Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Norway's Alexander Kristoff crosses the finish line to win the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 222 kilometers (137.9 miles) with start in Tallard and finish in Nimes, France, Sunday, July 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Tour de France: Kristoff wins flat Stage 15; Nibali leads
Cycling » Norwegian earns second stage victory this year.
First Published Jul 20 2014 10:15 am • Last Updated Jul 22 2014 05:36 pm

Nimes, France • Almost at the line, Jack Bauer and Martin Elmiger were exhausted but could see it coming — their first Tour de France stage victory. Those last 50 meters, however, got in the way.

A bunch of sprinters leading the pack came speeding like a runaway train and plowed past the huffing breakaway duo in the final milliseconds. Stage 15 belonged to Norwegian speedster Alexander Kristoff, his second stage victory in this Tour.

At a glance

Tour de France Stage 16 preview

O Tuesday, 6 a.m. TV » NBCSN

About the stage » Riders will get a chance to recuperate on Monday, the race’s second and final rest day before the final push through the Pyrenees and on to Paris.

Leaders » 1. Vincenzo Nibali, Italy, Astana, 66 hours, 49 minutes, 37 seconds. 2. Alejandro Valverde, Spain, Movistar, 4 minutes, 37 seconds behind. 3. Romain Bardet, France, AG2R La Mondiale, 4:50. Also » 5. Tejay van Garderen, United States, BMC Racing, 5:49.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The 138-mile stage went smoothly for overall leader Vincenzo Nibali of Italy. He made sure his main rivals couldn’t claw back any time, and he kept his yellow jersey by finishing in the trailing pack.

After two days in the Alps, Sunday’s stage offered some relief over a flat course from Tallard, southeast France’s parachuting capital, toward Nimes, known for its Roman arena and bullfighting. More relief comes Monday — a second rest day.

This ride showed yet again on the Tour how mighty efforts so often go unrewarded.

Bauer is a New Zealander who had a better shot of holding off the sprinters than Swiss champion Elmiger. Bauer dropped his bike after the finish line, sat on the ground and cupped his face in his hands, crying. They had led nearly from the starter’s gun.

"It’s a fantasy for any cyclist to win a stage at the Tour and especially for a Kiwi cyclist, not many of us turn professional and not many of us get a chance to start the Tour de France," Bauer said.

The 29-year-old rider came to the Tour to help Garmin-Sharp leader Andrew Talansky, who dropped out before Stage 12 because of injuries from an earlier crash.

The pack perfectly timed its move on the breakaway duo and proved too strong. Bauer was pedaling with his last remaining strength, and when he looked back a last time they were already zooming by. He finished in 10th place, with Elmiger 16th.

"I really gave it absolutely everything, and as you can see from my meltdown at the finish I was pretty disappointed to come away empty-handed," Bauer added, noting he’s usually a support rider. "I thought I had it, but then I realized in the last 50 meters that I had nothing."


story continues below
story continues below

The Swiss rider with IAM Cycling took it more in stride. This, after all, wasn’t the first breakaway to fail in this Tour.

"I am not disappointed because I actually did not have the best legs today," Elmiger said. "Being caught by the pack is not so bad when you are convinced you have given everything. As I have already said three times this Tour after breaks have failed, one of these days the wheels will turn in my favor."

Kristoff, a Katusha rider who also won Stage 12, sighed in relief.

"It was a little bit late for comfort. It was very close," he said. "I thought I would be second. ... We turned on the gas."

"Of course, that’s a pity for them, but I don’t feel sorry for them," he said. "Normally, the break should never have had a chance, but they did. They were really strong guys. ... That must have been really hard."

With about 12 miles (20 kilometers) left, rain briefly doused the riders, though skies brightened by the end. A series of roundabouts and leg fatigue among the sprinters after the Alpine stages gave an advantage to the breakaway pair until the final seconds.

Nibali kept his main rivals for the Tour title at bay. He leads Spain’s Alejandro Valverde by 4:37 while Romain Bardet of France is third, 4:50 behind. American Tejay van Garderen is fifth, 5:49 back.

Nibali, the leader of Kazakh team Astana, is in good shape to take the yellow jersey when the three-week race ends next Sunday in Paris. Some of his closest rivals have already said the race is now for second place.

The Italian has shown savvy — gaining time on cobblestone patches in Stage 2 — and nearly insurmountable dominance on high climbs. He won Stage 13’s entree into the Alps and was second a day later, also in the snow-capped mountains.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.