Tour de France (st. 15)
Landa, Quintana, Valverde finish inside GC group at Carcassonne as Bennati (13th), Soler, Erviti join another massive, winning breakaway, led home by Danish sprinter Magnus Cort Nielsen (AST).
The Dane Magnus Cort Nielsen (AST) took to fruition a long, crowded, much-fought breakaway on stage 15 of the 2018 Tour de France, covering 181km under intense wind gusts and over three categorized climbs, most notably featuring the Pic de Nore (Cat-1). The 32-rider group included three riders from the Movistar Team, with Daniele Bennati -13th, almost three minutes behind the day’s victor-, Imanol Erviti and Marc Soler.
Mikel Landa and Nairo Quintana, well covered by Alejandro Valverde and Andrey Amador, completed the stage with no incidents and finished inside the main peloton, 13 minutes behind the leading group. The Basque and the Colombian are still in 6th and 8th overall -with ‘Bala’ in 11th- of a race where the Telefónica-backed squad paid a visit to the podium after today’s racing as leaders of the team competition.
The ‘Grande Boucle’ will tackle its final rest day on Monday -the Movistar Team staying in Narbonne- before three fearsome stages in the Pyrenees, with a flat route between them on Thursday, and a decisive ITT in the French Basque Country on Saturday before reaching Paris in barely seven days’ time.
Mikel Landa: “I did really suffer less today than in previous stages – I felt better after another bad day with my back on Saturday. I was so excited to see this final rest day coming, becaue it means I can finally recover well and, hopefully, return to the level I expected to show here before the start. Following my crash in Roubaix, I had to tackle the three Alps stages with those blows still hurting – you never recover that well when you’re under pain, you’ve got to cope with those little things, that pain which annoys you and keeps you from riding at your maximum level. It is what it is. However, I’m really willing to do well on the final week. It will be beautiful to race in front of my home crowds, on roads I know pretty well, and I’ll give it my all. Let’s hope we can get to the podium – it isn’t really that far away, even if it seems to, because the Pyrenees can change many things in this race. We’re all so much tired, and there’s many tough stages still to go. Sky has proven to be really strong so far, but you never know.”
Nairo Quintana: “It wasn’t one of our best weeks. We lost time on our terrain, which isn’t good. But still, we remain hopeful and convinced that, in this third, final week, we can put a good end to the race, see our body responding well to the efforts – I’ve always tended to do well in the final days of the Tour de France – and also see our rivals, hoping that some of them pay from the long racing schedule after also tackling the Giro, struggle at some point, so we can take advantage.”
- 01 Magnus Cort Nielsen Astana Pro Team 4h25'52"
- 02 Ion Izagirre Bahrain-Merida "
- 03 Bauke Mollema Trek-Segafredo +2"
- 13 Daniele Bennati Movistar Team +2'31"
- 24 Marc Soler Movistar Team +6'07"
- 26 Imanol Erviti Movistar Team +8'13"
- 39 Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team +13'11"
- 42 Mikel Landa Movistar Team "
- 59 Nairo Quintana Movistar Team "
- 65 Andrey Amador Movistar Team "
- 01 Geraint Thomas Team Sky 62h49'47"
- 02 Chris Froome Team Sky +1'39"
- 03 Tom Dumoulin Team Sunweb +1'50"
- 06 Mikel Landa Movistar Team +3'42"
- 08 Nairo Quintana Movistar Team +4'23"
- 11 Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team +9'36"
- 49 Andrey Amador Movistar Team +1h09'56"
- 80 Imanol Erviti Movistar Team +1h40'32"
- 81 Marc Soler Movistar Team +1h41'00"
- 115 Daniele Bennati Movistar Team +2h02'09"