Tour de France: Pogacar wins stage 15 atop Grand Colombier

Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) claimed his second stage victory of the Tour de France, finishing just ahead of yellow jersey Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) atop the Grand Colombier, on a day when Egan Bernal’s hopes of repeating his 2019 triumph evaporated.

Jumbo-Visma dominated the final stage of the second week, performing something of a team time trial up the fearsome 17.4km summit finish in the Jura mountains, a collective display that would rank alongside Ineos Grenadiers’ greatest hits from the past decade.

Ineos themselves were left in a sorry state as Bernal found himself in trouble some 13.3km from the top of the Grand Colombier and dragged himself across the line more than seven minutes in arrears, falling out of the top 10. The defending champion shook his head in desperation as he lost contact while the pace was still being set by Milan-San Remo champion Wout van Aert, who, almost sadistically, went on to trail him all the way to the finish.

Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) and Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) also lost more than three minutes as a group of 12, a quarter of whom were Jumbo-Visma riders, survived into the final kilometre. Barring a brief attack from Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) with 7km to go, the only real accelerations came in sight of the bonus seconds at the line.

Pogacar once again showcased his finishing kick with just over 100 metres to go and Roglic, while able to react, had to settle for second place, his overall lead falling by four seconds to 40 seconds due to the bonuses. Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo), who split the lead group of 12 with an acceleration inside 350m, took third place at five seconds.

Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) was fourth at eight seconds, before Enric Mas (Movistar) finished with Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), Mikel Landa (Bahrain McLaren) and, three seconds back, Rigoberto Uran (EF Pro Cycling). Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Pello Bilbao (Bahrain McLaren) were next at 24 seconds, while Tom Dumoulin, who led from 7km to go until 600m to go, was the last finisher from that lead group at 34 seconds.

“Jumbo just set the pace really high all day and made it a really difficult stage. In the end, I was waiting for a sprint. I’m so happy to win again,” Pogacar said.

“I think Jumbo was really prepared for today. From my point of view, there was no sense to attack. I don’t know what happened [to Bernal] but Jumbo did a really hard pace today and some riders paid for it. For the moment [Roglic] seems unstoppable but today Bernal cracked and maybe another day I will crack or Roglic. We don’t know in a three-week stage race.”

Ahead of Monday’s rest day and the Alps in the final week, the stage, which featured two first-category climbs - Montée de la Selle de Fromentel (11.1km at 8.1 per cent) and Col de la Biche (6.9km at 8.9 per cent) – ahead of the big summit finish, significantly altered the complexion of the race.

Bernal is out of the running and the battle for the yellow jersey is looking more and more like a tale of two Slovenians. Roglic is still in command, with a strikingly strong team around him, but Pogacar once again showed he has the form and tenacity to challenge in the final week.

No one else is within a minute of Roglic, with Uran now third at 1:34 and Lopez fourth at 1:45. Yates, Porte, and Landa are all still in the fight at just over two minutes, while Mas moves up to eighth at 3:15 at the expense of Quintana, whose hopes are also over at five minutes. Dumoulin now rounds out the top 10 as Martin slips to 11th at 6:45.

How it unfolded

With almost 100km of flat roads ahead of the trio of mountains, the start of the stage was all about the battle to form a breakaway, and it was quite the battle. It took more than 30km of non-stop action off the front of the bunch for something to finally stick, but not before Sergio Higuita (EF Pro Cycling) had to abandon the race after crashing twice, the first time when he was trying to form a break and Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-QuickStep) cut across him.

Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) was clearly keen to get up the road and he finally succeeded when he found eight men for company in the CCC duo of Simon Geschke and Matteo Trentin, plus Kévin Ledanois (Arkéa-Samsic), Jesús Herrada (Cofidis), Marco Marcato (UAE Team Emirates), Niccolo’ Bonifazio (Total Direct Energie), and Michael Gogl (NTT Pro Cycling). Jungels attempted to counter but was unable to get across, while a brief chase from Mitchelton-Scott, who’d missed the boat, threatened the break’s chances but the elastic soon snapped and they managed to carve out a lead of five minutes.

The first flashpoint came at the intermediate sprint in Le Bouchage, where Sam Bennett and Peter Sagan once again duked it out for the green jersey. Sagan had actually attacked to try and distance the points classification leader and break away earlier in the stage, with Bennett quick to mark him, and the pair were left to battle for the remaining points after the successful break had taken the first eight places, led by Trentin. Sagan sent Lukas Postlberger on the attack to take points away but Bennett had a full lead-out for the sprint and took the maximum remaining haul of seven points, while Sagan crossed behind Michael Morkov and settled for five points.

Jumbo-Visma were keen to set a strong tempo on the approach to the mountainous finale, and it was four-time time trial world champion Tony Martin who pulled the bunch all the way to the first climb, the Montée de la Selle de Fromentel, by which point, with 75km to go, the gap to the break was 4:30.

Selle de Fromentel

The first-category Montée de la Selle de Fromentel measured 11.1km in length, with an average gradient of 8.1 per cent, and the fearsome nature of the climb was evident in both groups. In the break, Trentin set the pace on the lower slopes before pulling off half-way up, setting up Geschke for an attack. Rolland was quick to respond, and Herrada soon made it three. While Marcato, Trentin, Ledanois, and Bonifazio were definitively dropped, Gogl tried to claw his way back, weaving across the road on the steepest gradients and refusing to let the leaders out of his sights. Herrada was first to the top, claiming the maximum 10 mountains classification points

Back in the bunch, Martin continued his efforts on the lower slopes before Robert Gesink and then Van Aert started to pull. Damage was already being done, as not just sprinters were dropped, but the likes of Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) Luke Rowe, Pavel Sivakov (both Ineos), Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott), Tejay van Garderen (EF Pro Cycling).

UAE Team Emirates took over from Jumbo-Visma towards the top, and put Ineos in more difficulty, with Richard Carapaz – who’d crashed earlier – and Andrey Amador losing contact. Jonathan Castroviejo and Dylan van Baarle were dangling but managed to stay in touch over the top, while there were already worrying signs for Bernal, who crested the climb towards the back of the yellow jersey group, which only contained around 40 riders.

Col de la Biche

A short descent separated the Montée de la Selle de Fromentel from the Col de la Biche (6.9km at 8.9 per cent), which Gogl used not only to drag his way back to the front of the race, but also attack. The Austrian flew down the descent and hit the second climb with a lead of 45 seconds over Herrada, Rolland, and Geschke, and 3:15 over the yellow jersey group, where Gesink was back on the front of a six-man Jumbo-Visma train.

Gogl looked stronger than he did on the previous ascent and held his own as Geschke and Herrada suffered behind. Rolland sensed it and attacked them half-way up, making his way over to Gogl 2.1km from the summit. He then attacked in the final 500m, leading alone over the top to take the 10 KOM points and move to fourth in the mountains classification. Gogl followed over the top at 15 seconds, while Herrada, who found a second wind, stayed in contention too.

In the yellow jersey group, Jumbo-Visma maintained their grip all the way up, with Van Aert trading turns with Gesink on the second half of the climb. The pace didn’t see as much damage as the previous climb but Pavel Sivakov (Ineos) and Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) did lose contact. The group of 35 riders crested the Col de la Biche two minutes down on Rolland.

A 15km descent made way for a short stretch in the valley ahead of the fearsome final 17.4km climb up the Grand Colombier, Both Gogl and Herrada briefly managed to get back to Rolland, but they barely made contact before Gogl used his descending skills to once again forge clear, while Herrada seemed to struggle and slipped further back, eventually all the way back to the bunch. Rolland linked back up with Gogl in the valley and the pair hit the Grand Colombier with a lead of 1:30 over the yellow jersey group.

Grand Colombier

There are four ways up the Grand Colombier, which was making its debut as a summmit finish in the Tour, but this stage, like the Tour de l’Ain last month, tackled it from Culoz, taking on the striking lacets (hairpins) section that were seen in the 2016 Tour, before continuing on to the summit at 1500 metres.

Rolland stayed with Gogl for the opening two kilometres before leaving him behind, as, back in the yellow jersey group, Gesink moved aside and left Van Aert to set a stiff tempo on the early slopes. Guillaume Martin had suffered a mechanical in the valley but, with the help of Herrada, got back into the main group.

Van Aert’s pace was such that both Bernal and Quintana found themselves in difficulty, while Rolland was caught 13km from the summit. On the lacets, Bernal shook his head as he lost contact, with Kwiatkowski and Castroviejo dropping to try and limit the damage. Quintana was with them, as they drifted to 20 seconds back with 12.5km to go, and then 55 seconds with 11.5km to go. At that point, Quintana, with Warren Barguil dropping back for him, left the Ineos riders and tried to claw back a bit of ground.

Van Aert’s remarkable turn continued as the group thinned massively, with mostly non-GC riders losing contact, although Guillaume Martin was dangling precariously off the back. With 10km to go, Van Aert was still on the front, as four Jumbo riders led the yellow jersey group, which was down to just 20 riders.

Van Aert finally pulled over with 8.8km to go, leaving George Bennett on the front and a trail of destruction in his wake. Bernal was already at 1:45 and Quintana at 1:25, while Martin definitively lost contact and drifted further back. The Jumbo-Visma train continued until 7km to go, whereupon Adam Yates provided the first real disruption with an audacious attack. Bennett’s pace had clearly waned and the New Zealander was soon struggling off back of the group as Tom Dumoulin took it up ahead of Roglic and Sepp Kuss.

Dumoulin clawed Yates back with 5.8km to go, at which point 12 riders remained: Dumoulin, Roglic, Kuss, Pogacar, Yates, Porte, Mas, Valverde, Landa, Lopez, Uran, Bilbao. There was now 2:15 to Quintana and 3:15 to Bernal, who was almost being trolled by Van Aert, who climbed in his wheel.

Dumoulin led that same group over a plateau and all the way into the barriers in the final 2.5km, and it became clear the only attacks would come for bonus seconds in sight of the line. Dumoulin took it all the way to 600m to go, at which point Roglic attacked. Pogacar responded, as Kuss then accelerated and moved to the front. The next acceleration came from Porte with 350m to go. Roglic was immediately in contact, followed by Pogacar and Lopez. Those four opened a gap on the rest as Porte kicked again with 150m to go, but Pogacar then made his decisive acceleration. Roglic tried to go with it, but had to bow to his countryman, who is also now his biggest threat.

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Full results
PlaceRider (Country) TeamResult
1Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates04:34:13
2Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 1 - Cell 2
3Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo00:00:05
4Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Astana Pro Team00:00:08
5Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team00:00:15
6Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-Visma00:00:15
7Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain McLaren00:00:15
8Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott00:00:15
9Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Pro Cycling00:00:18
10Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team00:00:24
11Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren00:00:24
12Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma00:00:34
13Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain McLaren00:01:54
14Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis00:03:25
15Harold Alfonso Tejada Canacue (Col) Astana Pro Team00:03:36
16Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ00:03:43
17Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo00:03:46
18Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic00:03:50
19Jan Hirt (Cze) CCC Team00:04:05
20Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic00:05:10
21Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation00:05:14
22Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Movistar Team00:05:22
23Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale00:06:33
24Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Ineos Grenadiers00:07:20
25Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers00:07:20
26David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ00:07:20
27Daniel Felipe Martinez Poveda (Col) EF Pro Cycling00:07:20
28Pierre Rolland (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept00:07:20
29Wout van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma00:07:20
30George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma00:08:20
31Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers00:12:09
32Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale00:18:07
33Michael Gogl (Aut) NTT Pro Cycling00:18:27
34Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates00:18:45
35Simon Geschke (Ger) CCC Team00:19:12
36Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal00:19:36
37Romain Sicard (Fra) Total Direct Energie00:19:45
38Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Start-Up Nation00:20:03
39Omar Fraile Matarranz (Spa) Astana Pro Team00:20:24
40Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team00:20:24
41Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis00:20:24
42David De la Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) UAE Team Emirates00:20:24
43Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck-Quickstep00:20:46
44Hugo Houle (Can) Astana Pro Team00:20:46
45Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers00:20:52
46Robert Gesink (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma00:20:52
47Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ00:20:52
48Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Ineos Grenadiers00:20:52
49Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ00:20:52
50Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team00:20:52
51Niklas Eg (Den) Trek-Segafredo00:20:52
52Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team00:20:52
53Andrey Amador (CRc) Ineos Grenadiers00:20:52
54Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott00:20:52
55Kevin Ledanois (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic00:22:17
56Dayer Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic00:23:37
57Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain McLaren00:27:38
58Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R la Mondiale00:27:38
59Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott00:27:38
60Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept00:27:38
61Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers00:27:38
62Cyril Barthe (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept00:27:38
63Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ00:27:38
64Michael Schär (Swi) CCC Team00:27:38
65José Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team00:27:38
66Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team00:27:38
67Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis00:27:38
68Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team00:27:38
69Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ00:27:38
70Jens Keukeleire (Bel) EF Pro Cycling00:27:38
71Michael Valgren (Den) NTT Pro Cycling00:27:38
72Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation00:30:38
73Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation00:30:38
74Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team00:30:38
75Mathieu Burgaudeau (Fra) Total Direct Energie00:30:38
76Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team00:30:38
77Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale00:30:38
78Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Cofidis00:30:46
79Cyril Gautier (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept00:31:38
80Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) Total Direct Energie00:31:38
81Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Groupama-FDJ00:31:38
82Neilson Powless (USA) EF Pro Cycling00:31:38
83Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates00:31:38
84Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Pro Cycling00:31:38
85Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe00:31:38
86Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sunweb00:33:51
87Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain McLaren00:33:51
88Guy Niv (Isr) Israel Start-Up Nation00:34:58
89Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Pro Cycling00:35:18
90Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team Emirates00:35:18
91Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Team Sunweb00:36:22
92Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb00:36:22
93Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb00:36:22
94Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe00:37:26
95Nils Politt (Ger) Israel Start-Up Nation00:37:26
96Tony Martin (Ger) Team Jumbo-Visma00:37:26
97Winner Anacona (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic00:37:26
98Dario Cataldo (Ita) Movistar Team00:37:26
99Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe00:37:26
100Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale00:37:26
101Clément Russo (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic00:37:26
102Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott00:37:26
103Ryan Gibbons (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling00:37:26
104Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Mitchelton-Scott00:37:26
105Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo00:37:26
106Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis00:37:26
107Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) CCC Team00:37:26
108Tejay Van Garderen (USA) EF Pro Cycling00:37:26
109Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain McLaren00:37:26
110Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe00:37:26
111Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe00:37:26
112Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal00:37:26
113Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo00:37:26
114Tim Declercq (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep00:37:26
115Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep00:37:26
116