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Tour de France stage 15 - Live coverage

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Good morning and welcome along as we hit one of the most important days of this Tour de France. It's a major mountain stage in the Pyrenees, with 4500 metres of elevation gain on the road to Andorra, which is already home to a large community of professional cyclists. It's the end of the second week, it's hot, it's bound to be chaotic again, and the parcours is demanding enough to drive significant differences between the general classification contenders. 

This is the scene in Céret this morning. The roll-out is coming up at 12:20 local time, and the stage proper will be waved underway around 10 minutes after that.

Tour

(Image credit: Alpecin-Fenix)

Before we get going, now's the time to catch up on yesterday's action. 

Stage 14: Report, results, photos

The interesting thing about yesterday was the way Guillaume Martin casually slipped into the break and rose to second overall. That's the second time that's happened in a week, after Ben O'Connor did the same in the Alps. Race leader Tadej Pogačar has enough of a buffer that he doesn't need to worry too much about those guys, but usually on the Tour we'd see responses from the teams of lower-placed riders protecting their podiums, top-fives, or even top-tens. That sort of conservatism hasn't happened yet in this Tour and despite there being an overwhelming front-runner, this race does still feel open and sort of exciting. 

Speaking of which, today's stage is going to be particularly difficult to manage. It will take something to top the chaos we saw in the Alps last weekend but there'll be a huge amount of interest in the breakaway, given the success breaks are enjoying on this Tour (partly due to Pogacar being so far out in front), and given this is a big day for the mountains classification (so expect Quintana, Woods, Poels to all be up there). 

What's more, we start with a climb. It's not categorised, but would be on most other stages. It's sure to be an explosive one, with riders everywhere, and UAE will have a big job on their hands trying to get this to settle. 

That climb will ensure plenty of riders are on the rollers this morning, warming up.

After that come the major climbs. There's nothing massively jagged here, just a steady accrual of some seriously heavy elevation gain. The first climb and the long road up to the Port d'Envalira (which is split into two climbs) are grinding climbs on wide well-surfaced roads, although the altitude on the latter (2400m) will play a significant factor. After that, it's the rather more punchy Col de Beixalis, which is where we're likely to see the big moves being made ahead of the descent into town.

We do have an actual preview of today's stage, which is here.

We also have our feature preview of this weekend as a whole, which is still relevant I promise. 

Tour de France podium battle resumes in the Pyrenees - Preview

Aside from the elevation gain, today we have altitude and we have heat - two factors that can throw certain riders well off balance. There have been murmurs of Pogačar not being overly comfortable in the heat, and there was maybe a hint of that on Ventoux. That maybe sounds stretchingly hopeful of a true yellow jersey battle, but you never know.

We're off!

The riders reach kilometre-zero bang on time and we are racing

Woods, as expected, is straight on the attack. He's in the polka-dot jersey after his efforts yesterday.

Quintana is now moving up but nothing is going clear for now.

Thomas De Gendt is on the move now.

De Gendt has struggled at this Tour so far and has even suggested his best form is no longer good enough to let rip in the breaks in the way that has made his name. But he looks better here. He's well clear solo

Dylan van Baarle (Ineos) is among a counter-attack. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) shows himself now.

The peloton is fully lined out on this opening uncategorised climb

Powless is active in the counter but the peloton is right behind.

De Gendt is 18 seconds clear

Aurelien Paret-Peintre (AG2R) attacks now. He's 13th overall. 

Nacer Bouhanni dropped. 

And so is Cees Bol, who like Bouhanni, struggled at the back to make the time cut yesterday. Max Walscheid is with them and they could struggle to make the cut today.

Dan Martin, Steven Kruijswijk, Ruben Guerreiro join up with Paret-Peintre.

Dylan Teuns bridges across too.

And now two more make it over - Julien Bernard and Sergio Henao

They look to be clear but Fraile launches another attack from the bunch.

Van Aert joins Fraile as the Spanish champion kicks again.

Things calm down in the bunch but then Lukas Postlberger sets off and now Alaphilippe and Elissonde react.

Van Aert responds again and is now on the front.

Van Aert knocks it off and now Latour attacks. Alaphilippe goes after him.

Van Aert jumps on it once again. Valverde is there too.

De Gendt has been caught by that chase group with Teuns and Dan Martin, so there are now eight riders out front, 25 seconds clear of the fragmented bunch, with Postlberger in between.

Latour attacks once again. Poels jumps now

And that draws Woods out.

Van Aert is there as the group swells... and it's going clear.

The road is being blocked in the bunch. We're still climbing but this looks like the break going.

Some big names here. Alaphilippe, Van Aert, Nibali, Valverde, Van Baarle, Woods, Poels, and more. We'll have the full list shortly.

David Gaudu (FDJ) is in the move. He's the best-placed overall but is more than half an hour down after his off-day on Mont Ventoux.

We're descending now and most riders have got over that early climb in the peloton. Bol and Bouhanni have been dropped but Cavendish is still in there.

This is the chase group of 21

David Gaudu, Valentin Madouas, Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ)

Wout van Aert, Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma),

Dylan van Baarle, Jonathan Castroviejo (Ineos Grenadiers)

Vincenzo Nibali, Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo)

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep)

Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation)

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic)

Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious)

Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange)

Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies)

Lukas Postlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Ion Izaguirre (Astana-PremierTech)

Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels)

Mark Donovan (Team DSM) 

Ruben Fernández (Cofidis)

That big group is 25 seconds down on the eight leaders, so we should soon have a big day's breakaway of 28 riders, which is likely to go all the way.

The chase group is already lacking collaboration. Donovan and Postlberger have attacked and are going across to the leaders.

Earlier on the descent we had three more riders pop off from the peloton. They're now with the chase group - Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Neilson Powless (EF-Nippo), Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious).

154km to go

There is a regrouping at the front as the chaser group comes together with the eight-man lead group. Around 30 out front with a lead of 3:50

We can also see Quintana in there, despite him not being announced over race radio. All the big players for the KOM jersey are up there.

Ok, so this is (I think) the breakaway now in its entirety

Wout van Aert, Steven Kruijswijk, Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma)

Dylan Teuns, Wout Poels, Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious)

Vincenzo Nibali, Kenny Elissonde, Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo)

David Gaudu, Valentin Madouas, Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ)

Dylan van Baarle, Jonathan Castroviejo (Ineos Grenadiers)

Julian Alaphilippe, Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck-QuickStep)

Michael Woods, Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation)

Neilson Powless, Ruben Guerreiro (EF-Nippo)

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic)

Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange)

Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies)

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal)

Lukas Postlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Ion Izaguirre (Astana-PremierTech)

Aurélian Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroën)

Sergio Henao (Qhubeka-NextHash)

Mark Donovan (Team DSM) 

Ruben Fernández (Cofidis)

Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels)

This is an unruly breakaway and we're already seeing it split up.

Matthews, Kruijswijk, Nibali, Bernard, Powless, Ballerini have gone clear.

We're on a long drag up to the intermediate sprint, where Matthews will surely help himself to maximum point. 

145km to go

The peloton is now five minutes down and UAE have put their whole team on the front. 

UAE have Vegard Stake Laengen on the nose, the big Norwegian doing the early work in the valley. Then they have the likes of Rui Costa, Marc Hirschi, Mikkel Bjerg (who's had a really good Tour), Brandon McNulty, and Rafal Majka, who could be Pogacar's last man. He performed that role well on Ventoux but had a crash the other day. 

The gap between breaks is 10 seconds and Poels attacks to try and bridge it.

Poels makes it as another three jump.

Martin,  Van Baarle, and De Gendt have made it out front.

Postlberger and Bonnamour are on the charge now too.

138km to go

But now the whole breakaway comes back together.

FDJ are one of the teams with numbers in the break and they're now using Armirail to drive it on. They missed those splits before and don't want that to happen again. They'll also want to try and carve out a stage-winning advantage before we start the proper climbing.

Breakaway artists are having a good Tour, aren't they? 

Our Procycling magazine colleagues are scribbling daily analysis pieces for us and the latest from Adam Becket focuses on escape tactics, all wrapped up in a Takeshi's Castle analogy. What more could you want?

Tour de France stage 14 analysis: breakaway riding is more than just luck

This is the particular challenge referenced in the piece. It's called 'knock knock' and it's brilliant.

We interrupt the Takeshi talk to bring you the intermediate sprint. Matthews the favourite here - will anyone challenge him? Ballerini might try to take points away in the interests of green jersey wearer Cavendish

Matthews opens up and he's challenged by Ballerini and De Gendt.

Matthews just gets it, pipping De Gendt, with Ballerini third.

122km to go

The gap is up to 8:30 at the intermediate sprint. The road now continues to rise to our first categorised climb, and even beyond it.

Anyway, back to the important stuff... which is your favourite Takeshi's Castle game?

Skipping stones is an obvious classic but also have a big soft spot for the rice bowl slide and also the one where they spin round on that little surfboard jumping over things. 

Your thoughts - plus thoughts/predictions on today's cycling of course - to us on Twitter @paddyfletch

Here's the new points classification after that sprint

Cavendish - 279

Matthews - 207

Philipsen - 174

Colbrelli - 159

Alaphilippe - 131

See more

Madouas is dropped from the break. FDJ have been doing all the work in the break but it was Armirail doing the bulk of it, so that's a surprise. Armirail is still around, as of course is Gaudu.

114km to go

We're a kilometre away from the foot of our first climb. It's the cat-1 Montée de Mont-Louis. It's 8.4km long with an average gradient of 5.7%.

This looks like the last day on the Tour for Nacer Bouhanni. He has been dropped on this rise towards the first climb and is already more than 20 minutes behind the lead group, and 9 minutes behind the peloton. 

Bouhanni crashed on stage 13 and suffered at the back yesterday as well. Today's stage is so much more unforgiving and he's already so far down before the real climbing has begun. Cavendish and the other sprinters are still in the peloton. The time cut will be in the region of 45 minutes today. 

France TV have grabbed a word with Bouhanni's team boss. 

"He was willing to keep going after his crash two days ago, I'm afraid it's a too hard day for him but he gives everything."

It's official, Nacer Bouhanni has abandoned.

Bouhanni abandoned after the intermediate sprint where he was timed more than 20 minutes down on the break.

Bouhanni has been suffering with crash injuries and suffered massively on Saturday. He was dropped early today and never got back to the peloton. 

Bouhanni completed the 2017 Tour de France but has pulled out on three other occasions. 

This year was arguably his best Tour with three top 3 placings, including second to Mark Cavendish on stage 4 to Fougères. 

He was injured the big crash on stage 13 when a number of riders went off the road into a ravine.

LEVENS FRANCE MARCH 14 Jacopo Mosca of Italy and Team Trek Segafredo Nacer Bouhanni of France and Team Arkea Samsic during the 79th Paris Nice 2021 Stage 8 a 927km stage from Le PlanduVar to Levens 518m Stage itinerary redesigned due to COVID19 lockdown imposed in the city of Nice ParisNice on March 14 2021 in Levens France Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

As the Montée de Mont-Louis begins in earnest, Mark Cavendish and several Deceuninck-QuickStep teammates have been distanced from the peloton.

They are riding a paced effort to ensure they finish inside the time limit. 

QUILLAN FRANCE JULY 10 Mark Cavendish of The United Kingdom and Team Deceuninck QuickStep Green Points Jersey at start during the 108th Tour de France 2021 Stage 14 a 1837km stage from Carcassonne to Quillan LeTour TDF2021 on July 10 2021 in Quillan France Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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With 3km to go to the summit of the Montée de Mont-Louis, the Groupama-FDJ riders continue to drive the break along for Gaudu. 

These are the riders in the break. 

Wout van Aert, Steven Kruijswijk, Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma)

Dylan Teuns, Wout Poels, Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious)

Vincenzo Nibali, Kenny Elissonde, Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo)

David Gaudu, Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ)

Dylan van Baarle, Jonathan Castroviejo (Ineos Grenadiers)

Julian Alaphilippe, Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck-QuickStep)

Michael Woods, Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation)

Neilson Powless, Ruben Guerreiro (EF-Nippo)

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic)

Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange)

Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies)

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal)

Lukas Postlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Ion Izaguirre (Astana-PremierTech)

Aurélian Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroën)

Sergio Henao (Qhubeka-NextHash)

Mark Donovan (Team DSM) 

Ruben Fernández (Cofidis)

Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels)

Though some riders are suffering and being dripped, as they are at the back of the peloton. 

The peloton is almost nine minutes behind the break now.

Of course non e of the riders in the break are a threat to race leader Tadej Pogacar.

Aurélien Paret-Painter (AG2R Citroën) is the closest but he is at 24:44. 

QUILLAN FRANCE JULY 10 The Peloton passing through a Sunflowers field during the 108th Tour de France 2021 Stage 14 a 1837km stage from Carcassonne to Quillan Landscape LeTour TDF2021 on July 10 2021 in Quillan France Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's 1km to the summit of the  Montée de Mont-Louis, so time to sprint for the KOM points.

Wout Poels kicks away with Wout van Aert and Michael Woods. 

But Poels takes it! 

Poels scored 10 points, van Aert 8 and Woods 6. 

But where was Nairoman? 

Strangely the climb keeps rising for another 5km. 

And Thomas de Gendt comes up to push the pace with the KOM contenders.

This was the battle for the KOM points.

See more

100km to go

The quartet of Woods, De Gendt, van Aert and Poels take a feed at the top of the climb and are caught  by the rest of the break. 

See more

Woods takes a ice-pack from his team car. It's 30C out there today. 

The break finally begins to descend off the plateau after the first climb of the stage. 

There is still 97km to race and lots more of climbing to come. 

After all the climbing, the breakaway enjoys the cooling air of the descent. 

Groupama-FDJ are continuing to do every bit of the work in this break. Madouas looked to be dropped earlier but he must have been simply dropping back to his team car. He's a strong climber and will be Gaudu's next big helper after Armirail completes the bulk of the early work. 

UAE have seven riders on the front of the peloton, 9:30 down on the break. They'll be happy with this situation, especially if it lasts on these next climbs. Will any other team dare to take it on on the Port d'Envalira?

Over in Italy, the Giro Donne has just finished. Coryn Rivera won the final stage as Anna van der Breggen sealed the overall. Here's our coverage.

Will Ineos try something today? They did all the work on Ventoux earlier in the week but that raised big question marks over their tactics. Philippa York called it a 'vanity project'. They surely have to do something to isolate Pogacar from range but they're not looking anywhere near as strong as usual - largely due to crashes. Kwiatkowski looks like the best ally for Carapaz on current evidence. 

It's interesting to note Ineos have put two riders in the break. If Carapaz does attack from range, he could link up with them. 

It's also interesting to see Jumbo-Visma have put three (!) riders in this break. That leaves just one - Mike Teunissen - with Jonas Vingegaard, who's third overall and the only rider to have troubled Pogacar so far. 

Cofidis have taken up position second in line behind UAE in the bunch. That's because Guillaume Martin vaulted to second overall after his day in the break yesterday. I bet he can't believe his luck - that's twice he's stealthily gained time in breaks. It will cost him energy, for sure, so he may well slip, but he's back on track for his best Tour de France finish.

The break are on the last flattish stretch of valley road now and it will soon ramp uphill again as we head onto the second climb of the day. 

As with the previous one, we have around 10km of uncategorised climbing before the official ascent of Col de Puymorens - 5.8km at 4.7% - begins. 

After Puymorens, we have the shortest of descents before we rise up to Port d'Envalira at 2400m. It's almost one mammoth climb and while it's nothing steep, it will be a huge wearing-down process. That's without mentioning the heat and altitude.

Armirail continues his work. With 10 minutes in hand, FDJ have managed to establish a gap that should allow Gaudu to go for the stage win, and they've prevented this unruly break from becoming a tactical battle, although how long that lasts up the next climb remains to be seen. 

Here's the full story on Bouhanni

Nacer Bouhanni abandons the Tour de France

It's turned into a calm day as we basically have Bruno Armirail and Vegard Stake Laengen pulling separate groups 10 minutes apart. But the breakaway are about to start the Col de Puymorens. 

63km to go

Armirail leads the break onto the climb now. It's 5.8km with an average gradient of 4.7 per cent.

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We've just passed the 3000-metre mark of elevation gain. That seems like a lot given the relative lack of action and the size of both groups, but it's all steadily accruing, and it will make that steeper final climb all the more selective. The total for the day is just under 4500 metres. 

Everyone in the break is content to follow Armirail up this climb.

Down the road, Stake Laengen has led UAE and the peloton onto the slopes.

Boasson Hagen is dropped from the bunch. Cavendish still in there.

Into the final kilometre for the breakaway. They'll all stay together for Envalira but we'll no doubt see Woods and Poels fight for the KOM points again. This is a cat-2 climb, so a maximum of five points on offer.

Van Aert moves to the front.

Poels opens up. Van Aert responds.

Van Aert takes it! Poels second, Woods trails for third.

Here are the points at the Col de Puymorens 

Van Aert - 5

Poels - 3

Woods - 2

Valverde - 1

New KOM standings

Woods - 62

Poels - 62

Van Aert - 56

Quintana - 50

Mollema - 41

Action in the bunch! Ineos and Movistar take it up! Here we go

Ineos have send Richie Porte to pull while Movistar have mobbed the front of the bunch, with Cortina on the front.

UAE's rivals are now taking the race to them.

54km to go

Up in the break, they've already ticked off that mini descent and are on the road up to the Port d'Envalira.

Armirail drops away as the road tilts uphill. Chapeau. Big ride from him today. Can Gaudu finish it off?

Cavendish is dropped as the peloton really starts to reduced under this pressure.

Madouas has taken over from Armirail in the break. Groups of this size are usually chaotic unwieldily beasts but it's been a bit of an FDJ lead-out so far.

Pogacar has four riders directly around him as Porte and Cortina continue to pile on the pressure at the top of the Puymorens.

And Cortina leads them over the top. The gap has fallen quickly to 8:20. 

52km to go

We're into Andorra. The breakaway gets a free pass through the customs border. 

The Port d'Envalira is 10.7km long with an average gradient of 5.9 per cent. It's a bit of a steady drag on a nice wide road, but the difficulty lies in its scale, rising to 2400 metres. 

Cortina pulls aside. Movistar continue to take it up through Jorge Arcas.

And now Arcas pulls aside. Porte takes over for Ineos.

Movistar have burned some matches pretty quickly there. Lopez is still there and it looks like he's the last man for Mas. Valverde is up in the break.

Change in the break as well. Stand down, FDJ. Here come Trek-Segafredo.

Trek are another team with three in this move, and they all move to the front. It's Bernard doing the work for the moment, with Elissonde and Nibali in tow.

This is forcing our first real breakaway selection. De Gendt, Matthews, Postlberger, Fernandez all dropped.

Porte has taken it up in the bunch with a more sustained effort. 

Woods attacks in the break!

2.7km from the summit and the polka-dot jersey wearer doesn't really make a big attack but accelerates and raises the pace.

Woods draws out Kuss, Powless and Nibali.

Carapaz attack incoming...?

Castroviejo and Van Baarle drop from the breakaway together. 

A bit of hesitation and there's a regrouping among the stronger riders in the break.

The wind is howling towards the summit.

Quintana attacks! 1.5km from the top. He's at home at this altitude.

The Colombian climber is away here.

The chasers reform as Elissonde pulls for Nibali.

Guerreiro attacks behind. Van Aert follows.

Into the crowds in the final 200m for Quintana. He has quickly found 25 seconds!

44.5km

Quintana crests the Port d'Envalira alone

Van Aert lights it up behind. He takes second at the summit, ahead of Poels. Another huge ride in the mountains so far from the Belgian champion.

KOM points at Port d'Envalira

Quintana - 10

Van Aert - 8

Poels - 6

Woods - 4

Valverde - 2

New KOM standings

Poels - 68

Woods - 66

Van Aert - 64

Quintana - 60

Mollema - 41

Kwiatkowski takes it up in the bunch!

It's Kwiatkowski and Thomas ahead of Carapaz now. Then it's Pogacar who has been isolated

Lopez is dropped. Mas is alone after all that Movistar work.

Kwiatkowski pulls aside now and nearly grinds to a halt. Thomas takes it up!

The peloton has shattered. It's just a GC group now.

Thomas is making a huge push here. They're nearly at the top.

Thomas leads the GC group over the Port d'Envalira, 5:25 down on the break. 

And there are Van Baarle and Castroviejo. Ineos suddenly have four riders in this group of 15.

Mattia Cattaneo, who slipped into the top 10 yesterday, was dropped at the top but should be able to get back on the descent. 

Guillaume Martin is off the back of the GC group as well.

Cattaneo and Martin are sprinting out of every bend to try and get back on.

Bora have also found support, with Postlberger dropping from the break. He's leading the way downhill.

Cattaneo and Martin can't close this gap. It's windy out there and they're slipping back.

They now find an ally in Fernandez - another rider who was dropped from the break. But the Spaniard can't help for long.

Kruijswijk has also dropped for Vingegaard. 

Ineos take it up now with four on the front flying downhill at 90kph. Pogacar follows them, then it's Mas, Vingegaard, Kruijswijk, Uran, O'Connor, Lutsenko, Kelderman, Postlberger, Bilbao, Chaves, Matthews, Higuita, Meintjes. 

Up front, the remnants of the break have caught up with Quintana, leaving 20 out front.

As well as Lachlan Morton, we have another ultra-cyclist racing the peloton to Paris. Jack Thompson made it even more difficult for himself by leaving 10 days later. For the latest on his progress, click here.

Bernard has made it back on the descent and is now setting pace as the downhill levels out. 

20 riders in the break now:

Bernard, Elissonde, Nibali, Van Aert, Kuss, Martin, Woods, Quintana, Valverde, Poels, Teuns, Donovan, Paret-Peintre, Gaudu, Guerreiro, Powless, Alaphilippe, Izaguirre, Bonnamour, Ballerini.

Fernandez is back with Martin and Cattaneo. They're 35 seconds down now and that is not a good scenario.

Cattaneo lost contact at the top of the climb but Martin was dropped on the descent. Given the nature of that downhill, it has cost him, and he's going to start this crucial final climb with a deficit.

Ballereini almost overcooks a corner as the road dips into town. Almost time for the final climb!

21km to go

Here it is! It's the Col de Beixalis, 6.4km at 8.5%

Quintana attacks immediately!

Bernard is dropped and now Van Aert is losing contact!

Powless and Elissonde slipping now. 

Teuns next. This is exploding in the break!

Valverde drags the strongest back to Quintana. Gaudu, Nibali, Kuss, Izaguirre, Bonnamour, Alaphilippe, Guerreiro are all up there. 

Quintana dropped! That's a surprise after his aggression. He suffers as Woods accelerates

Gaudu attacks!

Valverde and Kuss looking strong here.

Guerreiro has a pop. Super steep gradients on this climb. 

And now the GC group his the climb. Van Baarle leads them onto it.

Kuss attacks!

Valverde follows but now has to relent!

Alaphilippe and Nibali struggling now. Poels improving.

Kuss is away! Wow

Down the road, Van Baarle pulls over. Castroviejo takes it up. Thomas lies in wait.

Kuss has found 20 seconds already. This is a hell of a move.

Cattaneo drops Guillaume Martin on the lower slopes. The Frenchman soared yesterday but looks to be plummeting today.

4km to the top for Kuss and he has 35 seconds in hand now. What a remarkable ride this is.

Kuss hasn't had a great Tour so far - not like his ride last year anyway - but he's on song today.

Thomas has been dropped! Castroviejo is still doing his turn.

Martin is already more than a minute down

Quintana attacks again! He was dropped earlier but got back on. Kuss is well up the road though.

Carapaz attacks!

Castroviejo is done and now the Ecuadorian makes his move. Pogacar follows.

Vingegaard responds and the three of them gap the rest.

Lutsenko dropped. O'Connor and Kelderman also losing contact.

Uran claws his way up around a double digit bend. Mas is there and joins them.

O'Connor and Kelderman are a few seconds behind that group.

Kuss starting to lose a little time. Valverde is alone in pursuit and is now at 25 seconds.

O'Connor and Kelderman get back to the main GC group. Lutsenko now too. The pace had eased after that attack from Carapaz.

O'Connor attacks!

He was dropped before but now takes advantage of a more tactical play.

Kelderman drags it back.

Pogacar now moves through to the front. He looks so calm.

He accelerates now through a double-digit bend.

That distances Lutsenko again.

Pogacar kicks again!

Vingegaard goes now!

Big attack from Vingegaard!

Pogacar is onto it. Carapaz and Uran get on terms. Mas now too.

O'Connor and Kelderman are dropped again.

Vingegaard knocks it off but we'll surely see another dig soon.

Kuss is nearing the top of the climb. He still has 25 seconds over Valverde.

The ease in pace allows O'Connor and Kelderman to rejoin the yellow jersey group.

Vingegaard goes again!

Pogacar alive to it once more

14.5km to go

Kuss sprints out of the saddle as he hits the top of the Col de Beixalis.

Valverde follows over the top at 20 seconds!

Another easing in the GC group. Lutsenko gets back once more.

Uran attacks!

Uran attacks are few and far between. He's a quiet and consistent character for the most part but he's up for it here

Vingegaard, Pogacar and Carapaz are able to follow.

Mas now joins them.

O'Connor, Kelderman, Lutsenko drag themselves back now as the pace disappears.

Pogacar, Vingegaard, Carapaz, Uran look the strongest here. Then Mas. Then O'Connor, then Kelderman, then Lutsenko. That's the order they're catching up with each attack so far.

O'Connor puts in another acceleration!

The group reforms and Pogacar hits the front, setting a strong but steady tempo.

11km to go

Up front, Kuss is descending well and still has Valverde pinned at 20 seconds. The rest of the break are another minute back.

Pogacar raises the tempo.

Valverde nurses his way around a corner. He's the Spaniard but Kuss is the local, who lives here in Andorra.

The yellow jersey group goes over the top of the climb and O'Connor has been distanced. As has Lutsenko.

6.5km to go and Kuss has 24 seconds now. 

The descent levels out here and it's back on the pedals. Valverde isn't making inroads.

The yellow jersey group have found Van Aert from the break. He's leading the way downhill. 

O'Connor is sprinting to get back on on the descent.

4km to go now and the road really flattens out. Kuss is out of the saddle but he still has the power to hold on. 25 seconds.

Many questioned Jumbo's tactics today but they're about to deliver the stage win. Vingegaard wasn't able to gain time but nor was he ever in trouble and in need of support.

Kuss is in town and he's going it finish it off.

This will be Kuss' first Tour de France stage win. It'll be the first for a US rider in more than a decade.

Kuss rolls into the final kilometre.

He waits til the very last to celebrate, looking around with 150m to go just to make sure. Both arms are in the air, his hands are now on his face, he crosses the line as the winner of stage 15 of the Tour de France.

Valverde comes home in second place.

Here comes the next breakaway group to sprint for third. Poels opens it and holds off Izaguirre and Guerreiro.

Quintana and Gaudu, then a gap to Martin, Nibali, Bonnammour, Alaphilippe, Paret-Peintre.  

Donovan and Powless finish next. 

And now the yellow jersey group is in the final 2km. O'Connor has made it back on. Lutsenko has not.

Van Aert is leading the group home. Not a huge day as far as the GC is concerned. Guillaume Martin is the biggest loser, while Cattaneo has fallen back and Lutsenko will concede a bit of time.

They cross the line in a group of 8 - Van Aert, Vingegaard, Pogacar, Carapaz, Uran, Mas, Kelderman, O'Connor.

Lutsenko is finishing here with Bilbao

They lose 30 seconds.

Woods finishes now. He'll have to hand the polka-dot jersey over to Poels.

Stage 15 results


1 Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma 05:12:06
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 00:00:23
3 Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain Victorious 00:01:15
4 Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 00:01:15
5 Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Education-Nippo 00:01:15
6 Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic 00:01:15
7 David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 00:01:15
8 Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation 00:01:22
9 Franck Bonnamour (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM 00:01:22
10 Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 00:01:22

And here comes Guillaume Martin

He has lost almost four minutes. He'll slip from second to 9th.

Cattaneo finishes now. He drops out the top-10 in favour of Bilbao.

 General classification after stage 15


1 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 62:07:18
2 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-Nippo 00:05:18
3 Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma 00:05:32
4 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 00:05:33
5 Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team 00:05:58
6 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:06:16
7 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech 00:07:01
8 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 00:07:11
9 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 00:07:58
10 Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious 00:10:59

Let's hear from the stage winner

"It's incredible. I'm lost for words. To be honest, I've really suffered a lot in this Tour, I just didn't feel I had the... the spice in the legs. Today I knew it was finishing where I live, and I was really motivated. Finally I had really good legs again so I'm so happy. 

"My girlfriend and her family were on the final climb cheering me on. I also want to say hi to my parents back home because I haven't seen them in a long time. So I had my family of Spain and my family back home in the US. 

"It was a hard day in the break. I know the final climb fairly well. I actually don't ride it so much in training because it's so hard but I knew the beginning was tough so I knew if I went there and got a gap then I could try and hold it to the finish. Wout rode alll the way down the valley for me so after big champ does that work for you, you have to finish it off.

"It means a lot. I still can't believe I'm in the Tour de France, much less winning a stage. It's really incredible. I'm lost for words."

ANDORRELAVIEILLE ANDORRA JULY 11 Sepp Kuss of The United States and Team JumboVisma stage winner celebrates at arrival during the 108th Tour de France 2021 Stage 15 a 1913km stage from Cret to AndorrelaVieille LeTour TDF2021 on July 11 2021 in AndorrelaVieille Andorra Photo by Chris GraythenGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Full results and photos are in at our report page. 

Tour de France: Kuss wins stage 15 in Andorra

Here's the GC round-up

Tour de France: Which GC riders lost time on stage 15 in the mountains

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