EletiofeTour de France 2020: stage 15 – live!

Tour de France 2020: stage 15 – live!


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30km to go: Gogl is now clear at the front, with Rolland dropping off him though the gap is below seven seconds.

Alistair Connor has some culinary lexicon to share: “A “soupe”, in its original meaning, is the big slice of peasant bread that you put in your plate before putting a ladle of liquid on top. Thirty-five years in France has liberated me from the middle-class obsession with aristocratic table manners. Real French eating is regional, and peasant-based.”

35km to go: There are few people by the road, as by local decree in the wake of the Covid crisis. And the word is they will not be on the Grand Colombier either. Herrada, having briefly reintroduced himself to Rolland and Gogl, has dropped back 20 seconds. Jumbo-Visma’s Sky-esque train continues to lead the peloton down the Col de la Biche descent.

40km to go: Rolland allows Gogl to come alongside him. Both realise they will not be staying away until the end and allow Herrada to join them once more. The gap is dropping below 90 seconds.

Paul Griffin has been in touch: “Herrada; Geschke; Rolland: a remarkably unsuccessful US song-writing trio. In the style of Motown’s iconic Lamont-Dozier-Holland, but the overly prosaic lyrics were a fatal flaw. ‘I heard it through the headphones’; ‘This old colon of mine’; and the execrable ‘Stand in the vicinity of me,’ all failed to chart.”

Tour de France™

🇦🇹 @MichaelGogl as 🇪🇸 @jesushl90 have both managed to rejoin 🇫🇷 @PierroooRolland at the head of the race and count a 1’36” lead over the peloton.

🇦🇹 @MichaelGogl et 🇪🇸 @jesushl90 ont rejoint 🇫🇷 @PierroooRolland en tête de course. Plus qu’1’36” d’avance sur le peloton. #TDF2020 pic.twitter.com/EORcaUa1nf

September 13, 2020


45km to go: Rolland rides away from Herrada and Geschke, who look cooked. The Frenchman chases down Gogl and gets to him too. Herrada at least stays in the chase while Geschke drops back. Rolland goes over the Col de la Biche to take the mountain points.

The peloton is closing the gap slowly on all those trying to stay away for the day. Jumbo-Visma continue to control the peloton but powder is being kept dry for the Colombier. Thibaut Pinot won’t be involved in the chase at the end of the stage; he’s gone off the back, shaking his head at his lack of capability of challenging. Further woes for Ineos: Pavel Sivakov is off the back. Bernal is going to be very isolated on the final climb. Michał Kwiatkowski may end up being his sole helper. Jumbo-Visma have six people in the peloton.

News of the retired Sergio Higuita: he has a broken wrist and finger, and crashed on a roundabout when he couldn’t use his brakes. Thanks a lot, Bob Jungels.

50km to go: The descent is not very long, as the Cole de la Biche beckons, all 6.9km of it. Gogl has to stand up from the saddle to power himself along, and this is a far higher climb than the previous category one. He’s got 28 seconds on the rest of the rump of the initial breakaway. Further bad news for Ineos? Michał Kwiatkowski is at the team car and seems to have a problem with his hand. Gogl, now the clear leader, has almost a minute on the three he went over the previous climb with.

55km to go: Not sure this break has long for this world. Jumbo-Visma have kept the pedal on the metal, and are eating into Ineos as well, too. News from the back is that Sagan is ahead of Sam Bennett by 30 seconds or so. All Bennett needs to do is hang on. The descent is quick and looks dangerous, whipping along country lanes but the next descent is far more dangerous. Gogl is flying along the bends.

60km to go: The breakaway is down to under three minutes as the descent begins. Bernal is sat at the back of the peloton with only Michał Kwiatkowski of his Team Ineos for company.

On with the airport discussion with Simon Carr-Ellison: “A few years ago there was a banner put up at Cooperstown-Westville airport in upstate New York “Celebrating 50 years of relatively safe flying”.”

63km to go: Rolland, Geschke and Herrada are being chased by Michael Gogl, who is burying himself to get back on; and he makes it too. He’s ten seconds off the leaders with the peloton 3’ 41” behind. A few Ineos riders are dropping back as Jumbo-Visma push on. Can Ineos be cracked on the first climb? Pogacar looks very strong too. Carapaz, who had that prang before, has dropped off for Ineos. Bernal could be isolated. Herrada takes the mountain points at the top, with Rolland in second. Gogl, despite his efforts, could not take the maximum points to challenge Cosnefroy, who is at the back of the field.

Tour de France™

🇦🇹@MichaelGogl has managed to join the leading trio with a huge effort!

Énorme effort de 🇦🇹@MichaelGogl pour rejoindre le trio de tête !#TDF2020 pic.twitter.com/BKgU1ol3NF

September 13, 2020

65 km to go: The finish to this initial climb has a 22 percent gradient, and Trentin continues to tow the leading group along before then dropping off as Simon Geschke, a fellow CCC rider to Trentin breaks clear with Pierre Rolland for company. Bonifazio has been spat out down the hill. Jesus Herrada of Cofidis joins Geschke and Rolland. All three are previous stage winners at Grand Tours. Luke Rowe, Team Ineos’ road captain, is off the back of the peloton which is still a big group. The end of this climb is indeed a grim gradient and the leading trio are crawling up. Tejay van Garderen is an early casualty of this first climb.


70km to go: There are 2km between the breakaway and peloton. Trentin continues to lead the way up at the front. Bryan Coquard is dropped, and a little early. So too Sam Bennett and Julian Alaphilippe, the latter somewhat surprisingly. Here are the early signs of a grupetto, or l’autobus if you will. Peter Sagan is also sat up, having failed to get points from Bennett.

More on airports from John S: “Will Rogers Intl airport in Oklahoma City. Named for the Western actor/author. Died in a plane crash. Another small airport nearby named after another person killed in that crash.”


75km to go: Cosnefroy, in the polka dot jersey, takes on some gels for his teammates as he prepares to try and win some points. The Montée de la Selle de Fromentel is upon and is a climb of 11km. Matteo Trentin takes on the early pace in the breakaway, shirt open in the style of Ted Stryker in a disco. He even has a medallion.

This is what awaits at the end.


September 13, 2020


80km to go: A couple of Ineos riders stop for a comfort break. Everyone is getting their ducks in a row ahead of the climbs to come.

Anthony gets in touch: “Bonjour! On the airports, Denver Airport being named after John Denver seems a little harsh? I’ll get my “manteau”.”

90km to go: They are going a reasonable lick with Jumbo-Visma followed by Team Ineos at the front of the peloton as they chase down the breakaway group. This period of the race feels a little neutralised. The first big climb awaits in 20 km or so.

95km to go: The breakaway is 4’ 20” or so clear. A reminder of its personnel: Kévin Ledanois (Arkéa-Samsic), Simon Geschke and Matteo Trentin (CCC Team), Jesús Herrada (Cofidis), Marco Marcato (UAE Team Emirates), Niccolo Bonifazio (Total-Direct Energie), Michael Gogl (NTT Pro Cycling) and Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept).

Nick Wurr joins the airport discussion. “Francisco Sá Carneiro airport in Porto is named after a politician who was killed in an air crash.”

100km to go: The breakaway group are on the first climb, a category one, the Montée de la Selle de Fromentel. That dips down to the Col de la Biche. At the back, the likes of Caleb Ewan are dropping off to form the grupetto who will cling on to each other and try within the time limit. Tony Martin is leading Jumbo-Visma, with Roglic sat pretty, up the road.

113km to go: Trentin takes the intermediate sprint and 20 seconds up in the breakaway group. The battle is back in the peloton for a single point. Bora tried to lead out Sagan, Bennett sits off him and takes two points off Sagan by winning the sprint. The Irishman has much the better form in the sprints. Job done for Bennett.

Hugo Hofstetter is being treated by the medic after his previous fall. His left knee is badly gashed.

Tour de France™

It’s 🇮🇹 @MATTEOTRENTIN who beats countryman @Bonifazio_993 to the Intermediate Sprint. They are 3’03” ahead of the peloton.

C’est 🇮🇹 @MATTEOTRENTIN qui remporte le Sprint Intermédiaire devant 🇮🇹 @Bonifazio_993.

L’écart entre l’échappée et le peloton est de 3’03”.#TDF2020 pic.twitter.com/jeqSV7bH1G

September 13, 2020

Tour de France™

💚 Battle between @Sammmy_Be and @petosagan at the intermediate sprint. Advantage Bennett today.

💚 Avantage Bennett au sprint intermédiaire du jour. #TDF2020 #TDFunited pic.twitter.com/HHSbFwPz7k

September 13, 2020


120km to go: Oh no, another crash. Hugo Hofstetter, the Team Israel sprinter, is down as is Richard Carapaz of Team Ineos. That’s caused by the peloton relaxing and slowing down. Carapaz is one of those who Egan Bernal will want to guide him up the later climbs. He’s got a graze all the way down his arm but he’s OK to continue. Hofstetter’s knees took the pain and look a little bloodied.

Tour de France™

🚴 The peloton now trails by over 1′ with 127km left to ride.

🚴 Écart supérieur à la minute pour les 8 hommes de tête : 1’07”.#TDF2020 pic.twitter.com/aKDfTAgBEd

September 13, 2020

130km to go: Dave in Ireland gets in touch, presumably about that video: John, Nice to see you are watching the TDF with Irish language commentary. I find it highly meditative. Mind you, I do speak it.”

Oddly, that account follows me on Twitter, and I have little idea why. The same goes for Mark Lanegan, whose music I am not too familiar with though his recent book was a great read. And yet he follows me. Macclesfield and Seattle maybe have a similar ethic.

Sad news: Higuita has abandoned. He followed that Jungels take-out by smashing into a roundabout which suggests there was some concussion involved, though that is not confirmed. He certainly seemed to bang his head. After Bardet’s fall and withdrawal two days ago, the question of concussion has become a leading plotline of the Tour. This is the breakaway group. They seem highly likely to stay away. The peloton is not pushing on to chase them.

Tour de France™

September 13, 2020


140km to go: Ok, we have a break. It’s only about 20 seconds clear, and it’s eight men, including Matteo Trentin and Pierre Rolland. Bob Jungels is after them but not gaining much ground. This looks likely to stay away for a while, at least until the hills come.

Adam Yates spoke to the BBC about this stage, and this was his description.

Whether the winner will come from the breakaway or be a GC contender will all depend on how big the break is – there’s a lot of flat before the climbs begin. We reconned the Grand Colombier climb between the Dauphine and the Tour – the thing that stands out is the length. The intensity of the day will depend on who wants to take it up.

Pierre Rolland and Kevin Ledanois lead the breakaway.

Pierre Rolland and Kevin Ledanois lead the breakaway. Photograph: Stéphane Mahé/Reuters


150km to go: The breakaway attempts come and go with Pierre Rolland making another bid to lead one away.

Meanwhile, here’s that Higuita incident.

Spórt TG4

Ouch!!! 😬😵

Sergio Higuita i ndiaidh titim chun talaimh!

Fall for Higuita but he’s back on the bike 💪#TDF2020 pic.twitter.com/aj01g85M8E

September 13, 2020

155km to go: Sagan and Bennett locked together at the front. Sagan tries to break away and they are at the front. Bennett looking cool and Sagan somewhat harried. They eventually sink back into the field as others try to go off at the front. Higuita is back in the peloton. Ben Hermans is the latest to try his luck in a breakaway.

Justin Horton has been in touch: “I notice that Lyon’s airport is named after Antoine Saint-Exupery, who is most famous for writing a story about a plane crash. I wonder if any other airport in the world is similarly honoured.”

160km to go: This has not been made easy for anyone looking to sit off the back and idle before the mountains arrive. Mitchelton-Scott try and force a break to help propel Adam Yates for a possible stage win. Jumbo-Visma don’t like that and close it down. And there’s a nasty fall. Oh no. Bob Jungels comes across and Sergio Higuita is down. He looks hurt and is remounting after a spell of licking his wounds on the floor. No apology from Jungels. Poor form. Higuita cycles alongside the medics’ ambulance and faces a long day ahead when he had been flying at the front.


165km to go: Jerome Cousin and Pierre Rolland take up the cudgels and start a breakaway. And are joined by Matteo Trentin as a 12-man group forms that includes Peter Sagan and Sam Bennett, with points on the board for the intermediate sprint. The contenders for the green jersey are at close quarters. Also in the group is Benoît Cosnefroy, the king of the mountains classification leader, but they can’t stay away.

Julian Alaphilippe takes it up and leads the field. He is looking for decent company for the breakaway. He clearly fancies staying out front for the day but is struggling to form a group. It isn’t really happening.

Le départ

The peloton goes past Olympique Lyonnais’ stadium which I can tell you is nowhere near Lyon. It’s home to the current and multiple Women’s Champions League winners, and also the men’s team that forced Pep Guardiola into a brainfart last month in Lisbon. And they are off. François Lemarchand, still standing in for Christian Prudhomme waves them off.

The départ réel is 8km away as the riders takes in a tour of Lyon, the gastronomic capital of, well, the world. It’s a very lovely city.


PS – the side of “Golet” de la Biche that the Tour descends before climbing Grand Colombier is hyper steep. with some very sharp hairpins. It debuted in the Tour in 2017 (they climbed the side being descended). #TDF2020 pic.twitter.com/IlxHMJgiIs

September 13, 2020



It looks likely to be a Slovenian September at this rearranged Tour. If Primoz Roglic is the strongest man around then Tadej Pogacar has announced himself as the face of the future. Had he not been caught out by echelons on the first Friday then he might be challenging his compatriot even harder for the yellow jersey. And that’s bad news for Egan Bernal, who cracked somewhat on the second Friday. All three made it through Saturday’s chase into Lyon but here is a classic Sunday stage.

A 17-kilometre hors-catégorie summit finish on the Grand Colombier will further splinter the field. The stage also features a descent at Col de la Biche, which you may remember from 2017 was the scene of a spectacular crash involving Geraint Thomas.

William Fotheringham described it thus in his pre-Tour guide.

Stage 15, 13 September, Lyon – Grand Colombier, 175km

A super-category uphill finish on a super-steep climb in the southern Jura; this is where GC riders such as Egan Bernal or Primoz Roglic will have to show what they have left. The concentrated climbing in the final 80km will make it difficult for a break to succeed so an overall contender such as Bernal might win here.

Tour de France™

🏆 Jerseys and rankings after stage 14 🏆

🏆 Maillots distinctifs et classements après l’étape 14 🏆#TDF2020 #TDFunited pic.twitter.com/BHLdfLE9HT

September 12, 2020


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