2021 Tour de France S15: Super lieutenant fires freely ! Sepp Kuss bravely rushes to the mountains to win the stage.
On July 11, the 15th stage of the Tour de France ended. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo–Visma) fired freely at the final level 1 climb, launched an attack by surprise, scored the climb point and maintained the lead before the finish, winning his first Tour de France championship. The GC cyclists failed to attack, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) continued to occupy the top spot, and Rigoberto Urán (EF Education-Nippo) returned to the second place.
As the last day of the second stage, the fifteenth stage is a difficult mountain stage. The track is 191.3km in length, starting from the territory of France and finally reaching the end point in Andorra. This stage includes a grade 2 slope (5.8km, 4.7%), three grade 1 slopes (8.4km, 5.7%; 10.7km, 5.9%; 6.4km, 8.5%) and a sprint point on the way. The first half of the game is an undulating road and a gentle upward slope with relatively low difficulty. Among them, the most difficult part is the 114km to 146km uphill slope after the start. Cyclists need to conquer the continuous gentle ascent and the second and first grade slopes that follow. I believe this game will be very exciting, after all, the next day is a rest day.
Today’s battle was extremely fierce. At the beginning of the game, Michael Woods (Israel Start–Up Nation), who wore a polka dot jersey for the first time, launched an offensive. Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) led the team to pursue, Vincenzo Nibali (Trek–Segafredo), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) and others also joined the battle. Just 5km from the start, Thomas De Gendt attacked again. This time he successfully opened the gap with the main group. Behind him is a chasing group composed of cyclists such as Daniel Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma). Cyclists such as Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) in the main group are still actively attacking and creating more breakthrough opportunities.
Soon after, Thomas De Gendt was caught up and an eight-man breakout group formed. 25km after the start of the race, the front group of eight is Thomas De Gendt, Daniel Martin, Steven Kruijswijk, Julien Bernard (Trek–Segafredo), Ruben Guerreiro (EF Education-Nippo), Aurelien Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroën), Dylan Teuns (Bahrain) Victorious) and Sergio Luis Henao (Qhubeka Assos), they are 30 seconds ahead of the chasing group behind them, and 1 minute and 30 seconds ahead of the main group. Among them, the chasing group is aggressive, including Julian Alaphilippe, Wout Van Aert, Vincenzo Nibali, Kenny Elissonde (Trek–Segafredo), Alejandro Valverde, Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas, Dylan van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers), Michael Woods, Quintana Poels, etc. The high-speed trains inside are running at full force and begin to narrow the time gap with the breakout group.
After all, after the breakout cyclists have won the stage championships many times, the cyclists obviously want to try their luck again. So 35km after the start of the race, the front cyclists merged into a 32-person breakout group. Classical masters such as Julian Alaphilippe, Wout Van Aert, etc. want to win the stage once again, and Michael Woods, Nairo Quintana, and Wout Poels will regroup. The battle for the climbing polka dot jersey is ignited, and a good show is about to be staged.
The breakout cyclists didn't seem to want so many competitors around to start attacking each other and the group split, but they soon reunited under the efforts of the FDJ team. The main group in the rear gave up the pursuit early. 50km after the start of the race, the UAE Team Emirates led the main group to a stable riding rhythm behind by 5 minutes and 50 seconds. Coming to the sprint point on the way, Michael Matthews and Thomas De Gendt in the breakout group brought us a small sprint duel. Michael Matthews took the lead to cross the line. So far, the sprinter in this stage has completed the task and can be in the closing time. Completing the game before is a victory. The main group was 8 minutes and 45 seconds behind Michael Matthews and passed the sprint point on the way. Nacer Bouhanni retired with an injury. Only three of the Arkea-Samsic team remained in this Tour de France.
▲The competition entered the first level 1 climb, Mark Cavendish and others began to fall behind
The three cyclists of the FDJ team continued to lead the breakout group. When there was still 500m away from the climbing point, Thomas De Gendt opened fire, Wout Poels attacked, Michael Woods followed, and Wout Van Aert also accelerated. At the first level 1 climbing point, Wout Poels held the advantage and crossed the line first. Wout Van Aert passed Michael Woods to get second, and Michael Woods was third. At this time, Wout Poels was only 1 climbing point away to tie Michael Woods. The situation became open. Entering the downhill section, Thomas De Gendt continued to accelerate, catching up with Wout Poels, Michael Woods and Wout Van Aert in front of him. The four persisted for a while before returning to the breakout group. In the last 100km, the main group was behind by 9 minutes and 20 seconds.
▲The temperature is hot, the consumption of cyclists is huge, and the hard-working "waterman" is needed to supply the team
Coming to the level 2 climbing in the competition, the FDJ and UAE Team Emirates teams are the leaders of the breakout group and the main group respectively, maintaining their own riding rhythms and slowly climbing. At 200m away from the climbing point, Wout Poels unexpectedly launched an offense. Wout Van Aert watched the change and surpassed Wout Poels with a stronger climbing sprint. He successfully won the climbing point first, Wout Poels second, and Michael Woods third. . At this point, Wout Poels' climbing points have risen to 62 points, which is the same as Michael Woods. At the rear, the main group, Ineos Grenadiers and Movistar team took over the lead position during the climb and began to accelerate the pursuit, quickly shortening the time gap.
The breakout group will soon enter the next level 1 climb, and they will launch an impact towards the highest point of this Tour de France. In the fierce competition, many cyclists from both groups were left behind. The champion Bauke Mollema of the previous stage seemed to have suffered a mechanical failure and fell out of the main group with an abnormally high cadence, and almost staged a famous scene again. With 3km away from the climbing point, the lead of the breakout group dropped to 6 minutes and 45 seconds. The Trek-Segafredo team led Vincenzo Nibali with all their strength ahead. Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas and Dylan van Baarle received instructions from the team to exit the breakout and waited. The next move of the leader of the rear group.
With 2km away from the top of the mountain, Michael Woods, Nairo Quintana, Vincenzo Nibali, Ruben Guerreiro, Julian Alaphilippe, Alejandro Valverde and others rushed to the forefront of the group. Nairo Quintana saw the right time to accelerate the attack, and instantly opened the gap with the rear bicycles and began to single. Flying attack slope. Nairo Quintana successfully scored the level 1 climbing point, Wout Van Aert accelerated and took the second place, Wout Poels third, and Michael Woods fourth. The battle for climbing points was fierce.
Under the strong leadership of the Ineos Grenadiers mountain train, the main group was greatly reduced. Tadej Pogacar had no lieutenant by his side and followed closely behind the three of the Ineos Grenadiers team. Michał Kwiatkowski fell behind after completing the mission. Geraint Thomas became the locomotive and continued to lead Richard Carapaz. In front of them were two teammates, Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas and Dylan van Baarle. Can the Ineos Grenadiers' aerial refueling tactics shoot down Tadej Pogacar on a mountain climb? We will wait and see.
With 32km from the finish line, Nairo Quintana was chased back, leaving only 17 people in the front breakout group. Cyclists are speeding down the three-lane road, the Ineos Grenadiers team retracts the tanker in front, and Richard Carapaz will compete with Tadej Pogacar for the final level 1 climb under the leadership of the three lieutenants. In the last 21km, the game entered a level 1 climbing decisive battle. Nairo Quintana accelerated the attack several times and screened the breakout group several waves. Wout Poels and Wout Van Aert were left behind.
After several powerful attacks, Nairo Quintana finally burst himself and fell out of the breakout group. David Gaudu (FDJ) took advantage of the trend and continued with Vincenzo Nibali, Michael Woods, Julian Alaphilippe, Alejandro Valverde and others. At this time, the "super lieutenant" Sepp Kuss of the Jumbo-Visma team got the opportunity to fire freely and attacked at a distance of 5km from the climb point. Alejandro Valverde tried to keep up, but was accelerated again by Sepp Kuss.
When the yellow jersey group was 20km away from the finish line, Richard Carapaz ran out of wingmen and immediately launched an attack. Tadej Pogacar responded quickly, followed by Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo–Visma) and Rigoberto Urán (EF Education-Nippo). Four GC bikes The hands began to fight close to the body. From the climbing point 2.5km, Sepp Kuss solo led Alejandro Valverde by 25 seconds, and both of them gritted their teeth alone on the climbing section.
The GC battle continued. Tadej Pogacar got up and shook his car after a few corners and rushed in front of the group. Jonas Vingegaard launched an attack when he saw it, but failed to get rid of Tadej Pogacar, Richard Carapaz and Rigoberto Urán behind him. A few hundred meters later, Jonas Vingegaard accelerated again, then Rigoberto Urán attacked, Richard Carapaz also attacked, but none of these GC cyclists could kill each other, even Enric Mas (Movistar), Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe), Ben O'Connor (AG2R Citroën) and others also recovered the yellow jersey group between the offensive.
Sepp Kuss led Alejandro Valverde by 20 seconds and passed the final level 1 climbing point. There was almost only a downhill section between him and the finish line. Alejandro Valverde passed the climb point second, Wout Poels third, Nairo Quintana fourth, and Bauke Mollema fifth. At this point, Wout Poels' climbing points surpassed Michael Woods by 8 points, and he will wear the climbing polka dot jersey again after the game. Tadej Pogacar accelerated a little before the climbing point arrived, and the Yellow Jersey Group fell behind Sepp Kuss by 5 minutes and 30 seconds.
Sepp Kuss led Alejandro Valverde by 25 seconds into the final 3km, and the winning ticket was in hand. In the end, Sepp Kuss lived up to expectations. Before Anzhen came to the finish line, he threw off his cycling glasses to celebrate the victory and ushered in his first Tour de France championship. Veteran Alejandro Valverde crossed the line 23 seconds behind, finishing second in the stage. Wout Poels trailed by 1 minute and 15 seconds to finish third on the stage. The Yellow jersey Group caught up with Wout Van Aert before the finish line, and the GC cyclists crossed the line harmoniously without any loss to each other.
After the stage, Tadej Pogacar retained the yellow jersey and the best young cyclist white jersey. Mark Cavendish continued to wear the sprint green jersey. Wout Poels returned to the top of the climbing standings and regained the climbing polka dot jersey from Michael Woods. . Wout Van Aert won the Combativity award for the stage.