Tadej Pogacar wins Stage 15 of Tour de France, Primoz Roglic retains lead
Tadej Pogacar beat yellow jersey-holder Primoz Roglic in a dramatic mountaintop finish to Stage 15 on Sunday as the Tour de France became all about the fight between its two star Slovenian riders.
Last year’s winner Egan Bernal plummeted down the standings, as did his fellow Colombian Nairo Quintana, leaving Pogacar the only challenger within 90 seconds of Roglic in the overall standings.
“At the moment, Roglic seems unstoppable,” Pogacar said. “But today Bernal cracked and maybe one day myself or Primoz will crack too. There are still a lot of opportunities ahead.”
Pogacar stayed with Roglic on the long and brutal Grand Colombier climb despite Roglic having backing from four teammates on his ascent. They drew on their last reserves to sprint for the summit finish, Pogacar taking his second stage win by a bike-length.
Pogacar and Roglic were given the same time. As the stage winner, Pogacar was awarded 10 bonus seconds in the general classification against Roglic’s six for second place. Roglic leads Pogacar by 40 seconds overall.
Last year’s winner Bernal dropped off the lead group on the Grand Colombier climb and appeared to lose any chance of retaining the title as he dropped to 13th overall, 8 minutes 25 seconds off the yellow jersey.
As the long climb from the Rhone valley to the finish at the top of the Grand Colombier pass began, Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma team had five riders including the Slovenian in the peloton. They worked well together on the climb to protect Roglic and force a pace that put pressure on his rivals.
The Tour had turned into a battle between Slovenian and Colombian riders. On Sunday the Slovenians clearly had the upper hand in the Jura mountains.
Bernal’s struggles on the climb all but ensure the end of a five-year streak of Tour victories by his Ineos Grenadiers team, formerly known as Team Sky. Another Colombian contender for the yellow jersey, Nairo Quintana, started the day fifth but also dropped back on Grand Colombier and is ninth, 5 minutes, 8 seconds off the lead.
Two more Colombian riders, Rigoberto Uran and Miguel Angel Lopez, managed to stay with the lead group and sit third and fourth in the overall standings.
Restrictions introduced because of the coronavirus outbreak were supposed to ensure that fans were restricted to the flatter sections and foothills and weren’t allowed to throng the narrow approaches to the summit finish. However, some cheering and waving of flags occurred near the top.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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