Sunday July 14th, 2013

Stage 15Givors / Mont Ventoux

Start 10h45 GMT 2+

Froome: victory in the Sky

Stage summary14.07.2013Stage 15- Givors / Mont Ventoux

Anyone who doubted the strength of Chris Froome and his Sky team at the 100th Tour de France was reminded that although two men are no longer there as support, the Kenyan-born Brit is The Dominant rider of the 2013 race. With great support from Peter Kennaugh and Richie Porte on the final climb - and a dream lead to the epic encounter on Mont Ventoux in the final 20km of the longest stage of this year's Tour - the leader of the Sky team put on a display of climbing that will be talked about for a long time to come. This was racing at its finest with clever, well-time - and phenomenally strong - accelerations eliminating all of his rivals from the equation. A week of racing is yet to come but the overall leader is also the winner at the top of the mythical mountain in the Vaucluse department. Froome is the only rider other than Eddy Merckx to win a stage of the Tour de France while clad in the colours of the leader and he increased his advantage over Bauke Mollema who is still in second place, but 4'14» behind. On the final climb, there were several phases of cooperation: Quintana briefly worked with Mikel Nieve who had attacked early and would share turns with Alberto Contador before finishing third. And, of course, Quintana and Froome climbed well ahead of the rest. Froome was so impressed by the Colombian's performance that he later explained how he told himself, 'This guys is going to win the stage today and I'm going to have to settle for second'. But it wasn't to be. Froome is the strongest in the race. He has climbed to a second stage victory and continues to remind everyone that there was a good reason he was the favourite for the title of the 100th edition. Contador was good, but not able to match him; Mollema faltered only briefly but it cost him almost two minutes; Quintana can climb but the losses in the time trial cost him dearly... and everyone else who was listed as potential winners - based largely on reputations earned from past years - were well-and-truly eliminated from the battle on Mont Ventoux. Cadel Evans: a winner two years ago, 31st in the stage over eight minutes behind. Andy Schleck: a challenger for the yellow jersey on the last visit to the Giant of Provence but the first team leader dropped this year and over 10 minutes behind Froome at the finish... This was a stage that many eagerly awaited and ultimately it became a one-man show ahead of a cast of stars. 

The progress report
The longest stage of the 2013 Tour de France started at 10.43am and there were 181 riders at the sign on. This is the highly anticipated race from Givors to Mont Ventoux on the national holiday for Bastille Day. The stage featured three categorised hills and the ‘hors category' climb at the finish which had double points on offer for the first 10 at the finish. The climbs were: the cote d'Eyzin-Pinet (cat-4 at 20.5km), cote de Primarette (cat-4 at 26.5km), cote de Bourdeaux (cat-3 at 143km) and the ‘hors category' ascent of Mont Ventoux. The intermediate sprint was in Malaucène with 34.5km to go in the 242.5km stage.
The temperature at the start was 23 degrees Celsius but it reached the mid-30s in the heat of the battle.

10 escape in fast start: 50.4km/h for the second hour!
The first escape of the day came from Gilbert (BMC) and Westra (VCD) but they were caught at 7km. At 16km, Kloden (RTL), Reza (EUC) and De Gendt (VCD) escaped. Katusha led the peloton at an extremely fast pace and no early escapes were allowed any room to move. De Gendt grabbed the first climbing point; Rolland (EUC) led over the second hill. At 30km a group of 10 broke free, the riders involved were: Sagan (CAN), Irizar, (RTL), Fedrigo and Roy (FDJ), Riblon (ALM), Losada (KAT), Chavanel (OPQ), Impey (OGE), Poels (VCD), El Fares (SOJ). By the third hill they were 35” ahead of the peloton, led by Sky. The average speed for the first hour was 48.2km/h. At 52km, the 10 led two counter attacks – Burghardt and Rolland, by 1'08; and Astarloza and Le Mevel, by 1'30”. The peloton was at 4'05”. Le Mevel and Astarloza waited for the bunch after 90 minutes of racing. The maximum gain of the 10 escapees over the peloton was 7'05” (at 70km). Europcar came to the front of the bunch and started to increase the pace of the chase (even though Rolland got to within just 15” of the front group, but not any closer). The average speed for the second hour was 50.4km/h! By then Rolland and Burghardt had ceased their chase and were 3'30” behind the 10 leaders and the peloton was at 6'05”. El Fares dropped out of the lead group at 125km. The peloton was at 3'30”.

Movistar lead the pursuit of nine escapees...
Roy led Riblon and the seven other escapees over the fourth climb. By then Movistar had replaced Europcar at the head of the peloton that was 3'30” behind. The average speed for the third hour was 41.3km/h. Movistar was the only team doing turns at the head of the peloton. With 70km to go, the bunch was 3'50” behind. The average speed for the fourth hour was 46.6km/h. Sagan led the escape over the line at the intermediate sprint and Greipel led Cavendish to get 10th place points, 3'10” behind the escape. After Malaucene, three Euskaltel riders moved to the front of the peloton.

Sky leads to the bottom of the Ventoux
Chavanel attacked the lead group with 25km to go; at 20km to go, he was 20” ahead of the other escapees and 1'45” ahead of the peloton that was led by five Sky riders. Rolland (EUC) was dropped in the first kilometre of the climb. Nieve (EUS) attacked with 14km to go and shortly afterwards Quintana also went on the attack and quickly raced into the lead. With 13km to go this was the group of the yellow jersey: Froome, Porte and Kennaugh (SKY), De Clercq (LTB), Evans and Morabito (BMC), Monfort (RTL), Fuglsang (AST), Peraud and Bardet (ALM), Contador, Rogers, Hernandez, Kreuziger (TST), Rodriguez and Moreno (KAT), Valverde (MOV), Kwiatkowski (OPQ), Gesink, Mollema and Ten Dam (BEL), Martin and Talanksy (GRS).

Froome a dominant victory in the yellow jersey
Kennaugh finished his turn with 9.5km to go and then the group started to explode. Porte led long enough to eliminate almost all of the major rivals of his team-mate, Froome. Contador was able to hold on to the yellow jersey all the way through to the moment that Porte's effort was over. By then Mollema and an elite selection that included Ten Dam, Peraud, Fuglsang, Rodriguez could still see the yellow jersey but once Porte peeled off it was only a matter of moments before Froome raced into the lead. His initial acceleration with 7.5km to go was impressive but the second surge absolutely destroyed any hope of Contador following. It was an attack that lasted around a minute but in that time Contador was well behind and Quintana's advantage that had been 30” was eaten up. Froome rode with the new leader of the youth classification for about a minute but then repeated the sort of surge that eliminated Contador with 6.5km to go. The Colombian didn't panic and paced himself back to the lead of the stage; the Sky and Movistar pair would ride together until 1.2km from the finish when Froome accelerated ahead to win the stage by 30”. He took 50pts in the climbing classification and also claimed the polka-dot jersey.
While everyone else was battling to limit their losses, Froome was already off his bike and celebrating his second stage victory 2013 Tour de France – this time the salute came with the yellow jersey on his shoulders. It's the first time since Bradley Wiggins' victory in the Chartres TT at the end of last year that the race leader has won the stage. Froome increased his lead over the rider in second place, Mollema (now at 4'14”) and the Sky rider will wear the yellow jersey again on Tuesday after a day of rest.

Stage 15 Givors / Mont Ventoux

All about the stage key moments

Jersey wearers after the stage 14

Classifications after the stage 14

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