2017 Tour de France

Stage 15: Laissac-Sévérac-l'Église to Le Puy-en-Velay

Sunday, July 16, 7:10 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. ET

Stage 15 should make for great television, both because of the fantastic racing and the exceptional landscapes that highlight this charming part of France. From the racing perspective, it will be a complicated stage, with many sections above 1,000 meters. Riders will be very ready for the second rest day, which takes place in Le Puy-en-Velay.

Stage 15: Mollema saves Trek-Segafredo's Tour

Bauke Mollema won his first Tour de France stage on Sunday in Le Puy-en-Velay. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

With Trek-Segafredo’s Alberto Contador out of the GC picture, Bauke Mollema earned redemption for his team with a win in stage 15 Sunday in Le Puy-en-Velay. The Dutchman attacked just after the 189.5km stage’s penultimate climb. He soloed to victory, with a group of four breathing down his neck for the final 30 kilometers.

“I’m so happy to finally win a stage in the Tour de France,” said Mollema. “I just can’t believe it. This is what I’ve worked for so hard for the last few years. I’ve been closer and closer a few times.”

Italian Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) was best of the rest, taking second only moments later. Lotto-Soudal’s Tony Gallopin finished third on the day.

Stage 15, top 10

1. Bauke Mollema (NED/TRE) 4hrs 41min 47sec
2. Diego Ulissi (ITA/EAU) at 0:19.
3. Tony Gallopin (FRA/LOT) 0:19.
4. Primoz Roglic (SLO/LNL) 0:19.
5. Warren Barguil (FRA/SUN) 0:23.
6. Nicolas Roche (IRL/BMC) 1:00.
7. Lilian Calmejane (FRA/DEN) 1:04.
8. Jan Bakelants (BEL/ALM) 1:04.
9. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) 1:04.
10. Serge Pauwels (BEL/DDT) 1:04.

Top-10 overall

1. Chris Froome (GBR/Sky) in 64hrs 40min 21sec,
2. Fabio Aru (ITA/AST) at 0:18.
3. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 0:23.
4. Rigoberto Uran (COL/CAN) 0:29.
5. Daniel Martin (IRL/QST) 1:12.
6. Mikel Landa (ESP/SKY) 1:17.
7. Simon Yates (GBR/ORI) 2:02.
8. Louis Meintjes (RSA/EAU) 5:09.
9. Alberto Contador (ESP/TRE) 5:37.
10. Damiano Caruso (ITA/BMC) 6:05.

Chris Froome (Sky) kept his overall lead. The GC race wasn’t entirely sedate, however. Quick-Step’s Dan Martin attacked over the day’s final categorized climb. He joined a group of three others and moved up to fifth overall after earning a few hard-fought seconds.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Froome. He suffered a mechanical early in the stage. Romain Bardet’s Ag2r La Mondiale team sensed opportunity and whipped up the pace. Sky kept calm and shepherded its leader back to the front of the race.

“These are things that happen during the race,” Froome said. “I had a problem with my rear derailleur. My teammate, Kwiatkowski, stopped, and gave me his wheel because the team car was far back. I went the maximum to get back to the front.”

The fight for the early breakaway was equally urgent. Team Sunweb eagerly pursued two separate goals: the green points jersey for Michael Matthews and the polka-dot climbers jersey for Warren Barguil. Both riders made the move and made the most of the opportunity. Matthews won the intermediate sprint to inch closer to Quick-Step’s Marcel Kittel in that classification. Barguil picked up more points on the climbs.

Mollema did not initially make the breakaway. He put his Trek-Segafredo team on the front into the day’s first climb, a category 1 trip up Montée de Naves d’Aubrac, and he bridged a 90-second gap.

Sensing he was on a good day, Mollema moved just after the day’s second Cat. 1 climb, Col de Peyra Taillade.

LottoNL-Jumbo’s Primoz Roglic and Barguil gave chase over the top of the 8.3km climb. Ulissi and Gallopin soon joined the chase, but they were not organized enough to bridge the 20-second gap to the Dutchman.

In the GC group, Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) attacked on the final categorized climb, Côte de Saint-Vidal. Sky’s Mikel Landa controlled the pace and caught the move.

Then, Martin counter-attacked. The Irishman caught the bunch unawares and joined three men who had been dropped from the early break: Simon Geschke (Sunweb), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), and Robert Kiserlovski (Katusha-Alpecin). The four cooperated, and by the finish, Martin gained 14 seconds in the overall.

The peloton will enjoy one final rest day Monday before it heads to the Alps for two mountain stages and then the Marseille time trial Saturday.

2017 Tour de France, stage 15: Jersey wearers
Chris Froome (Sky) lined up with best young rider Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) and king of the mountains Warren Barguil (Sunweb). Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2017 Tour de France, stage 15: Bardet fans
Ag2r La Mondiale’s Romain Bardet lives in the area where stage 15 was held, so naturally his fans were out in force. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2017 Tour de France, stage 15: Tony Martin
World time trial champion Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin) took a flyer — always a dangerous move. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2017 Tour de France, stage 15: Barguil
Barguil drove the pace in the breakaway, shoring up his lead in the king of the mountains classification. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2017 Tour de France, stage 15: Ag2r La Mondiale
When Froome broke a spoke on his rear wheel, Ag2r La Mondiale was ramping up the pace, and the French team didn’t ease up as the race leader got a wheel and chased. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2017 Tour de France, stage 15: Froome is back
With help from his Sky team, Froome returned to the group of GC riders, crisis averted. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2017 Tour de France, stage 15: Mollema
Trek-Segafredo’s Bauke Mollema made his winning move from long range, sneaking out of the break after the day’s second Cat. 1 climb. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2017 Tour de France, stage 15: More Bardet fans
We could easily compile a photo gallery of only Romain Bardet signs and fans from stage 15. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2017 Tour de France, stage 15: Mollema wins
Mollema didn’t win by a huge advantage, but it was enough. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2017 Tour de France, stage 15: Mollema
The Dutchman was thrilled to claim his first Tour de France stage win in the Massif Centrale. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2017 Tour de France, stage 15: Second-place sprint
Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) sprinted to a bitter second place after trying to chase back Mollema for the final 30 kilometers of stage 15. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2017 Tour de France, stage 15: Dan Martin
Dangerous Dan Martin (Quick-Step) attacked the GC and earned a few seconds on GC, moving into fifth overall. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2017 Tour de France, stage 15: GC riders
The GC riders finished together, for the most part, with Froome leading them home. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
2017 Tour de France, stage 15: Froome
It was a tough day for Froome, but he survived with yellow on his shoulders. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com