7.20.2014

Tour de France 15: The Doorstep

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Bauer and Elmiger
Back to flat and fast, back to the rain but hot. Back to the sprint but sprinters must earn it. Back to the break-away: Elmiger and Bauer, Bauer and Elmiger. Working so well together you can think they are mates. Instead they are going to catch the second, dashing in face each other. Not now, not for long. In the rain the peloton is prudent, in the wind there is the risk of splits, so cuddle the gap, the safe advantage. Don't think of the moment it will be suddenly over. 
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Rain on the race
A doorstep: Elmiger and Bauer are still pedaling in the hope, the peloton is preparing the sprint but all can still happen. Don't think. Vincenzo Nibali is pedaling in Yellow, one day more. But the doorstep is narrow, one step and you pass it in the wrong direction. Be focused, be ready. Riders react to the violent cross wind. They knew about it, it was expected and in Nimes is raining. Be focused, be ready. A long line on the bridge and the peloton splits. See the doorstep, smell the risk. Vincenzo Nibali is a small yellow points jumping ahead, catching the first echelon with an incredible move. Solo. 
Echelons: Nibali jumps ahead
So far the break is away and they are two. The city is close, the peloton still far. The hope sill big be the right side of the doorstep. So head down on the handlebar and regular changes: don't think. They are nervous behind: the gap decrease but slowly. The peloton and the break are now in the same frame: few seconds, it can be enough. On the doorstep between glory and defeat. One more step, just one. Don't think, don't wait, don't start too early the bloody sprint, don't start it too late. They come!
Elmiger get caught first, as he had been the first one to attack this morning. But Bauer resists and sprints to 10. In tears after the finish, beyond the doorstep but by the wrong side. Alexander Kristoff is by the right side again.
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RESULTS
STAGE
1 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha 4:56:43
2 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
4 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
5 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
6 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar
7 Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin Sharp
8 Romain Feillu (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement
9 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica Greenedge
10 Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin Sharp
GC
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 66:49:37
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:04:37
3 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:04:50
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:05:06
5 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:05:49
6 Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:06:08
7 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:08:33
8 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp-Endura 0:09:32
9 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:10:01
10 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:10:48

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