SAN DIEGO, July 17, 2015 – Following three long days in the Pyrenees, the 175 riders remaining in the 2015 Tour de France navigated a long rolling stage in extremely warm weather, with temperatures reaching 100 degrees.
Friday’s early breakaway attempt by a group of six riders looked like it might be successful. Teams of the overall leaders were content to let them go through two-thirds of the race, then decided to pull them back in.
It seemed the remaining trio of riders holding the lead and heading for the finish might beat the peloton there. It was until the final 200 meters of the 123 mile race, when Slovakian sensation Peter Sagan of Tinkoff-Saxo and Greg van Avermaet of BMC burst out of the peloton, putting on a show and battling each other up the final incline to the finish, with van Avermaet taking the stage win.
Sagan, who has been second on several stages without a win in this year’s Tour, said afterward he waited too long to strike. “It’s my mistake,” said Sagan. “I have to thank my team for the good job done before the sprint but my mistake was to sit down behind him [Greg van Avermaet] instead of passing him straight away and continue my effort till the finishing line. I’ve increased my lead in the green jersey classification but that wasn’t my priority today. I also want victories.”
As the peloton chased down the group, it caused some splits and one serious crash involving French rider Jean-Christophe Peraud of AG2R0La Modiale. He got back on the bike battered but made it back to the peloton and finished with the main group.
No change in the leaders or jerseys Friday. Chris Froome of Team Sky leads by 2:52 over American Tejay Van Garderen of BMC Racing in second, and 3:09 over Nairo Quintana of Movistar in third. Alejandro Valverde of Movistar sits in a good position in fourth, 3:58 back. Alberto Contador of Tinkoff-Saxo sits sixth, four minutes back.
Sagan’s effort helped him hold onto the sprinters green jersey competition over rival Andre Greipel. Quintana has a solid hold on the white jersey as the best young rider. Joaquim Rodriguez spends his second day in the polka dot King of the Mountains jersey after his win Thursday.
Saturday’s Stage 14 is a picturesque trip through the beautiful scenery of southern France. Television viewers will love the views, but the peloton won’t have time to enjoy it. This stage is a favorite of the Spanish climbers. Alberto Contador, Joaquim Rodriguez, and Alejandro Valverde have all won here during various races. Rodriguez will do his best to keep his polka dot jersey. Chris Froome will expect the attacks and will have to respond in his role as the race leader.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Follow the Tour de France daily in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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