• Bauke Mollema and Magnus Cort Nielsen go head to head (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Another breakaway battle as Dan Martin was the only one to have a go behind. It's getting down to the pointy end and plenty of teams need to make a move up the Rankings soon, or risk getting stuck near the bottom.
By
Cycling Central

23 Jul 2018 - 9:22 AM 

It's often a tough task to tell at a glance which teams are doing well at the Tour de France, there are 22 of them going around France, each with their own objectives and strengths. 

So borrowing a tool from other sports, Cycling Central will run a Power Rankings during this Tour de France. It's a quick guide from stage to stage of which teams are excelling and which are unlucky or faring poorly. 

Zwift Cycling Central Podcast - Tour de France 2018 - What a finish on Carcassonne, Sky conspiracy theories?

Stage 15 ended in Carcassonne with a great finish of the stage, and Christophe & Macca come up with a new conspiracy theory at Team Sky.

Cort brings more Tour glory for Astana
Magnus Cort won the 181km 15th stage from Millau to Carcassonne at the Tour de France, the second in as many days for his Astana team.

1. Team Sky (no change)

They marshalled the peloton in the early stages when the break was going and then in the crosswinds near the finish. They even chased down Dan Martin despite the fact they didn't really have to. It would have been the perfect day for Team Sky if Gianni Moscon hadn't been disqualified for hitting Elie Gescbert of Fortuneo-Samsic.

It's not a first offence for Moscon, he appears to be a thoroughly dislikeable individual. He's been banned for racially abused Kevin Reza, cleared of deliberately causing the crash of Sebastian Reichenbach (something the Swiss rider still maintains) and was disqualified for hanging onto a team car to catch back up during the World Championships.

Best Results: 2nd - Team Time Trial, 1st (Stages 11,12), Yellow Jersey Geraint Thomas, 3rd (Stage 11) 2nd GC - Chris Froome

2. BORA-hansgrohe (no change)

Rafal Majka was in fine attacking form during the stage, but just like the 2016 Olympics he was caught after the descent from the climb and will have to settle for just existing in the memory of those that saw the race.

Here's a question, why is Sagan going into these breakaways and taking even more points for the sprint jersey? It looks like Sagan may be going for the record books.

He already holds the record for most points - his haul of 470 points in 2016 beat the mark of Sean Kelly back in 1985 - and he already holds the record for largest margin of victory in the competition. He could well extend his total points (currently 452) and lead in the remaining stages. He currently has a lead of 282 points back to Alexander Kristoff, which would be the best ever if the race ended today, bettering Kelly's 277 point drubbing of the field back in 1982. 

Of course, the awarding of points is entirely arbitrary and rule changes mean these records aren't taken too seriously.

Best Results: 1st (Stages 2,5,13), 2nd (Stages 1,4,8), 3rd (Stage 7), 1 day in Yellow, Green Jersey - Peter Sagan.

3. Quick-Step Floors (no change)

More points for Julian Alaphilippe, but he showed that he's flagging a bit, dropping back to the peloton after adding to his lead in the competition. The positive news for the Frenchman, of course bad news in general, is that it looks like one of his main competitors, Serge Pauwels of Dimension Data, won't be starting Stage 16 after hitting the deck hard in the final few hundred metres.  

Best Results: 1st (Stages 1+4), 2nd (Stage 7), 1 day in Yellow - Fernando Gaviria, 1st (Stage 10), KOM jersey - Julian Alaphilippe, 3rd (Stage 5) - Philippe Gilbert , 3rd (Stage 9) - Yves Lampaert, 13th GC - Bob Jungels, 3rd Team Time Trial.

4. LottoNL-Jumbo (no change)

Nothing happening today.

Best Results: 1st (Stages 7+8) - Dylan Groenewegen, 4th GC - Primoz Roglic, 7th GC - Steven Kruijswijk

5. Team Sunweb (no change)

Nikias Arndt tried his luck from the break, but was always going to find it hard against the pedigree of climbers that he was facing, as no one would have been keen to sprint against him. 

Best Results: 2nd (Stage 11), 3rd GC - Tom Dumoulin 

6. Astana (up four positions)

Two in a row for the Kazakhstani squad, with Magnus Cort Nielsen and Michael Valgren playing the tactics well in the finale to put themselves in a strong position. Both were probably confident in their ability to outsprint anyone else in the breakaway, but it would have been near impossible to stop the attacks of the other six riders by themselves in the crosswinds, so they attacked.

A well-managed sprint by Cort Nielsen resulted in another win for Astana.

Best Result: 1st (Stage 14) - Omar Fraile, 1st (Stage 15) Magnus Cort Nielsen, 9th GC - Jakob Fuglsang 

7. BMC (down one position)

Greg van Avermaet got himself some negative publicity for once as he appeared to cause the nasty crash in the finish by chopping across Damien Howson's wheel.

Van Avermaet clearly wants a stage win, he's killing himself to keep on making these moves, day after day.

Best Results: 1st - Team Time Trial, 2nd (Stage 10), 8 days in Yellow Jersey - Greg van Avermaet

8. Movistar (down one position)

It would disappointing if we didn't see any pyrotechnics from the team in the Pyrenees. Alejandro Valverde, Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa have all finished in better positions in Grand Tours and will not be shy about attacking to try and take that career-highlight victory.

Best Results: 3rd (Stage 6), 11th GC - Alejandro Valverde, 6th GC - Mikel Landa, 8th GC- Nairo Quintana 

9. UAE Team Emirates (down one position)

Surely no one out there could dislike Dan Martin? He has worn his heart on his sleeve all race and decided to animate the action today for no other reason than he felt a bit bored. Sure, he's probably in a different mindset now that he's well down in the GC fight, but he's consistently one of the biggest entertainers in the peloton.

Best Results: 1st (Stage 6), 10th GC - Dan Martin, 2nd (Stage 13) - Alexander Kristoff

10. Trek-Segafredo (down one position)

Bauke Mollema was the one who forced the final move, but he was never going to be able to sprint against Cort Nielsen. Good to see him pick up the pieces after a failed GC bid, he'll be one to keep an eye on in the mountains.

Tom Skuijns has arguably been the breakout rider of the race. He was best known for his stage wins and concussions at the Tour of California before the race, but he's really put himself on the map with a series of good performances. 

He was part of the break again on Stage 15, finishing fifth.

Best Results: 1st (Stage 9) - John Degenkolb, 3rd (Stage 14) - Jasper Stuyven, 3rd (Stage 15) Bauke Mollema, 5 days in KOM jersey - Tom Skuijns

11. Bahrain Merida (up one position)

Another second placed finish for Bahrain Merida, their fourth of the race. Must be getting frustrating in the team bus, as they clearly have some really good talent.

Best Results: 2nd (Stages 2+5) - Sonny Colbrelli, 2nd (Stages 10+15) - Ion Izagirre

12. AG2R-La Mondiale (down one position)

No action today from Bardet. He's another one that we will expect big things from in the Pyrenees. Not that he hasn't been attacking already, he just hasn't quite had the legs.

Best Results: 2nd (Stage 6) - Pierre Latour, 5th GC - Romain Bardet

13. Mitchelton-Scott (no change)

Damien Howson was present in the breakaway but won't be happy about after he got involved in a silly crash late on. The Australian ended up with a fracture in his hand but says he'll be racing on.

Best Results: 5th - Team Time Trial, 14th GC - Mikel Nieve

14. Direct Energie (up one position)

Lilian Calmejane keeps making these moves, and he's often involved at the pointy end of things, but he just hasn't been able to put it together to repeat the stage win of last year.
They've been good in creating action this edition, well worth having as part of the race.

Best Result: 3rd (Stage 10) - Rein Taaramae

15. Groupama- FDJ (up one position)

You can see the French squad trying, but they just can't quite get the right man in the move. Stage 15 really was one for Rudy Molard, but instead it was Arthur Vichot in the early move, who likes it a little less mountainous.

If Demare can crack it for a win on the Champs Elysees that could be the moment that saves their Tour.

Best Result: 3rd (Stages 2,13) - Arnaud Demare

16. Cofidis (up one position)

Another presence in the breakaway, this time it was Jesus Herrada, backing up from his seventh atop La Rosiere to have another go taking that elusive stage win. 

Best Results: 5th (Stages 1+7) Christophe Laporte

17. Katusha-Alpecin (down three positions)

It feels like Katusha-Alpecin are going to sleep at the race, they're not animating anything and appear to be relying entirely on Zakarin's GC bid, which isn't that impressive. Enough inaction that they've been dropped down.

Best Results: 3rd - Marcel Kittel - Stage 1, 13th GC Ilnur Zakarin

18. Fortuneo-Samsic (up two positions)

Someone was eventually going to get Moscon angry and Elie Gesbert was the unlucky one. Warren Barguil has now become the only real competitor for Alaphilippe's KOM jersey after Pauwels crashed out with a fractured elbow.

Best Result: 1 day in KOM jersey - Kevan Ledanois 

Team Sky's Moscon kicked off Tour
Team Sky's Gianni Moscon is heading home after hitting Fortuneo Samsic rider Elie Gesbert.

19. Wanty-Groupe Gobert (down one position)

Been a bit disappointing from the Belgian squad after their first week in the race, they haven't really captured the attention at all during the racing in the past few stages.

Best Results: 3 days in KOM jersey - Dion Smith

20. Lotto Soudal (down one position)

No Lotto-Soudal presence in the breakaway after a little bit of fun with Thomas de Gendt in the last few days. 

Not strictly Tour-related but they also announced the exit of Andre Greipel in rather shameful fashion, given what he has meant to the team... he essentially was the team for quite a few years.

Best Result: 3rd - Andre Greipel - Stage 4

Greipel and Lotto Soudal break-up confirmed
After eight seasons and much success, Andre Greipel is leaving Lotto-Soudal, the team confirmed in a one sentence official statement.

21. Dimension Data (no change)

The team had been holding a little bit of a cushion over EF Education First-Drapac because of Serge Pauwels KOM push, but with the Belgian crashing out at the end of the stage, that tilt is gone. 

They've been more entertaining than the Americans, and taken more top ten finishes, but they're not far off the bottom.

Best Result: 5th (Stage 10) - Serge Pauwels 

22. EF Education First-Drapac (no change)

It says a lot when the biggest story for the team at the Tour has been the performance of the lantern rouge. Full credit to Lawson Craddock, he's shown tremendous determination, but the rest of the squad wasn't built to perform outside of supporting Rigoberto Uran's GC push.

Best Result: N/A