As the first two weeks of Le Tour de France 2015 come to an end, here is an overview on what has happened and which scenarios could possibly evolve on the Alps.

Tour de France, week 1: the cursed Maillot Jaune

Daniel Martin conquered the first yellow jersey after winning the time trial prologue of Tour de France 2015. The day after Fabian Cancellara sprinted for 3rd place (Greipel 1st) and became the leader of the race. Nevertheless he was forced to abandon the race after stage 3 (Anvers-Huy) because of a huge crash in the group. Purito Rodriguez won on Mur de Huy followed by Chris Froome, who dressed yellow the next day.

After chasing the leader’s jersey for 3 days, finally Tony Martin got it in Cambrai with a great solo win. Day 5 of Tour de France was disastrous for french hopes Nacer Bouhanni, as he retired, while Andre Greipel snatched his second win and kept hold of the green jersey. Stage 6 was all about Etixx-Quick Step: Stybar shined in Le Havre, while Tour de France leader Tony Martin fell off his bike (Vincenzo Nibali involved) and was escorted by his teammates to the finish line. Froome decided not to wear yellow the next day. He confirmed his leadership in Fougeres, where compatriot Mark Cavendish arrived 1st (26th win at Tour de France).

Week 1 ended with Mur de Bretagne and the team time trial. On Mur de Bretagne Alexis Vuillermoz achieved stage victory (1st french in 2015), where Vincenzo Nibali lost 10″ from the best due to bad physical conditions after the crash in Le Havre. The team time trial was won by BMC Racing Team by less than 1″ over Team Sky. All but Tejay Van Garderen lost time to Froome.

Special mentions go to Daniel Teklehaimanot, Peter Sagan and Ivan Basso. Teklehaimanot (born in Eritrea) became the first African rider to wear the Polka-dot jersey. Peter Sagan constantly finished in the top 10, this way earning the white and the green jersey. Last but not least former Giro d’Italia winner Ivan Basso was diagnosed a testicle cancer and retired from the race.

Tour de France, week 2: Froome’s legacy

Stage 10 had Chris Froome breaking Tour de France’s record for best lead ever after 10 days. On the first Pyrenees climb the yellow jersey left everyone behind him and gained over 1′ on all of his rivals. General classification radically changed: Van Garderen +2’52”, Quintana +3’09”, Contador +4’04”, Nibali +6’57”. Out of the contest Pinot, Peraud, Rodriguez, Uran. The Pyrenees then hosted Rafal Majka breakaway victory, while behind him Nibali, Uran and Rodriguez lost more time to Froome (another +50″). Purito Rodriguez managed to redeem himself by seizing the victory at Plateu de Beille. On day 13 Peter Sagan had a great chance to make it a victory, but couldn’t overcome belgian Greg Van Avermaet at the sprint.

In Mende frenchmen Pinot and Bardet were ripped of by Cummings, who gained the 1st Tour de France win for an African team in Nelson Mandela day. Nibali lost another couple of seconds to Froome, as he sprinted to gain 1″ over Quintana after looking like suffering during the last hill of the stage. Then it was Greipel’s turn again: the german sprinter made it 3 wins in 2015 Tour de France in Valence. Week 2 came to a close with Plaza Molina’s triumph in Gap, followed by (guess who?) Peter Sagan. The Tinkoff-Saxo man got his 11th top 5 finish in 16 stages in the 2015 Tour de France. Vincenzo Nibali put up an effort to gain back 28″ over Froome, while behind him during the final descent Geraint Thomas was involved in a scary accident. Barguil misread a curve and went into Thomas, who hit a lamp post and fell in the woods with no consequences luckily.

Tour de France, Week 3: what to expect?

Surely Chris Froome is the great favourite to win the Tour de France in Paris, but there are 5 more stages that could mix up the general classification. We can expect moves from unsatisfied riders such as Vincenzo Nibali and Purito Rodriguez: the Shark is 7’49” late but his physical conditions are improving day after day: a top 5 finish and/or a stage victory would be a great achievement for how his Tour started. Purito Rodriguez is way back and there will be no resistance if he decides to attack to try and win his 3rd stage. Nairo Quintana and Alberto Contador are awaited to attack Chris Froome’s yellow jersey. Tejay Van Garderen, Geraint Thomas and Robert Gesink will likely fall back after a great Tour de France start. Final stage towards Paris Champs-Elysees is going to be Andre Greipel’s chance for 4th win or it could be (finally) Peter Sagan’s 1st.

 

 

photo credit: Photo credit: jvanattenhoven / Foter / CC BY-ND (Attribution Required, No Modifications, Commercial Use OK)

photo link: https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3697/9302183572_c600742355_o.jpg

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Thomas Pullin

Thomas Pullin