Tinkoff-Saxo’s Peter Sagan once again delivered plenty of action in a dedicated effort at the front of the race. Following a blazing descent, Sagan took 2nd place behind stage winner Plaza and extended his green jersey lead to 94 points. Meanwhile, team captain Contador notes that he felt much better in the tough finale going into gap.
After crossing the finish line of stage 16 to Gap, Peter Sagan notes that he found it difficult to establish common ground in the effort to bridge the gap to the eventual stage winner Rubén Plaza but that he remains fairly content with the outcome of the stage.
Stage 16 of the 2015 Tour de France runs 201kms from Bourg-de-Peage to Gap and favors those willing to take risks on a big descent.
The intermediate sprint occurs at 86.5kms in Die, right before the two big climbs of the day. The sprinters will be keen to contest this as they will probably be no one near the front of the pack at the finish with two cat-2 climbs on deck.
Km 130.0 - Col de Cabre (1 180 m)9.1 kilometre-long climb at 4.6% - category 2
Km 189.0 - Col de Manse (1 268 m)8.9 kilometre-long climb at 5.6% - category 2
This is also the last transition day before the Alps. The riders luckily will have a rest day tomorrow to recover a little, so the day’s break riders may try extra hard to take risks and get victory, especially if they’re from a team that has yet to taste success. The GC men will be keen to prevent time loss, however, so on the final descent, it is possible for someone to sneak away. Everyone should be careful though, as on these roads, Tours have been lost (Andy Schleck) and careers have ended (Joseba Beloki). It is very technical and not to be taken lightly!
The Sunday’s stage 15 was a final chance for the sprinters to kick in a bunch sprint before seeing the Champs Élysées next Sunday, and the fast men in cycling did not disappoint. Team Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff saw his chance to go for the win and used the team throughout the stage to control the break in order to give himself a chance at the finish line. Kristoff made the most of the situation and claimed a third place on the daily podium behind Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) who claimed his third stage win in the 2015 Tour de France.
- It was a bit of a headwind at the end. Greipel had a really good jump and I always struggle a bit when it’s like that so at the end I had good top speed but I just wasn’t fast enough. Today Greipel and Degenkolb were just stronger. I was planning to go at the same time at 250 m but Greipel was just stronger and when he started his sprint I could not answer. Really there is only one chance left for the sprinters on the Champs Élysées but if Greipel continues to sprint like this, it will be difficult to beat him. We were at the front a little early and the speed dropped just a bit and I came into the last corner in second position. I wanted to win the sprint and the team did a great job for me. It’s a pity I could not deliver. When the speeds drop off at the end and then I have to pick back up, I always have trouble with that kind of acceleration, - said team sprinter Alexander Kristoff.
Peter Sagan was once again proactively seeking the win on stage 15 to Valance, as he took part in the breakaway of the day, where he also scored maximum points in the intermediate sprint before being caught by the chasing peloton. In a hectic sprint, Sagan took 4th place behind main green jersey rival André Greipel and now leads the points classification by 44 points.
Peter Sagan took his 10th top five result of this Tour with a fourth place on stage 15. After the stage, Sagan notes that he wanted to pursue his possibilities in the breakaway.
The 183kms from Mende to Valence of Stage 15 of the 2015 Tour de France, though full of climbs early, should be another chance for the sprinters to take victory. Will Sagan get that elusive stage win?!
Three of the climbs fall before the intermediate sprint at 108.0kms in Aubenas. The hardest climb of the day is hat 126.5kms, meaning the riders have over 50kms to get back together if they can’t hold on the climb, lining up for a sprint.
Km 9.5 - Côte de Badaroux4.6 kilometre-long climb at 5.1% - category 3
Km 69.5 - Col du Bez2.6 kilometre-long climb at 4.4% - category 4
Km 73.5 - Col de la Croix de Bauzon1.3 kilometre-long climb at 6.2% - category 4
Km 126.5 - Col de l'Escrinet (787 m)7.9 kilometre-long climb at 5.8% - category 2
With the Alps looming, the sprinters probably won’t have another opportunity to shine until Paris. However, the Rhone valley can always cause chaos if the winds are high. If it doesn’t go to the sprinters, the break could stay away depending on the make up, however with so many teams still not getting anything out of this Tour, the odds of organization are slim.