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Tour de France 2015

Tour de France 2015 – Week 3 | Destination Paris

The third and final week of the tour was one where the big names that were still with a realistic chance of winning the tour had to challenge Froome and Team Sky.

Stage 17 – Digne-les-Baines to Pra-Loup (161km)

  • Winner – Simon Geschke (GER – Team Giant Alpecin)
  • Yellow – Chris Froome (GBR – Team Sky)
  • Green – Peter Sagan (SLO – Tinkoff Saxo)
  • Polkadot – Chris Froome (GBR – Team Sky)
  • White – Nairo Quintana (COL – Movistar Team)

An impressive ride by bearded German Geschke secured the win for Team Alpecin in the first stage in the Alps. Froome faced attacks from Quintana, Nibali and Contador but neither coud break the British rider. BMC rider van Garderen was forced to retire due to illness. The battle for the green jersey coninued as Sagan regained it from Greipel.

Stage 18 – Gap to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne (186.5km)

  • Winner – Roman Bardet (FRA – AG2R La Mondiale)
  • Yellow – Chris Froome (GBR – Team Sky)
  • Green – Peter Sagan (SLO – Tinkoff Saxo)
  • Polkadot – Joachim Rodriguez (ESP – Team Katusha)
  • White – Nairo Quintana (COL – Movistar Team)

Another home success for the locals to celebrate as Bardet finished ahead of compariot Rolland after attacking from the breakway group. The polkadot jersey changed hands from Froome to Rodriguez as the Spaniard got himself in the large escape group to pick up as many mountain points as he could. Froome survived another day of attacks courtesy of great support from his team.

Stage 19 – Saint-Jean-de-Marienne to La Toussuire (138km)

  • Winner – Vincenzo Nibali (ITA – Astana Pro Team)
  • Yellow – Chris Froome (GBR – Team Sky)
  • Green – Peter Sagan (SLO – Tinkoff Saxo)
  • Polkadot – Roman Bardet (FRA – AG2R La Mondiale)
  • White – Nairo Quintana (COL – Movistar Team)

The reigning champion Nibali took a well deserved stage in a disapointing tour for him while Bardet rode himself into the polkadot jersey. It was perhaps the toughest day in the Alps for leader Froome, as he had to contend with several challenges throughout the stage. Eventually, his lead was cut with just one competitive stage remaining.

Stage 20 – Modane Valfrejus to Alpe d’Huez (110.5km)

  • Winner – Thibaut Pinot (FRA – FDJ)
  • Yellow – Chris Froome (GBR – Team Sky)
  • Green – Peter Sagan (SLO – Tinkoff Saxo)
  • Polkadot – Chris Froome (GBR – Team Sky)
  • White – Nairo Quintana (COL – Movistar Team)

After what has been a torrid tour for Pinot he finally came good with an excellent win on one of the most famous climbs in the world. It was a compelling stage of racing as behind Pinot was quite a battle. A plan by Movistar Team nearly paid off as Quintana cut the overall gap to Froome, but it was not enough for the Colombian.

Final Stage (21) – Sevre/Grand Paris Seine Ouest to Paris champs-Elysees

  • Winner – Andre Greipel (GER – Lotto Soudal)
  • Yellow – Chris Froome (GBR – Team Sky)
  • Green – Peter Sagan (SLO – Tinkoff Saxo)
  • Polkadot – Chris Froome (GBR – Team Sky)
  • White – Nairo Quintana (COL – Movistar Team)

In a tour designed with climbers in mind, the sprinters left in the race would have been licking their lips ahead of the final stage. The final stage is always a quite neutral affair until the last kilometre. This one was more so with the distance being cut due to the weather conditions. The stage was won by the best sprinter of the tour this year, German Andre Greipel with his fourth. It was not enough, however, to take the green jersey from Sagan who won it for the fourth year in a row. As for Froome and Team Sky, it was a ride of honour for the now two times yellow jersey winner who was surrounded by a team that have fought hard for their leader for three weeks.

Overall Classification (top ten riders)

  • Chris Froome (Team Sky) 84h 46′ 14″
  • Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) +01′ 12″
  • Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) +05′ 25″
  • Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team) +08′ 36″
  • Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) +09′ 48″
  • Robert Gesink (Team Lotto) +10′ 47″
  • Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing) +15′ 14″
  • Frank Mathias (IAM Cycling) +15′ 39″
  • Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) +16′ 00″
  • Pierre Rolland (Team Europcar) +17′ 30″

Week Three – Round Up

The final week of the tour was confidently controlled by Team Sky as they looked for their third Tour de France win in four years and a second in three years for Chris Froome. While there was plenty of great racing, the week and tour itself will be remembered for the treatment a minority of fans on the roadside towards Team Sky and their riders and Froome in particular, thanks in the main, to reckless comments throughout the French media. The hosts had plenty to cheer with stage wins for favourites Pinot and Bardet. The stage of the week had to be the penultimate one up to the famous Alpe d’Huez which lived up to all expectations.

Tour Round Up

It has been three weeks of racing with quite an amazing backdrop that, as always, has been difficult to ignore. From the first few days as the peloton worked its way down from Belgium, touching the Netherlands, and into France, the race has taken its own shape. It has been difficult to see how anyone would depose Froome from the yellow jersey once he donned it for the first time in the Tour.

While it was clear he was the rider in form, more importantly, he had a quality team behind him that could do much more than just back him up and get him through the tough days. It was a disappointing defence of the title for Italian Nibali, while Contador’s aim of winning the Giro D’Italia and the tour were always going to be a big ask. The main challenger, who I had predicted in my preview, was Colombian, Quintana.

It seems to have gone too soon as always but from a British perspective it could not have gone much better! Froome winning the tour for the second time in three years, while grabbing himself a stage win and the polkadot jersey was no mean feat, so he should be rightly praised for the feat, especially given some of the circumstances surrounding his, and his teammates, Tour de France. Let us not forget, that there were stage wins as well for Cavendish and a very welcome one for Cummings.

Chapeau Chris Froome, Team Sky and the organisers of one of the best sporting events in the world.

I end the StalkSport coverage of the 2015 Tour de France with my final words going to a true inspiration – Geoff Thomas. He and the TDF One Day Ahead team rode every stage of the Tour for charity. My congratulations to all involved in what is a tremendous achievement for a brilliant cause.

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Writer Info about JayC

Jay is the founder and editor of Palace fan site The Eagles Beak. He is also a regular guest on the EPL Roundtable podcast. Jay has been a Palace fan since the late eighties and is a current season ticket holder. A fan of too many other sports as well as a passion for music. Former athlete, footballer and attempted bobsledder.

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