Saturday, 18 July 2015
#TDF2015: Greg Van Avermaet holds off Sagan/ Mende's tough finish today
Stage 13: top 23 at Rodez headed by Greg Van Avermaet
After Stage 13: overall standings
In the short steep finishing climb in Rodez Greg Van Avermaet held off Peter Sagan to take his first stage win in the Tour de France. Once again Sagan has lost out on a Tour Stage victory as this is the 15th time he has been second. When he took his 4th Tour Stage victory in 2013 in Albi the odds would have been long that Sagan would not have won a single stage since then. See list of overall stage winners here. He does have the consolation of now having a pretty firm grip on the Green jersey with a 24 point lead on André Griepel, who was dropped some way from the finish, although André had briefly and provisonally got the jersey back by one point following the intermediate sprint.
Overall there was no change with all the leading contenders coming in together a few seconds behind Van Avermaet.
The day's long breakaway nearly held out with the last three riders only caught on the climb to the finish.
Stage 14: Rodez to Mende 178.5 kms
Stage 14 is another challenging transitional stage with a tougher finish than yesterday's finish in Rodez. The riders have to climb the 3 kilometre Côte de la Croix Neuve that has a steady average gradient of 10%. From the top it is then 1.5 kilometre drag to the finish.
Today looks to be a more promising stage for GC riders to put Sky and Chris Froome under pressure over the very lumpy last 40 kms of the stage. Yesterday Sky had a relatively easy ride as Giant-Alpecin and Tinkoff-Saxo did most of the chasing on the front of the peloton tring to catch the breakaway.
Météo France forecasting violent storms
this afternoon in parts of Southern France
Race in area – 29 G
It is going to be another hot day but with storms forecast during the afternoon, which could make the descents in the final part of the stage very tricky. Hope all the riders come through safely.
I expect to see some of the GC riders lose at least a little time today on the Côte de la Croix Neuve. Who?