Yates doubles up as Thomas closes gap in Tour de France
Cycling Road

Yates doubles up as Thomas closes gap in Tour de France

21 July 2019 / 15:34
Simon Yates continued his excellent Tour de France as he claimed a second victory on a thrilling stage in the Pyrenees.

Yates followed up his success in Bagnères de Bigorre by claiming the summit finish at Foix Prat d’Albis as part of the breakaway.

And on a stage where there was action throughout, the 2018 Vuelta champion again showed his class as he held off the chasing general classification riders to take the win.

He said: “I’m very proud of what I did there. It was an extremely hard day, from the start until the finish. I raced the way I like to which is trying to be aggressive, and I managed to pull it off so I’m really happy.

“I was worried that they were catching me. At the bottom of the climb I had Simon (Geschke) with me. He was a really good companion all the way through the valley and on the descent, he did a really good job. I really needed to go at that point because I wasn’t confident of staying away.”

Stage 15 also saw overall leader Julian Alaphilippe show signs of weakness for the first time, losing ground on the rest of his rivals.

Geraint Thomas took advantage to pull back 27 seconds, and remains in second place, 1m 35s behind the yellow jersey.

He could have made more ground, but found himself in a tricky position with teammate Egan Bernal up the road with the stage runner-up Thibaut Pinot, while Thomas was in a group with Alaphilippe himself.

Despite that, last year’s champion was pleased at the way his legs responded, a day after he had lost ground on the rest of the contenders.

He said: “I felt better than yesterday but I needed to just try to pace it when it all kicked off. It was kind of a shame because we got stuck behind Alaphilippe and we didn’t want to pull with him in the wheel.

“We let him ride a bit and jumped with 2k to go. I wanted to go and had the legs to go but I wasn’t going to chase down Egan (Bernal) with the guys in the wheel. It was a decent day.”

The riders will enjoy a rest day on Monday before a flat stage in Nîmes, with three big Alpine tests to come at the end of the week.

Sportsbeat 2019