de Lers (11.4km at 7 per cent) after 120km.

Two first-category climbs came in the day's final 50km – the steep and narrow Mur de Péguère (9.3km at 7.9 per cent), which topped out 38km from the line, and the summit finish at Prat d'Albis (11.8km at 6.9 per cent).

From the start, there was a huge, non-stop battle for the break. It seemed as though half of the peloton tried to get away at one point or another, as names such as De Gendt, Oss, Caruso and various CCC and Katusha riders tried to break away on multiple occasions.

The action continued all the way to the first climb of the day, over 50 kilometres into the day. With 47 kilometres covered in the first hour, it was the second-category Col de Montségur which finally saw the break of the day established.

Astana, Bahrain-Merida, Trek-Segafredo and Movistar each enjoyed three men in the 28-man move, while Groupama-FDJ, AG2R La Mondiale, Team Sunweb got two riders apiece out front.

Notable names in the break included Yates, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Omar Fraile, Alexey Lutsenko, Pello Bilbao (all Astana), Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale), Bauke Mollema, Giulio Ciccone (both Trek-Segafredo), Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates), Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin), Michael Woods (EF Education First), Jesús Herrada (Cofidis) and Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Back in the peloton, Deceuninck-QuickStep put their lead-out train to work on unfamiliar terrain, with Maxi Richeze and Michael Mørkøv leading the way as the break moved three minutes clear.

On the descent, an eight-man chase group made it across to the leaders, with Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), Mathias Frank (AG2R La Mondiale) and two men from Cofidis meaning seven teams had three riders each in the move. Only QuickStep, Lotto and Ineos had no riders in the break.

The break split up in a big way on the Port de Lers, with Nibali, Mollema and Zakarin among the riders falling out of contention while 16 men formed a lead. Back in the peloton, Enric Mas (Deceuninck-QuickStep) was surprisingly dropped despite sprinter Elia Viviani still being able to work up front.

Quintana, who had struggled on the climb, made it to the leaders at the top of Lers. He joined Bardet, Gallopin, Reichenbach, Molard, Roche, Kämna, Fraile, Bilbao, Lutsenko, Soler, Amador, Ciccone, Bernard, Yates, Woods, Dan Martin, Guillaume Martin, Geschke, Herrada and Kreuziger in the lead.

At the base of the Mur de Péguère, the peloton, still led by Deceuninck-QuickStep, was 3:45 down on the break. Geschke went on the attack midway up, while Viviani finally dropped back.

On the climb's steepest slopes, both the peloton and break blew up with Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) among the casualties as Mikel Landa (Movistar) attacked. Jumbo-Visma controlled the peloton, whittling it down to 16 riders, including three of their own.

Yates left the break behind to catch Geschke over the top, while a group consisting of Quintana, Bardet, Lutsenko and Reichenbach chased. Landa crested the top 25 seconds ahead of the GC group, which lay 2:35 down on the leaders.

Bardet chastised his break mates on the descent for lack of work as Geschke and Yates sped away. They would be caught by the remains of the break as they hit the valley. Meanwhile, Landa, who had Soler and Amador for company, made time too, eking out a minute on the downhill.

Landa caught Quintana 9km from the finish, but the Colombian offered little help as Landa pushed on with the two Simons 1:30 up the road. Three minutes further back, Jumbo-Visma took it up on the front of the GC group.

Yates made his bid for glory 8.5km from the line, and it would prove a fruitful one, with Geschke not able to follow, and Landa only able to close within a minute for much of the climb. Back in the peloton, Groupama-FDJ took control as David Gaudu and Pinot pushed the pace.

Pinot burst away, 6km from the finish, with only Bernal, Alaphilippe and Buchmann able to follow. The Frenchman kept pushing on, standing on the pedals as he repeatedly tried to ride everyone off his wheel. Alaphilippe was the first to pop, a kilometre later, while Buchmann and Bernal dropped soon after. Pinot later linked up with teammates from the break, Reichenbach and Molard, the team's morning plans working to perfection.

With 3.5km to race, Alaphilippe was caught by the Thomas-Kruijswijk-Porte group, forced to work on the front as nobody wanted to pull him along. Further up the road, Pinot was still flying, homing in on Landa, while Kämna was putting in a superb ride to stick with Bernal and Buchmann.

Alaphilippe, fully spent, was put further into trouble when Kruijswijk launched 2.5km from the finish, going again with Thomas 1.5km out to leave the Frenchman behind for good. The pair, along with world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) would put 27 seconds into Alaphilippe at the finish.

Up the road though, it was Pinot's stage despite him not winning it. With 18 seconds gained on Bernal and Buchmann, 49 on Thomas and Kruijswijk, and 1:16 on Alaphilippe, it was another day to savour for the man who is stamping his authority as the strongest climber of the race.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott4:47:04
2Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:00:33
3Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 2 - Cell 2
4Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe0:00:51
5Egan Bernal (Col) Team IneosRow 4 - Cell 2
6Lennard Kämna (Ger) Team Sunweb0:01:03
7Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Ineos0:01:22
8Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 7 - Cell 2
9Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 8 - Cell 2
10Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo0:01:30
11Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep0:01:49
12Wout Poels (Ned) Team IneosRow 11 - Cell 2
13Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic0:01:54
14Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 13 - Cell 2
15Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert0:02:08
16Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ0:02:55
17Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Dimension Data0:02:58
18Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 17 - Cell 2
19Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar TeamRow 18 - Cell 2
20Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education FirstRow 19 - Cell 2
21Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates0:03:38
22Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Gobert0:03:45
23Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Education FirstRow 22 - Cell 2
24Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:04:02
25Simon Geschke (Ger) CCC Team0:04:24
26Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:04:45
27David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:05:20
28Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:06:24
29Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:06:59
30Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Team Ineos0:09:59
31Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:10:06
32Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-SegafredoRow 31 - Cell 2
33Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis Solutions Credits0:10:08
34George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma0:11:42
35Michael Woods (Can) EF Education FirstRow 34 - Cell 2
36Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-HansgroheRow 35 - Cell 2
37Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo0:12:57
38Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 37 - Cell 2
39Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Team Ineos0:13:37
40Fabien Grellier (Fra) Total Direct Energie0:13:53
41Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 40 - Cell 2
42Laurens De Plus (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma0:14:21
43Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis Solutions Credits0:16:12
44Ben King (USA) Dimension DataRow 43 - Cell 2
45Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Dimension DataRow 44 - Cell 2
46Omar Fraile (Spa) Astana Pro Team0:18:56
47Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 46 - Cell 2
48Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La MondialeRow 47 - Cell 2
49Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:19:15
50Paul Ourselin (Fra) Total Direct EnergieRow 49 - Cell 2
51Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Arkéa SamsicRow 50 - Cell 2
52Michael Schär (Swi) CCC Team0:20:27
53Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJRow 52 - Cell 2
54Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo0:21:16
55Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Ineos0:21:37
56Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:22:17
57Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana Pro Team0:23:19
58Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team0:24:18
59Carlos Verona (Spa) Movistar Team0:24:30
60Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 59 - Cell 2
61Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-ScottRow 60 - Cell 2
62Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar TeamRow 61 - Cell 2
63Hugo Houle (Can) Astana Pro TeamRow 62 - Cell 2
64Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team SunwebRow 63 - Cell 2
65Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team SunwebRow 64 - Cell 2
66Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First0:24:43
67Dries Devenyns (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep0:25:43
68Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:26:48
69Serge Pauwels (Bel) CCC TeamRow 68 - Cell 2
70Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-AlpecinRow 69 - Cell 2
71Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-HansgroheRow 70 - Cell 2
72Florian Vachon (Fra) Arkéa SamsicRow 71 - Cell 2
73Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty-GobertRow 72 - Cell 2
74Koen de Kort (Ned) Trek-SegafredoRow 73 - Cell 2
75Kevin Ledanois (Fra) Arkéa SamsicRow 74 - Cell 2
76Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Cofidis Solutions CreditsRow 75 - Cell 2
77Elie Gesbert (Fra) Arkéa SamsicRow 76 - Cell 2
78Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team SunwebRow 77 - Cell 2
79Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team EmiratesRow 78 - Cell 2
80Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 79 - Cell 2
81Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 80 - Cell 2
82Maxime Bouet (Fra) Arkéa SamsicRow 81 - Cell 2
83Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 82 - Cell 2
84Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 83 - Cell 2