Tour de France 2019: Simon Yates wins stage 15 as Geraint Thomas gains time

Simon Yates

Simon Yates rode away to claim his second stage win of this year’s Tour de France

Britain’s Simon Yates claimed his second Tour de France stage win as defending champion Geraint Thomas clawed back time from leader Julian Alaphilippe on an enthralling stage 15.

Yates, who also won stage 12, kicked clear of Simon Geschke with 8.6km left to ride to victory on the Prat d’Albis.

Thomas stays second overall but gained 27 seconds on Alaphilippe after a late attack distanced the Frenchman.

Yet Thibaut Pinot was the biggest winner among the overall contenders.

He backed up his stage 14 win by repeatedly attacking his rivals and finished second on the day to move up to fourth overall, now just 15 seconds down on Thomas.

Alaphilippe fought hard to limit his losses and retain the yellow jersey but showed his first signs of weakness in the mountains, with the final week set to be one of the closest races in years.

Egan Bernal again looked more comfortable than Thomas on the steeper sections, the young Colombian gaining 31 seconds on his Ineos team-mate.

“I felt better than yesterday but I needed to try to pace it when it all kicked off,” Thomas told ITV4.

“It’s a difficult one, tactics wise – I wanted to go, I had the legs to go but I wasn’t going to chase down Egan [Bernal] with Alaphilippe on my wheel.”

Yates’ show of strength

After a frantic first 50km of racing, a large breakaway group containing Yates got clear but were whittled down over the next two climbs.

Geschke attacked with 3km to go on the penultimate climb, the Mur de Peguere, before Yates joined him at the summit and they worked together to increase the gap to a chasing group containing Romain Bardet and Nairo Quintana.

Yates showed his strength by bursting away from Geschke and building up an unassailable lead on the Prat d’Albis to deny the surging Pinot and Mikel Landa, who had launched a long-range attack with about 40km to go.

A second stage win, just three days after his maiden victory, marks an impressive return to form for Yates after a disappointing Giro d’Italia and has helped Mitchelton-Scott enjoy a successful Tour despite twin brother Adam fading further from contention on Sunday.

“I’m very proud of what I did there – it was extremely hard from the start to the finish but I raced aggressively and I managed to pull it off,” he said.

“That took a lot of effort and I’m very tired now but there might be more chances, we’ll see.”

A thrilling race for yellow


Thibaut Pinot dropped Geraint Thomas first and then Egan Bernal (left) on stage 15

Alaphilippe defied expectations by winning Friday’s time trial and extending his lead over Thomas on the Tourmalet on Saturday, but this performance was closer to his pedigree in the high mountains.

The Deceuninck Quick-Step rider, who had no team-mates left on the final climb, was able to follow Pinot’s first attack that dropped Thomas, only to pay for that effort when the Welshman reeled him back in and passed him.

The Frenchman was visibly exhausted at the finish and repeatedly said he was just “happy to have one more day in yellow”, perhaps acknowledging that a lead of 1:35 will not be enough with three tough stages in the Alps to come.

There are just 39 seconds covering Thomas in second to Emanuel Buchmann in sixth in the race to replace Alaphilippe in yellow.

Ineos at best have two options to play, at worst a leadership conundrum and Thomas not wanting to risk bringing Alaphilippe back to Bernal means he has lost costly time to Pinot.

Pinot, who looks the best climber in the race, has now made up the time he lost to Thomas in the crosswinds on stage 10 and his Groupama-FDJ team are getting their tactics right.

After Monday’s rest day, the Tour resumes on Tuesday with a flat stage around Nimes that should end in a bunch sprint finish.

Stage 15 result

1. Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) 4 hrs 47 mins 4 secs

2. Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +33secs

3. Mikel Landa (Spa/Movistar) same time

4. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger/Bora-Hansgrohe) +51secs

5. Egan Bernal (Col/Team Ineos) same time

6. Lennard Kamna (Ger/Team Sunweb) +1min 3secs

7. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Ineos) +1min 22secs

8. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/Jumbo-Visma) same time

9. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) same time

10. Richie Porte (NZ/Trek-Segafredo) +1min 30secs

General classification after stage 15

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Deceuninck Quick-Step) 61hrs 0mins 22secs

2. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Ineos) +1min 35secs

3. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/Jumbo-Visma) +1min 47secs

4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +1min 50secs

5. Egan Bernal (Col/Team Ineos) +2mins 2secs

6. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger/Bora-Hansgrohe) +2mins 14secs

7. Mikel Landa (Spa/Movistar) +4mins 54secs

8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +5mins

9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den/Astana Pro Team) +5mins 27secs

10. Rigoberto Uran (Col/EF Education First) +5mins 33secs

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Pinot wins Tour de France stage 14 as Thomas loses time

Thibaut Pinot

Thibaut Pinot celebrates at the summit of the iconic Col du Tourmalet

Defending champion Geraint Thomas lost more time to Tour de France leader Julian Alaphilippe as Thibaut Pinot won stage 14 on the Col du Tourmalet.

Britain’s Thomas was dropped by the lead group with around 1km to go before Frenchman Alaphilippe crossed the line six seconds after compatriot Pinot.

Thomas stays second overall, but is now two minutes and two seconds behind Alaphilippe with seven stages left.

Adam Yates also lost time, to slip out of contention for a top-10 finish.

A short but brutal stage delivered all the anticipated drama and was decided at the end of a 19km climb up to the finish line on the summit of Tourmalet, one of the Tour’s most iconic mountains.

It was seen a true test of Alaphilippe’s credentials as a Tour winner and, just as in Friday’s time trial, he exceeded expectations and extended his lead.

After the last escapee from an early breakaway was reeled in halfway up the final ascent, the contenders for the general classification fought it out for the stage win.

Alaphilippe was initially content to stay on Thomas’s wheel as the lead group was slowly whittled down to fewer than a dozen riders.

The 27-year-old, seeking to become the first home winner of the Tour since Bernard Hinault in 1985, has no pedigree in the high mountains but again showed his strength and character in the toughest conditions.

While Thomas cracked and eventually finished eighth, Alaphilippe crossed the line in second place to earn a time bonus that sees his overall advantage over the Welshman increase by 36 seconds.

With more mountain stages to come in the final week of the race, Thomas is not yet out of contention for the yellow jersey but also faces a fight for a podium finish.

Steven Kruijswijk, who finished third on Saturday in the same time as Alaphilippe, is now only 12 seconds behind the Welshman.

Thomas’s Team Ineos team-mate Egan Bernal, Germany’s Emanuel Buchmann and Pinot have also moved to within 70 seconds of the Welshman overall.

Britain’s Adam Yates started the day in 10th place but his hopes of mounting a strong challenge are over after he was dropped early on Tourmalet, eventually finishing more than six-and-a-half minutes after Pinot.

Yates falls to 18th, but he was not the only rider to suffer damaging losses on the final climb of the day.

Colombia’s Nairo Quintana also fell off the pace before the finish and drops from ninth to 14th, while Ireland’s Dan Martin went from 11th to 16th.

Stage 14 result

1. Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) 3 hrs 10 mins 20 secs

2. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Deceuninck-Quick Step) +6secs

3. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/Jumbo-Visma) same time

4. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger/Bora-Hansgrohe) +8secs

5. Egan Bernal (Col/Team Ineos) same time

6. Mikel Landa (Spa/Movistar) +14secs

7. Rigoberto Uran (Col/EF Education First) +30secs

8. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Ineos) +36secs

9. Warren Barguil (Fra/Arkea Samsic) +38secs

10. Jakob Fuglsang (Den/Astana Pro Team) +53secs

General classification after stage 14

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Deceuninck Quick-Step) 56hrs 11min 29secs

2. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Ineos) +2min 2secs

3. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/Jumbo-Visma) +2mins 14secs

4. Egan Bernal (Col/Team Ineos) +3mins

5. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger/Bora-Hansgrohe) +3mins 12secs

6. Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +3mins 12secs

7. Rigoberto Uran (Col/EF Education First) +4mins 24secs

8. Jakob Fuglsang (Den/Astana Pro Team) +5mins 22secs

9. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +5mins 27secs

10. Enric Mas (Spa/Deceuninck Quick-Step) +5mins 38secs

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Alaphilippe wins stage to extend Tour lead over Thomas

Julian Alaphilippe raises his hands in celebration on the podium after winning stage 13 of the 2019 Tour de France

Julian Alaphilippe is the first rider to win two stages of the 2019 Tour de France

Defending champion Geraint Thomas lost time to Tour de France leader Julian Alaphlippe after the Frenchman’s stunning time trial win on stage 13.

Britain’s Thomas had set the fastest mark, only to see last man Alaphilippe finish 14 seconds quicker over the technical 27.2km course in Pau.

Alaphilippe now leads Thomas by one minute 26 seconds heading into an important weekend in the Pyrenees.

“I didn’t really expect that from Alaphilippe,” Thomas told ITV4.

“The way he’s riding, if he can keep that up, he’ll win.”

It was a remarkable effort by Alaphilippe to extend his lead on the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the yellow jersey, with the Deceuninck Quick-Step rider having been expected to lose time to Thomas here.

Alaphilippe, 27, may yet fade on the longer climbs to come when Team Ineos set a high tempo in service of Thomas and Saturday’s summit finish at the famed Tourmalet on stage 14 will be a huge test of his overall credentials.

But this was a clear statement that Alaphilippe, who also won stage three, intends to fight all the way to stay in yellow.

“It’s incredible. I’m really happy. I knew I could do a good performance on such a course but I didn’t think I could win the stage,” he said.

“I pushed my limits and, with the help of the public, I gave everything until the line.”

Stage 14 on Saturday takes the riders 117.5km from Tarbes to the summit of the famous Tourmalet at an altitude of 2,115m.


Geraint Thomas trailed Julian Alaphilippe by one minute and 12 seconds before the start of stage 13

This was still a strong ride by Thomas as he put more time into his other general classification rivals.

The Welshman, who set off second last, beat long-time leader Thomas de Gendt by 22 seconds, with the Belgian finishing third.

“It was OK, just that last bit I didn’t feel like I really did it – when I really wanted to step on it, I didn’t have that last 5% but it’s still a decent ride,” said Thomas.

A tricky course that included two lengthy climbs, a fast descent and a ramp at 17% gradient near the finish improved the overall contenders’ chances of stage victory, particularly with world time trial champion Rohan Dennis having mysteriously abandoned the race on Thursday.

Richie Porte and Thibaut Pinot put in fine rides to limit their losses, while Steven Kruijswijk and Enric Mas moved up to third and fourth respectively after Thomas’ team-mate Egan Bernal had a relatively disappointing day, finishing 22nd.

Britain’s Adam Yates also struggled and dropped from seventh to 10th, while Rigoberto Uran, who finished second in 2017, impressed in finishing fourth on the stage to move up to eighth overall.

Belgium national time trial champion Wout van Aert, who won stage 10, was forced to abandon the race after a heavy crash inside the final 2km.

The 24-year-old clipped a barrier on a tight right-hand bend and was taken to hospital after sustaining a deep cut on his leg.

Stage 13 result

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Deceuninck Quick-Step) 35mins

2. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Ineos) +14secs

3. Thomas de Gendt (Bel/Lotto Soudal) +36secs

4. Rigoberto Uran (Col/EF Education First) +36secs

5. Richie Porte (Aus/Trek-Segafredo) +45secs

6. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/Jumbo-Visma) +45secs

7. Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +49secs

8. Kasper Asgreen (Den/Deceuninck Quick-Step) +52secs

9. Enric Mas (Spa/Deceuninck Quick-Step) +58secs

10. Joey Rosskopf (US/CCC) + 1min 1sec

General classification after stage 13

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Deceuninck Quick-Step) 53hrs 1min 9secs

2. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Ineos) +1min 26secs

3. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/Jumbo-Visma) +2mins 12secs

4. Enric Mas (Spa/Deceuninck Quick-Step) +2mins 44secs

5. Egan Bernal (Col/Team Ineos) +2mins 52secs

6. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger/Bora-Hansgrohe) +3mins 4secs

7. Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +3mins 22secs

8. Rigoberto Uran (Col/EF Education First) +3mins 54secs

9. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar) +3mins 55secs

10. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) +3mins 55secs

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Yates wins stage 12 of Tour as Alaphilippe maintains overall lead

Simon Yates

Yates (centre) has stage wins in the Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a Espana and now the Tour de France

Britain’s Simon Yates claimed his maiden Tour de France stage win with a shrewd victory on stage 12.

Yates outsprinted Pello Bilbao and Gregor Muhlberger in a technical finish in Bagneres-de-Bigorre after the trio had broken clear with 32km remaining.

He has now won stages at all three Grand Tours, having previously won at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana.

Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe retained the yellow jersey as he finished in the peloton, with Geraint Thomas second.

Defending champion Thomas is 72 seconds behind Alaphilippe but will have the opportunity to reduce that deficit in Friday’s 27km time trial in Pau.

“I am very proud,” said Yates. “Hopefully there is more to come.”

Vuelta champion Yates is riding the Tour to help his twin brother Adam’s general classification ambitions.

However, after losing more than an hour in the overall standings during the first 10 stages the Mitchelton-Scott rider took his chance to claim individual glory.

“I’ve been saving energy until we got here in the mountains and this was the first chance to try something,” Yates added.

“Normally I would be back helping Adam but I had my own chance and grabbed it with both hands.”

Education First’s Simon Clarke led solo on the final climb of the day, La Hourquette d’Ancizan, before he was reeled in by Yates’ team-mate Matteo Trentin within 5km of the summit.

Yates bridged across with a select group from the remainder of a 40-man breakaway and dropped everyone except Muhlberger before Bilbao joined them near the top and the trio worked together to establish a decisive gap on the descent.

As they arrived in Bagneres-de-Bigorre, Yates initially held back before surging to the front for a near 90-degree left-hand turn with 150 metres to go and kicked again to hold off Bilbao – who Adam Yates picked for victory in his stage guide – with Muhlberger third.

“I wasn’t very confident of beating either of them as I didn’t know how fast they are,” said Simon Yates.

“But my director said I had to be in front coming round the last corner so I made sure I did that and thankfully held on to win.”

The peloton rolled in nine and minutes 35 seconds down on Yates, with none of the general classification contenders attempting any attacks before Friday’s time trial and two tough mountain stages at the weekend.

“We were expecting something to happen on the final climb but nothing materialised,” Thomas told ITV4.

“Everyone is mindful of the next three days, which are going to be big for the GC. I’ll go all out in the time trial and see where it puts me.”

World time trial champion Rohan Dennis, who had been one of the favourites for Friday’s stage, abandoned the Tour in mysterious circumstances with 80km to go on stage 12.

The Australian Bahrain-Merida rider would not speak to journalists at his team bus when asked why he had withdrawn.

“Our priority is the welfare of all our riders so we will launch an immediate investigation but we will not be commenting further until we have established what has happened to Rohan Dennis,” said Bahrain-Merida in a statement.

Stage 12 result

1. Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) 4hrs 57mins 53secs

2. Pello Bilbao (Spa/Astana Pro Team) Same time

3. Gregor Muhlberger (Aut/BORA-hansgrohe)

4. Tiesj Benoot (Bel/Lotto-Soudal) +1min 28secs

5. Fabio Felline (Ita/Trek-Segafredo) Same time

6. Matteo Trentin (Ita/Mitchelton-Scott)

7. Oliver Naesen (Bel/AG2R La Mondiale)

8. Rui Costa (Por/UAE Team Emirates)

9. Simon Clarke (Aus/EF Education First)

10. Jasper Stuyven (Bel/Trek-Segafredo)

General classification after stage 12

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 52hrs 26mins 9secs

2. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team INEOS) +1min 12secs

3. Egan Bernal (Col/Team INEOS) +1min 16secs

4. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/Team Jumbo-Visma) +1min 27secs

5. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger/BORA-hansgrohe) +1min 45secs

6. Enric Mas (Spa/Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +1min 46secs

7. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) +1min 47secs

8. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar Team) +2mins 4secs

9. Daniel Martin (Ire/UAE Team Emirates) +2mins 9secs

10. Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +2min 33secs

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Froome awarded 2011 Vuelta title following Cobo doping case

Juan Jose Cobo

Cobo finished in first place at the 2011 Vuelta, with Bradley Wiggins (left) in third and Chris Froome (right) in second

Chris Froome has officially been named winner of the 2011 Vuelta a Espana after Juan Jose Cobo was stripped of the title over doping irregularities.

It retrospectively makes him Britain’s first Grand Tour winner – Sir Bradley Wiggins had held the honour after his 2012 Tour de France victory.

Froome has now won seven Grand Tours, fourth equal on the all-time list.

He is not riding in the ongoing Tour de France after a serious crash at last month’s Criterium du Dauphine.

Froome’s haul of Grand Tour wins is now made up of four Tours de France, two Vueltas and a Giro d’Italia.

He is alongside Italy’s Fausto Coppi and Spaniards Alberto Contador and Miguel Indurain as a seven-time Grand Tour winner.

Belgium’s Eddy Merckx leads the way with 11, one ahead of France’s Bernard Hinault, while fellow Frenchman Jacques Anquetil has eight.

Governing body the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) said abnormalities were found in Spanish rider Cobo’s biological passport from 2009-2011.

They imposed a three-year period of ineligibility on the 38-year-old retired rider and Cobo has not appealed in the 30 days since the decision, meaning Froome has now been awarded the title.

Fellow Briton Wiggins has been promoted to second in the 2011 Vuelta, with Bauke Mollema of the Netherlands third.

The Vuelta a Espana is one of the three Grand Tours – the three-week stage races considered to be cycling’s crown jewels – along with the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia.

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