• The Tour de France Stage 15 was taken out Tadej Pogačar of UAE Emirates. (Getty)Source: Getty
Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) emerged the strongest on the tough ascent of the Grand Colombier, sprinting clear of race leader Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) to claim victory in style.
By
SBS Cycling Central

14 Sep 2020 - 1:45 AM  UPDATED 14 Sep 2020 - 1:50 AM

Roglič was the first of the top riders to launch an attack in the finale, surging off the fierce pace set by his teammates, with only a select group able to follow. Porte surged to the front in the final few hundred metres his show of strength gapping some of the riders behind, but the pair of Pogačar and Roglič were able to pass and sprint it out for the win.

Pogačar was the quickest in the dash to the line and clawed back more time on his Slovenian compatriot in the battle for yellow as he celebrated his second win of the 2020 edition of the race. 

"Today was really a stage, first to go in the breakaway," said Pogačar. "We had (Marco) Marcato in the break, a really good job by him. Jumbo set the pace really high all day, it made it a really difficult stage. In the end, I was waiting for the sprint and I’m so happy to win again.

"I think Jumbo was really prepared for today. There was, in my point of view, no point to attack."

Porte leads into final metres of Grand Colombier climb
Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) continues to impress at the Tour de France, again looking the best of the rest of the climbers behind the top two on the general classification.
'I was empty' - Bernal's Tour de France crushed on the Colombier
A second yellow jersey for Egan Bernal lies in tatters as he buckled under the pressure inflicted by the swarm of Primož Roglič's men on the Grand Colombier.

Pogačar was asked whether he thought he could overhaul his 40 second deficit to the yellow jersey of Roglič.

"That’s the plan," said Pogačar. "For the moment, he seems unstoppable but today Bernal cracked, maybe one day I crack or maybe Roglič. You never know in a three-week stage race, especially the Tour. There are still opportunities."

Numerous big names and breakaway specialists tried their luck from kilometre zero including Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Matteo Trentin (CCC), Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) and Pierre Rolland (B&B). 

But a breakaway of eight riders - including Trentin and Rolland again - only succeeded in breaking the elastic after some 20 kilometres. 

By the intermediate sprint point at 58 kilometres, Trentin, Rolland, Kévin Ledanois (Arkéa-Samsic), Simon Geschke (CCC Team), Jesús Herrada (Cofidis), Marco Marcato (UAE Team Emirates), Niccolo Bonifazio (Total Direct Energie), Michael Gogl (NTT Pro Cycling) had a lead of just over three minutes.

Trentin was the best there claiming the full 20 points but when it was the peloton's turn, Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) tried to force the gate closed on Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step) swerving slightly at him, but it was to no avail as the Irishman increased his lead to 45 points. 

As the leaders headed toward the category 1 Montée de la Selle de Fromentel, they progressively lost Marcato, Bonifazio. When they hit the climb, Trentin was the next to pop but immediately after, team mate Geschke attacked. Rolland, Herrada and and Gogl followed but a later surge from Geschke and the pace set by the remaining leaders forced Gogl to zigzag over the road. 

It may have looked comical but it was effective as he had returned to the front by the time Herrada claimed the maximum KOM points over Rolland. Gogl then gapped his former breakaway companions on the descent and he hit the next climb with a 30-second lead. 

Back in the pack, Jumbo-Visma took to the front and put Bernal and his team mates a little in the hurt locker but they ultimately regrouped and stayed in touch. 

Rolland made contact with Gogl 2kms from the top of the Col de la Biche and then distanced the Austrian to claim the KOM points. 

Jumbo-Visma again drove the pace hard on this climb as Rolland waited for Gogl on the next dig up Croix de Famban where Herrada also regained contact, then the trio rocketed down the descent but Herrada was dropped and he fell back to the peloton. 

Herrada was soon called into action again at the base of the final climb, the hors categorie ascent of the Grand Colombier, with Cofidis team leader Guillaume Martin suffering a mechanical and having to be paced back on, making contact again, but with some energy expended. With a gap of just under two minutes at the start of the climb, the breakaway weren't expected to last long and Rolland dropped Gogl before being caught by the peloton with 13 kilometres remaining. 

Egan Bernal sensationally cracked from the pace set by Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) with 13 kilometres left, slipping out of the back of the peloton with countryman Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic), before being left behind by Quintana as Bernal continued to slow.

Van Aert's strong turn of pace-making was replaced by George Bennett. Adam Yates attacked with 7 kilometres left to race, with no response from the other contenders as the Jumbo-Visma train continued to keep a steady pace, overhauling Yates with just under six kilometres left to ride.

Tom Dumoulin took over the job of riding the front for Jumbo-Visma and ramped up the pace dramatically over the final kilometres, setting up an attack by Roglič with 800 metres left. Only a handful of riders were able to respond, with Richie Porte appearing the strongest, surging to the front of the race and leading into the final 100 metres before being overtaken by Pogačar and Roglič as they sprinted to the line.  

Pogačar took the sprint comfortably from Roglič but without a time gap, celebrating his second Tour de France win at still just 21 years of age. 

The riders and the viewers of the Tour de France have a rest day tomorrow, racing resuming with Stage 16 on Tuesday evening with a day in the mountains again on the agenda, with a punchy climb to Villard-de-Lans the final ascent. The stage begins on the SBS ŠKODA Tour Tracker at 8.55pm AEST on Tuesday evening, with the television broadcast set to start at 9.30pm on SBS VICELAND.