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"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.”

Photo: Sirotti

ALEXANDER KRISTOFF

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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19.07.2015 @ 19:39 Posted by Andy Pedersen

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 Katusha sprinter Alexander Kristoff.

 

Second place by less than half-a-wheel went to John Degenkolb (Team Giant-Alpecin) with the front group all on the same time of 3.56.35. There was no change on the overall classification and Chris Froome (Team Sky) begins the final week of racing holding the yellow jersey by 3.10 to Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and 3.32 to BMC’s Tejay van Garderen.

 

A 9-man breakaway was controlled by Team Katusha doing the lion’s share of the work at the front of the main field. With an early climb shelling a large group out the back, Katusha made tempo to keep the gap within 2 minutes. Eventually receiving some help from a few other teams, the catch was made with 36 km to go, but the main field all sprinted in together with Kristoff taking third place.

 

Tomorrow’s stage 16 begins in Bourg-de-Péage and is the last one before the final rest day - many riders will be giving their all to take an elusive stage win. At 201 km, it’s one of the longer stages for this year’s race and features two catergory-2 climbs. The Col de Manse comes with 12 km to go and could provide an exciting finale in Gap if a rider seizes the moment to slip away on the descent and outrun the chasing field.

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