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CYCLING: Alexander Kristoff claims Stage 15 win at Tour de France

Norway's Alexander Kristoff crosses the finish line

Norway's Alexander Kristoff crosses the finish line

 

Alexander Kristoff took the win on stage 15 of the Tour de France as the sprinters caught Martin Elmiger and Jack Bauer on the line.

Bauer had disappeared into the lead from the very beginning of the 222 kilometre stage between Tallard and Nimes but lost out in the closing stages as the chasing pack eventually put in a push.

Stormy conditions and difficult crosswinds made life difficult for Bauer and Elmiger but they maintained their lead until Katusha’s Kristoff led the sprinting pack past - leaving Garmin-Sharp rider Bauer in tears at the finish.

It seemed as though the sprinters had miscalculated the time they needed to reel in the long-standing leaders, with a number of roundabouts requiring safe navigation in slippery conditions.

But, as the closing metres were knocked off, Bauer, who eventually came home 10th, and Elmiger - who had worked well together to keep themselves clear - dropped back into the field.

Green jersey holder Peter Sagen came third as Vincenzo Nibali remained in the yellow jersey heading into the 16th stage with a four minute 37 second lead over Alejandro Valverde.

Although Nibali was not in the picture for the stage win, the Italian was happy to play the long game in tricky conditions.

“At some point, gusts of wind were blowing from the side,” the Astana rider said.

“The road was curvy in a village. I didn’t want to be caught by surprise. That’s when BMC accelerated but I was attentive and they stopped a few kilometers further.

“I’ve maybe learnt how to handle a stage race as a team but it was at the different period of the season. I came to the Tour de France this year after improving my condition progressively in order to reach my first peak of the year precisely at the Tour de France.”

Elsewhere, Orica-GreenEdge confirmed on Twitter that Simon Yates would take no further part in the tour.

“After an impressive debut, 21yo @SimonYatess will head home to recover, destined for more great things to come. More in our report. #TDF,” they tweeted.

Yates’ withdrawal does not come as a surprise as he was drafted into the team at the last minute but it does mean that Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas is the last British rider remaining this year.

 

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