Thomas keeps lead before Tour’s decisive week in Pyrenees

Ruben Holloway
July 24, 2018

Magnus Cort dominated a three-man sprint finish to win stage 15 of the Tour de France as Team Sky's Geraint Thomas retained the overall lead.

The Astana rider claimed his first career win at the Tour after staying ahead of Ion Izagirre and Bauke Mollema in a sprint over the final 200 metres.

They ended over 13 minutes down on the stage victor but it had no impact on the overall standings.

Fourth-placed Primoz Roglic was the only overall contender to gain time, finishing eight seconds ahead of Thomas, Froome, and third-placed Tom Dumoulin - with all four riders finishing more than 18 minutes behind stage victor Omar Fraile, who remained far back in the standings.

All the aforementioned exited the race over two tough days in the Alps, and Sagan - who had won two stages on this edition so far - was quick to capitalize.

Bevin, 27, was part of the BMC team that raced to victory in the team time trial on stage three.

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"(Dumoulin) can really pace himself", Thomas said.

"Anything can happen. Three big days in the Pyrenees to come plus a hard time trial".

Spain's Omar Fraile powered to victory with a late burst in the last climb of Stage 14 of the Tour de France Saturday.

There was also a half-hearted and short-lived attempt by Bardet to slip away on a downhill.

"I 100 percent believe in myself and the team, that we do everything in the right way, along with the majority of the peloton as well", said Thomas.

World champion Peter Sagan got into the breakaway, and he took third place in the day's intermediate sprint to all-but wrap up the points classification, receiving his 100th green jersey at the finish.

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The pair rode 30 seconds behind Majka for the remains of the climb, before a regrouping at the bottom of the descent saw that lead trio join up with Izagirre, Pozzovivo, Calmejane, Toms Skujiņš (Trek-Segafredo) and Cort's teammate Michael Valgren for the flat and windy run-in to the finish.

Thomas and Froome lost one of their support riders for the rest of the way after Gianni Moscon was expelled by race organizers for apparently hitting Elie Gesbert of Team Fortuneo.

The breakaway were allowed to build a lead of almost 15 minutes but the climbs took their toll on several riders forced to drop back as the stage progressed.

Rafal Majka was leading the race on the final ascent when he barely avoided a fan who appeared to be pushed onto the road.

Cort found his way to the front after the attacks started inside the final 10km, ending up accompanied by a duo of veritable non-sprinters in Izagirre and Mollema. The man was then nearly hit on the back by an authorized motorbike following Majka.

The racing returns on Tuesday with Stage 16, a 218-kilometer mountain trek from Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon.

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AP writers Andrew Dampf and Ciaran Fahey contributed.

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