-Stage 15 is 202.5km long between Rodez and Carcassonne
-The Extreme Weather Protocol has been activated due to 38C temperatures but the stage distance has not be reduced
-Riders can take on extra drinks and did not risk fines for throwing bidons to fans
-Stage winners Magnus Cort and Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech) tested positive before stage 15
Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 15 of the Tour de France.
As the Cyclingnews blimp takes height, the final riders are signing on in Rodez.
It is currently 32C in Rodez and 34 in Carcassonne, where the stage is due to finish in four hours or so.
It is expected to be 37C when the stage finishes.
🇩🇰🚴🏼♂️📈🏰✍️👋1️⃣5️⃣➡️🎬#WorldEmojiDay pic.twitter.com/l6skgcfy3hJuly 17, 2022
While professional cycling has an Extreme Weather Protocol and races have been cut or cancelled due to extreme conditions in the past, the Tour de France peloton seems ready to accept racing through the heat wave.
The Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA) riders association and their Tour de France representative Pascal Chanteur have been in contact with their riders, Tour de France organisers, UCI judges and team managers to find several solutions to help the riders.
This morning official held a special meeting and decided on some minor help so the riders can try to stay hydrated.
These are the tweaks to the race rules on feeding:
- The feeding for the 15th stage will be allowed from the KM 0 to 10km from the finish line
- Give bottles to the spectators will be allowed during all the stage by respecting the safety conditions for the public and the riders.
- The elimination deadline was set at 20% regardless of the stage average.
For the full Cyclingnews story on the impact of the heatwave on the Tour de France, click below.
The riders are trying to stay in the shade before the roll out from Rodez.
Ready for the last stage of the #TDF2022 second week 😃Photo: @BeelWout pic.twitter.com/DNauWpWGQeJuly 17, 2022
3 minutes until the start.
Sadly COVID-19 continues to circulate in the Tour de France peloton with stage winners Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) and Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech) both testing positive before stage 15.
Both have left the race.
Clarke won stage 5 to Wallers across the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix. Israel-Premier Tech said he tested positive for COVID-19 in a routine test but all the other riders were negative.
“After an internal routine test carried out by the team, unfortunately Simon Clarke has returned a positive Covid test. Therefore, Simon won’t take the start of stage 15. All other riders returned negative tests and are ready to race today,” Israel-Premier Tech announced.
Cort wore the polka-dot jersey in the early stage of the 2022 Tour de France after going on the attack on stages 2 and 3, delighting the huge Danish crowds. He then won stage 10 to Megève after going in the break of the day.
“Magnus Cort woke up this morning with a headache and fever and has since tested positive for COVID-19. He will not start stage 15 of the Tour de France. His medical evaluation is ongoing,” EF Education-EasyPost announced as the team arrived in Rodez for the stage start.
Here we go!
The riders face a 4.7km neutralised sector before the official stage start.
The leaders jersey wearers are Jonas Vingegaard (yellow), Wout van Aert (green), Simon Geschke (polka-dot) and Tadej Pogacar (white).
They are the same for the fourth running day.
We expect lots of attacks in the early kilometres as riders try to join the break of the day and escape the control of the sprint teams.
The stage heads southwest into the Occitanie region of France, at the foots of the Pyrenees.
It is the third consecutive stage above 190km.
🚩 Rodez 🏁 Carcassonne#TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/xLnyeyVhcsJuly 17, 2022
Here we go!
Christian Prudhomme waves his flag and the stage is underway.
Pierre-Luc Périchon had a flat tyre, which delayed the start briefly but the attacks are already coming.
The three DNS riders are confirmed.
As well as Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) and Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech), Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) also opted to head home and heal-up after crashing on the cobbled stage.
Click below to read the full story.
200km to go
Riders are looking for an attack but the peloton is all together for now.
Tim Wellens attacks hard as Lotto try to fight back after some tough days.
The intermediate sprint comes after 147km but Wout van Aert is already active and trying to force a break.
He can't seem to stop himself, even though he has a massive, almost unbeatable lead in the green points jersey competition.
Van Aert is away with Honore of QuickStep and Politt of Bora.
They lead by 20 seconds.
💚 Don't expect @WoutvanAert to calmly stay in the peloton! 💚 N'attendez pas de @WoutvanAert qu'il reste sagement dans le peloton !#TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/Zay8PzYyc6July 17, 2022
188km to go
Some in the peloton are trying to chase but QuickStep riders are blocking them.
The van Aert trio have a gap of 1:00.
Indeed, the peloton has eased.
The three attackers are Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl)
The gap is up to 1:50 as a B&B Hotel rider Alexis Gougeard tries to cross the gap alone. That's a big task.
185km to go
An explanation for Honore in the attack is news that his QuickStep teammate Michael Morkov is struggling and dropped.
Trek riders are also on the move, forcing the GC riders to also stay vigilant.
The roads are up and down for all of the stage and especially so in the opening 80km.
This could be a day for the sprinters but they and their teams will have to work for it.
The high pace has split the peloton.
Jonas Vingegaard made sure he was up front and Tadej Pogacar was quick to go up to him.
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) lead by 1:30.
Behind Chris Juul-Jensen (BikeExchange) is on the front, trying to ride a steady tempo to protect their sprint hopes.
It's all about staying cool today.
Chaleur exceptionnelle, dispositif exceptionnel dans la glacière 🧊🧊🧊🧊🧊 #TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/5OAnxrrP5sJuly 17, 2022
Wout van Aert, Politt and Honoré continue to work together up front. Their lead is at 1:40.
165km to go
The trio lead by 2:00 as other riders drop back for bidons and ice.
It is 34C out on the road.
Dani Martinez of Ineos is loaded with bidons like a camel and takes them up to his teammates in the peloton.
Here are Wout van Aert, Politt and Honoré on the attack.
Trek-Segafredo are massing near the front, they perhaps want to control the racing and then try to use Mads Pedersen and Jasper Stuyven in the finale when there are hills and technical roads.
160km to go
And now they are two.
Wout van Aert has sat up.
He was joined by his Jumbo-Visma team car and after a chat with his DS, van Aert eases up.
He is slipping back to the peloton. Jumbo-Visma have decided on a different tactic after a big break did not go away.
The fast moving peloton sweep up van Aert.
That leaves just Politt and Honoré up front.
They lead by 2:20, with the peloton working to keep them in check.
150km to go
Michael Mørkøv is fighting on alone but out of the back. He is at 11 minutes and so is unlikely to be there to help sprinter Fabio Jakobsen if the stage ends in s bunch sprint.
Politt drops back to speak to his team car and taken on fresh bidons but he does not seem too convinced about riding on in the break.
However Politt and Honoré lead by 2:50.
With Trek and Alpecin leading the chase.
Andrea Bagioli of QuickStep needs a bike change but hisa bike is in the middle of the roof of the QuickStep car.
He is away and chasing.
140km to go
Politt and Honoré dive down a descent, enjoying the cool air.
If it is cooling at all. It's 36C out there.
Politt and Honoré start the Côte d'Ambialet.
It is 4.5km at 4.6%. Fortunately it is in the shade, so offers some respite from the heat.
The peloton is at 3:00.
It's hot but the pace is high, with the average speed ast 46.8km/h.
130km to go
The peloton blasts under the signal of the top of the climb.
The gap is 2:50 as the sun roasts everyone and the peloton is lined out.
Is this a bidon record attempt by Toms Skujiņš?
How many bottles can you fit in your jersey, Toms Skujiņš? 😅#TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/i0Hr8JH97tJuly 17, 2022
His teammate Mads Pedersen drops back for a wheel change.
Toms Skujiņš final gets back up to the front to gives the cold bidons to his teammates.
The riders are diving through the grain fields of the south and will soon see the stunning sunflower fields.
120km to go
Politt and Honoré are pushing on together, taking turns on the front.
Here is the moment that Toms Skujiņš loads up with bidons.
🤝🎩@Tomashuuns#TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/aTXv4trkElJuly 17, 2022
Ice brothers in the breakaway.
🇫🇷 #TDF2022true sportsmanship from Nils sharing some ice with his breakaway companion 🤝👌 pic.twitter.com/l7xtlM7oCIJuly 17, 2022
Water fights are a way to keep cool in the peloton.
😂💦 Good intentions only@CarusoDamiano @matmohoric #RideAsOne #TDF2022 🎥 @VelonCC pic.twitter.com/iO8DLY6xxJJuly 17, 2022
100km to go
The work of Trek and BikeExchange on the front of the peloton has reduced the gap to to 1:45.
There is perhaps a game of cat and mouse underway.
Let's all show some love to @MichaelMorkov!He is currently alone at the back, trailing the #TDF2022 peloton by more than 20 minutes and battling the hard course and high temperatures to make it within the time limit!Photo: @GettySport pic.twitter.com/Vlxkb1HeEkJuly 17, 2022
The roads are flatter on this mid-stage section. The climbing and descending return for the final 60km.
The work by Trek is reducing the gap on Politt and Honoré. It is down to 1:20.
It's hot out there.
It's currently 37.7C out on the road. That's 99.7F!
This was the early break until van Aert sat up and returned to the peloton.
Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) bravely remain out front.
These are the chasers who are slowly eating into the 1:20 lead of Politt and Honoré.
Fortunately for Politt and Honoré, the roadside trees are offering some shade.
Race leader Jonas Vingegaard slowed for a moment but is riding back up to the peloton with teammate Tim Wellens.
We've only had two sprints so far this Tour, both in Denmark. That should change today.
Last year a certain Mark Cavendish won in Carcassonne to equal Eddy MErckx's record.
Let's enjoy this look back at that day.
🏆 Depuis l'an passé, Carcassonne et 🇮🇲 @MarkCavendish sont étroitement liés.🤩 C'est ici que le "Missile de l'Île de Man" est allé remporter une historique 𝟑𝟒𝐞̀𝐦𝐞 victoire d'étape sur le Tour de France.#TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/kIddx9R02bJuly 17, 2022
Crash in the peloton!
Owain Doull goes down.
The Welsh rider hit a bidon in the road.
He is not seriously hurt and gets up and gets going again.
Doull is in pain as he talks to his EF team car.
He has hurt his left leg.
A replay of the crash shows he hit a bidon with his rear wheel as he was eating with only one hand on the bars.
He is at the race doctor's car getting treatment for his wounds.
65km to go
Politt and Honoré continue to push on, working together.
however they seem on a ride to nowhere, with the peloton never let them go clear.
There are more protests. The riders have been forced to slow.
There is also a crash in the peloton!
Steven Kruijswijk went down hard.
Jakob Fuglsang too.
It does not look like Steven Kruijswijk can continue.
The race doctors are checking him for fractures.
The peloton has split due to the crash.
Steven Kruijswijk has been forced to abandon the Tour de France.
That is a blow for Jumbo-Visma after pulling Primoz Roglic from the race before the stage start.
Steven Kruijswijk is being loaded into an ambulance and crowds affectionately applaud in support.
Get well soon Steven.
The peloton rides on as Steven Kruijswijk heads to hospital.
They will soon reach the intermediate sprint and so van Aert will soon have to focus on chasing points.
Vingegaard goes down!
Benoot also goes down.
Vingegaard seems okay and is chasing. He gets a bike change.
Vingegaard went down on his left shoulder.
He is 50 seconds down on the peloton.
Vingegaard is back in the peloton thanks to work from Laporte and Kuss.
There's another crash at the back of the peloton. Jack Bauer goes down.
Up front Honoré leads Politt through the intermediate sprint.
There gap is only 30 seconds now.
Van Aert takes third and so 15 more points for the green jersey.
Behind some of the sprinters are suffering.
Groenewegen takes a sticky bottle and Jakobsen is all dropped.
The riders will soon start the Côte des Cammazes.
It is 5.5km long at 3.9%. It will change the race.
52km to go
Indeed, Jonas Rutsch of EF surges past the attackers.
This was the moment of Vingegaard's crash.
💛 @JumboVismaRoad's troubles continue as 🇩🇰 Jonas Vingegaard and 🇧🇪 @TiesjBenoot fall, they both set off again.Les malheurs de la @JumboVismaRoad continuent ! C'est maintenant 🇩🇰 Jonas Vingegaard et 🇧🇪 @TiesjBenoot qui sont projetés au sol. Les deux repartent.#TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/tkDIWHxJcNJuly 17, 2022
The pace is high now, on the climb.
Caleb Ewan is also dropped. He is not alone.
Riders are clearly suffering in the heat.
But Trek are now on the move. They've upped the pace in the peloton and so other riders are dropped.
Dylan Groenewegen and Alexander Kristoff are dropped too.
Ciccone and Mollema are riding hard for Trek to spit out other sprinters on the climb.
Vingegaard is back near the front and wisely on van Aert's wheel for protection.
However Philipsen is up front and looks good.
Trek are really trying to hurt everyone and especially the sprinters here.
Pogacar is wisely staying up front.
Groenewegen and other sprinters are 1:10 back as they cross the summit of the Côte des Cammazes.
Now it's a 50km race to the finish.
Benjamin Thomas and Alexis Gougeard have a 20 second lead with 40km to go after attacking over the top of the climb.
The Groenewegen group is 1:20 back. But other sprinters are in the peloton and getting a free ride to the finish from Trek.
40km to go
The speed is high but teams are also calling for drinks.
The stage has suddenly become hectic.
BikeExchange have 3 riders chasing for Groenewegen but they're 50 seconds down on the peloton.
Team DSM are also riding because they have Alberto Dainese up front.
Benjamin Thomas and Alexis Gougeard are acting as a carrot for Trek and DSM to chase.
They lead by 30 seconds, with the Groenewegen group 40 seconds behind the peloton.
It's a sprinter's pursuit match.
This hilly finale 30km is making the race finely balanced.
Ben Thomas is a local rider and so knows the riders perfectly.
The peloton seems to have run out of power to chase the attackers and hold off the chase.
Groenewegen is only 25 seconds behind but he and his teammates face crosswinds soon.
The country roads keep twisting through the countrywide. They're tar and stone roads and so they're soft in the heat.
Bora are also helping to drive the peloton along but the Groenewegen group is closing.
They're at the back of the peloton. But now will have to help the chase of Benjamin Thomas and Alexis Gougeard.
25km to go
TotalEnergies are also working in the peloton.
Is that to set-up Peter Sagan?
The peloton is 25 down on the two attackers.
A lot of the sprinters are in the front group but do they have any legs left for the finish.
There is daily anarchy in the 2022 Tour de France.
15km to go
Politt was in the break but is back working for Danny van Poppel at the front of the peloton.
They're closing down on Benjamin Thomas and Alexis Gougeard.
Now Ineos hit the front to protect Thomas and Yates.
Nobody wants a crash now. There have been too many today.
Benjamin Thomas and Alexis Gougeard lead by just 10 seconds.
The peloton is riding at close to 70km/h.
The peloton can see Benjamin Thomas and Alexis Gougeard now.
10km to go
The peloton has eased. Is it a little too soon? Are they playing games?
Suddenly the gap is back up to 30 seconds.
But now Ineos pick up the pace once again.
7km to go
Jumbo are trying to protect Vingegaard and Pogacar is vigilant and on his wheel.
Ben Thomas is a world-class track rider and you can see in the superb effort he is making.
But the peloton is only 15 seconds behind.
5km to go
Van Aert is tucked on Mads Pedersen's wheel.
Thomas goes alone!
Thomas leads by 10 seconds!
Thomas is going away from them. He's ticked over the bars.
Can he do it?
2km to go
Thomas is fading, his dream is about to end so cruelly.
All the sprint team are up front behind. They're going to catch him.
Thomas is caught just after the flame rouge!
Trek lead it out.
Shoulder to shoulder!
Jasper Philipsen got it but only just.
The late fast curves shuffled the riders.
Pedersen lead it out, van Aert came up on his right but Philipsen found a way through on the his left to win by a wheel.
It his first win at the Tour and he is overjoyed.
What a stage and what a sprint.
Philipsen beat van Aert, Pedersen and Sagan.
Philipsen celebrated as his rivals lowered their heads.