Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) won his second stage at the 2019 Tour de France win an impressive victory in Stage 15 at Foix Prat d’Albis in the Eastern Pyrenees.
Yates won Stage 12 when the race finally reached the mountain stages at Bagneres-de-Bigorre in the Pyrenees. He leaves the Pyrenees with bookend stage victories.
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) show his first signs of cracking during the final stage in the Pyrenees Mountains. The Frenchman retained his yellow jersey and the overall lead in the GC. However, he allowed Geraint Thomas, Thibaut Pinot, and Bernal Egan to gain significant ground.
Stage 14 winner, Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), finished second overall with a sensational back-to-back performance. Pinot moved into fourth overall a day after his epic ascent to the top of Tourmalet.
STAGE 15 RESULTS:
Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) 4:47:04
Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) +0:33
Mikel Landa (Movistar) +0:33
Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) +0:51
Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos), who cracked the day before toward the final stretch of Tourmalet, had a much stronger finish at Foix Prat d’Albis. Thomas shaved off a half-minute of time. He’s still in second place, but only back 1:35 with the Alps looming.
Steve Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) had had a quiet race without any stage wins, but he’s been hanging onto third place. He also picked up nearly thirty seconds on Alaphilippe.
Egan Bernal picked up nearly a minute on Alaphilippe. He’s only 2:02 behind, but got leapfrogged by Pinot.
Stage 15: Limoux > Foix Prat d’Albis
The final mountain stage in the Pyrenees featured a 185 km ride from Limoux to Foix Prat d’Albis that had no shortage of castles in the background.
Stage 15 ended with a steep climb up Mur de Peguere. It ended with another summit finish up top Prat d’Albis overlooking Foix.
Mikel Landa broke away with Andrey Amador and Marc Soler, while Simon Yates and Simon Geschke followed.
With 9 km remaining, Yates made his move. With 6 km to go, Thibault Pinout attacked. He dusted his pack that included Alaphilippe, Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal.
In the final 3 km ascent to Prat d’Albis, Alaphilippe had cracked. Bernal gave chase to Yates and Pinout while Thomas pulled away from the yellow jersey leader.
“It was an extremely hard day, really from the start to the finish,” said Yates. “I raced the way I like to, try to be aggressive, and I managed to pull it off. I’m really happy.”
Yates rode to victory and Pinot finished in second overall. Bernal tied for fourth and picked up a full minute on Alaphilippe.
On Deck: Monday Rest Day
Action the Pyrenees is complete. The GC get a rare rest day before five stages in the Alps before concluding next Sunday in Paris.
Bernal slipped to fifth overall, but the young rider picked up almost a minute on Alaphilippe.
After winning Stage 14 and finishing second in Stage 15, Thibaut Pinot jumped into fourth overall. Pinot is now only 1:50 off the lead.
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) 61:00:22
Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) +1:35
Steve Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) +1:47
Thubaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) +1:50
Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) +2:02
A Frenchman has not won the Tour de France since Bernard Hinault in 1985.
No one really thought France had a shot this year with all eyes on Thomas and Bernal from Team Ineos. But if a Frenchman made a run, the oddsmakers and prognosticators thought Thibaut Pinot had the best chance. He’s less than two minutes off the lead. Heading into the Alps, France’s hopes are riding on the leader and fourth overall.
“It’s one more day in yellow, I’m happy,” said Alaphilippe. “It was my goal to keep the yellow. I’m really happy I still have it for the rest day and the next stage, but it will be a really hard last week. I just want to enjoy.”