96km to go: Rolland collects the points unopposed by Roche and the rest of the breakaway crest the Col de Porte soon afterwards.
98km to go: Pierre Rolland jumps from the front of the breakaway group a little over a kilometre from the top of the Col de Porte. Nicolas Roche gets on his wheel and the pair have a conversation. If Rolland gets the five points at the top, he’ll half the deficit between himself and Benoit Cosnefroy in the battle for the King of the Mountains jersey to five points.
101km to go: Led by Daniel Oss from Bora Hansgrohe, the breakaway group continue their ascent of the Col de Porte, keeping the gap between themselves to the chasing quintet to 1min 22sec. The breakaway are 7min 57sec clear of the peloton.
An email: “In the midst of the Tour and Geraint winning a warm up race for the Giro, the Guardian seem to have overlooked Great Britain’s (and Sheffield resident) Lizzy Banks winning a stage of the Giro Rosa,” writes Peter. Here’s some info on the dual Giro Rosa stage winner and former medical student, from the ProCycling website.
103km to go: Casper Pedersen joins the breakaway, which is now 18 riders strong. The Nieve group is 1min 10sec back.
104km to go: Near the back of the bunch, a motorcycle cameraman pulls alongside Sam Bennett, who looks down the lens, raises a hand and smiles.
107km to go: The breakaway group is 6min 24sec behind the peloton, which is being led along by Jumbo-Visma’s Tony Martin. Pierre Rolland and Tiesj Benoot have joined the breakaway group, while Pavel Sivakov, Neilson Powless and Mikel Nieve are part of a five-man group that is 1min 30sec behind the stage leaders.
112km to go: The stage has finally settled down into some kind of orderas the riders begin the climb towards the cat-two Col de Porte.
Your breakaway: Andrey Amador and Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers), Lennard Kämna and Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe), Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Sébastien Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ), Alberto Bettiol (EF Education First), Winner Anacona, Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic), Imanol Erviti, Carlos Verona (Movistar Team), Matteo Trentin (CCC Team), Chris Juul Jensen (Mitchelton-Scott), Nicholas Roche (Team Sunweb), Quentin Pacher (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept).
The gap to the peloton is 4min 02sec and there are five riders on the road between both groups.
117km to go: Having been spotted struggling at the very start of the stage, Groupama-FDJ rider David Gaudau steps off his bike, has his race number removed and abandons.
119km to go: The 15-man breakaway pass the intermediate sprint line, with Matteo Trentin first past the post and still in the green jersey mixer . They’re 1min 16sec clear of the peloton, with three riders on the road between the two groups.
125km to go: Our group of 15 breakaway riders remain 1min 11sec clear of a peloton that is being towed along by Jumbo-Visma’s Robert Gesink. With points available to the first 15 riders to cross the line at the intermediate sprint, this will suit Sam Bennett just fine. Bennett leads Sagan by 42 points in the green jersey standings.
129km to go: We’ve got a group of 15 riders up the road, leading the bunch by 1min 31sec. Quite a few riders are trying to bridge the gap, while Bora Hansgrohe are making the pace at the front of the bunch so they can close the gap and try to get Peter Sagan into a breakaway. The intermediate sprint he’s hoping to win some points in comes at the “119km to go” mark.
136km to go: The gruppetto has already formed at the back of the race, with a group of 13 riders including Caleb Ewan and Andre Greipel already dropped.
140km to go: It’s been a breathless start with an average speed of 45km per hour and the stage has yet to settle. A group of 15 riders, including Carapaz, Roche, Warren Barguil, Julian Alaphilippe and Sebastien Reichenbach have opened a gap of 30 seconds on the peloton.
143km to go: Roche and Carapaz are caught, while Peter Sagan tries to break off the front of the bunch. He wants to get himself in a breakaway so he can snaffle some intermediate sprint points and try to get himself back in green, but Sam Bennett is wise to his scheming and is immediately on his tail.
146km to go: The large breakaway group is swamped by the peloton before Ineos rider Richard Carapaz and Team Sunweb’s Nico Roche attack off the front.
151km to go: The breakaway, which is far from settled yet, is about to reach the top of the first of five categorised climbs today, the cat-four Cote de Virieu.
152km to go: The gap from the front of the peloton to the breakaway group is 47 seconds and in the polka-dot jersey, Benoit Cosnefroy is trying desperately hard to bridge it. Ineos rider Pavel Sivakov is currently leading the escape party.
156km to go: On the first of the day’s downhills, a group of about 25 riders seem to have put a bit of distance between themselves and the peloton, which is being led by Bora-Hansgrohe. The gap is 36 seconds.
159km to go: Still waiting for the stage to settle as the aforementioned group is absorbed back into the peloton. At the back of the peloton, Groupama-FDJ rider David Gaudu already looks to be struggling.
161km to go: Quentin Pacher is reeled in as the riders tackle a punchy early climb. At the front of the bunch, a group of about 25 riders have opened a small gap, which Peter Sagan is trying to close.
And they’re off: Back from his spell in self-isolation and having passed all his Covid-19 tests, Christian Prudhomme emerges from his Skoda’s sun-roof and semaphores the signal to start to racing. It’s a fairly narrow country road and B&B Hotels rider Quentin Pacher is immediately off the front of a bunch that splits quickly.
The roll-out continues: The riders continue to barrel along at a leisurely pace, while ITV have shown an interview conducted by Ned Boulting with Chris Froome on the day Egan Bernal lost over seven minutes in stage 15. Froome, like Geraint Thomas, was not selected for the Tour by Team Ineos and will be riding in the Spanish Vuelta instead.
“Today was a massive blow,” he said of Bernal’s poor showing. “Egan looks like he’s out of the GC race. I didn’t see that coming because he seemed to be there or thereabouts and I thought he’d keep within hitting distance all the way to Paris. Once you win that first Tour de France your life is never the same again. When you’ve got that No1 on your back, you’re marked in every race.”
Asked about comments he made suggesting he should be at the Tour, he claims to have been quoted slightly out of context. “I was more than willing to go to France,” he says. “I wasn’t pushing to say I should be there. In the build-up to the Tour I knew I wouldn’t be going to try to win it, but I was prepared to give everything to help Egan win it.”
And on the domination of team Jumbo-Visma in this year’s Tour. “The way they rode today on that final climb was amazing,” he says. “They were completely in control of the race. They set a tempo that meant nobody felt they could attack.”
The roll-out begins: With just six stages of this year’s Tour remaining, the riders set off from La Tour du Pin, led by the main jersey-wearers Primoz Roglic (yellow), Benoit Cosnefroy (polka-dot), Sam Bennett (green) and Tadej Pogacar (white). They’ll have six kilometres or so of a procession before being given the signal to start racing.
Meanwhile in Italy …
A man who is never slow in blowing long solos on his own trumpet when things are going well for his team, Ineos Grenadiers boss David Brailsford declined requests to speak to the media during yesterday’s rest day.
Meanwhile in San Benedetto del Tronto, Geraint Thomas finished a highly creditable second in Italy’s prestigious Tirreno-Adriatico stage race after being dropped from this year’s Tour de France team by Brailsford.
Race director Christian Prudhomme on today’s stage: “La Chartreuse area could inspire the many breakaway experts if they feel ready enough to battle it out on the climb up the Col de Porte,” he said. “The mountains of Vercors also offer all the ingredients of a tricky stage. A similar cocktail to the one offered in Villard de Lans in 1987 that had left a bad taste in the mouth of Jean-François Bernard.”
Primoz Roglic on stage 15
“We had a plan to let the breakaway go,” said the race leader. “It’s not up to us to do the race but we saw that we could control it. The guys did it really well. Unfortunately, I was a bit too short at the end. I didn’t make any gift to Tadej [Pogacar]. We are good friends but we both want to win. He was just stronger and I was a bit disappointed to lose the stage. Chapeau to him. I don’t think the suspense on GC is over. I would like it was! We are in a really good position but it’s far from over yet.”
Stage 15 recap
Tadej Pogacar was first to the top of Grand Colombier to win his second stage of this year’s Tour, while Ineos rider and reigning champion Egan Bernal plummeted down the overall standings after losing more than seven minutes amid rumblings of discontent from within and without the camp. Jeremy Whittle was there for the Guardian …
The top 10 on General Classification
It’s a Slovenian one-two at the moment as Primoz Roglic leads his compatriot Tadej Pogacar by 40 seconds. Colombian veteran Rigoberto Uran is a further 54 seconds back in third.
Stage 16: La Tour du Pin to Villard de Lans (164km)
From William Fotheringham’s stage-by-stage guide: Never flat, and with an 11km climb into the Vercors Massif, this stage favours an early break, and the winner will probably escape on the ascent 20km from the finish. It’s the sort of stage that suits a climber who isn’t afraid to go solo
. [Narrator’s voice: “Bauke Mollema abandoned after crashing during stage 13”]
, such as the Dutchman Bauke Mollema if he isn’t in the overall mix