Duo climb closer on GC

21 Jul 2019

Duo climb closer on GC

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Tour de France stage 15: Limoux - Foix, 185km

Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal both made up ground on race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deuceuninck-Quick-Step) in a breathless finale to stage 15 of the Tour de France which was won by Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott).

Thomas and Bernal were both able to distance Alaphilippe on the summit finish to reduced their arrears to the Frenchman, with fellow general classification rival Thibaut Pinot (Groupama - FDJ) also moving closer to his compatriot overall. 

The decisive move of the day came on the final climb, when Pinot’s teammate David Gaudu set a high pace at the foot of the category one Foix Prat d’Albis to gradually reduce an already selective group of favourites. 

Thomas and Berrnal were joined by Wout Poels who played a key role when Pinot attacked, helping pace the Welshman back into contention after the French rider stole a march on his rivals.

Bernal was one of two riders able to follow Pinot’s attacks, alongside Emanuel Buchmann (Bora Hansgrohe), but PInot kicked again to shake off the German, before eventually distancing the Team INEOS rider.

Behind them, Poels and Thomas led another small group of favourites, which then caught and dropped Alaphilippe, with Thomas attacking with just two kilometres remaining to claw back time from the maillot jaune.

Ahead of this battle, Yates won the stage, with Pinot following shortly afterwards to gain more time on his GC rivals. Bernal crossed the line in fifth behind Buchmann to gain nearly a minute on Alaphilippe, with Thomas seventh.
Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas

There’s so many guys still in the mix this year. It’s such a mental game now. Everyone will be feeling it, but you need to try and block out the tiredness - bite the bullet and dig in."
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Geraint Thomas 

“I felt better than yesterday, for sure. It was similar to yesterday, in that I needed to try and pace it when it all kicked off - fair play to Wout, he was great at that point.

“Then I got stuck by Alaphilippe - and I obviously didn’t want to pull at that stage with him in the wheel, so we let him ride a bit and I jumped with around 2km to go.

“Tactics-wise, we were stuck a bit between a rock and a hard place, but the positive is that the legs responded a little bit better today. It was a decent day all round to be honest

“There’s so many guys still in the mix this year. It’s such a mental game now. Everyone will be feeling it, but you need to try and block out the tiredness - bite the bullet and dig in.

“For sure I will look back and draw on my experiences from last year and hopefully that will help - I was suffering at times then as well - the rest day will be welcome for everyone!” 
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- Egan Bernal

"On the last two climbs we rode a really hard pace, in the final kilometres we were going full gas. Before, G told me I could follow the moves and said ‘you can do your own race’.

“He said it’s better for us if we have two cards to play. Maybe if I follow Pinot and the other guys and if I am in their wheel, maybe they can’t continue [at the same pace]. I think the final was good though.

“I lost time in the TT and it changed nothing, yesterday he lost some time and it changed nothing and today again I moved closer. We have good communication between us, he’s really honest and I am too. If I am going full gas at some point in the race for sure I will talk with him.

“We need to win the race for Team INEOS, it’s not about Geraint or Egan, it is always about the team.”

Stage 15 result:

1. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) 4:47:04
2. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) 
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) s.t.
4. Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) +8"
5. Egan Bernal (Team INEOS) s.t.
7. Geraint Thomas (Team INEOS) +36"

Overall standings:

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 56:11:29
2. Geraint Thomas (Team INEOS) +1:35"
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) +1:47"
4. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) +1:50"
5. Egan Bernal (Team INEOS) +2:02"

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