Warren Barguil showed some serious strength at the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France today as he ignited the action on the stage in his bid to extend his king of the mountains lead. His efforts meant that he was able to add all but one of the available points to his lead in the mountains classification, as he rode on the offensive in a bid to secure the polka dot jersey.
Starting in Laissac-Severac L’Eglise, the Tour de France peloton set out for a 189.5 kilometre stage to Le Puy-en-Velay today. With four categorised climbs and an intermediate sprint along its route, Team Sunweb started the day with plans to take points in both the sprint and mountains classification.
After three kilometres of racing, the king of the mountains leader Warren Barguil went on the attack taking a group of nine riders with him. The peloton were reluctant to let the group go clear and it was after seven kilometres of Warren setting the pace at the head of the breakaway before they were allowed to extend their lead. Warren continued to push on at the front of the break leaving just four riders able to hold speed. The Frenchman went on to take maximum king of the mountain points atop Montée de Naves d’Aubrac and all of the points once again at côte de Vieurals.
Meanwhile, a 22 rider counter attack from the peloton with Michael Matthews and Simon Geschke was in pursuit of the breakaway. After the côte de Vieurals the group made the catch and the leading group swelled to 28 riders. As Warren, Michael and Simon were reunited in the breakk, Team Sunweb’s attention shifted to the intermediate sprint. A lead-out from Simon meant that Michael could collect maximum points upon crossing the line.
With 52 kilometres to go a counter attack from the breakaway saw one rider go solo for a 20 kilometre effort. Hungry for more mountains points, Warren surged on from the breakaway group in a bid to reach the leader. It was three kilometres from the summit of Col de Peyra Taillade where Warren made the catch, then continuing solo to take maximum points.
As another rider made a bid to take the victory solo, Warren went on the offensive once again launching an attack, forming a chasing group. Although the group managed to bring the leader to within 10 seconds of them, their efforts weren’t enough and the rider managed to stay away to take the victory. Warren finished the day in 5th place, collecting all but one of the available king of the mountains points.
After the stage Warren explained: “The goal for today was to get into the break and to take some points in the sprint and KOM. We had three guys in the break which was a good situation for us and we were able to reach both of those goals. I’m pleased with the lead that I have but its still a long way to Paris so I will continue to attack and try to add to it.”
Aike Visbeek, Team Sunweb’s Tour de France coach commented: “We put ourselves in a good position with both Michael and Warren in the break, Michael collecting some more sprint points and Warren KOM points. Warren went on to try to make he final climb hard but couldn’t get rid of the other escapees. The team can be proud of how they rode today, they were ready to fight for the stage win and did everything they could in-between.”
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