Dhe Dutchman Wout Poels won the 15th stage of the 110th Tour de France in the Alps. The 35-year-old, team-mate of the German professional cyclists Phil Bauhaus and Nikias Arndt at Bahrain Victorious, won on Sunday after 4:04 hours and 179 kilometers at the last mountain finish in Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc. Wout van Aert from Belgium came second in front of Mathieu Burgaudeau from France.
The favorites reached the almost 1400 meter high goal with a gap of almost six minutes. In the battle for the yellow jersey, overall leader Jonas Vingegaard countered a late attack from rival Tadej Pogacar. The Danish defending champion is now ten seconds ahead of the Slovenian Pogacar in the overall standings.
Spectators trigger mass fall
On the last climb, stage winner Poels broke away from a group of three at the time with Wout van Aert (Belgium/Jumbo-Visma) and Marc Soler (Spain/UAE Emirates) and steadily extended his lead to the finish.
The German road bike champion Emanuel Buchmann from the Bora-hansgrohe team fell just before the finish, but remained uninjured and was able to finish the race. “The fall wasn’t that bad,” Buchmann told ARD. “I only have a few abrasions.”
A careless spectator had previously triggered a mass fall. Jonas Vingegaard’s most important helper, the American Sepp Kuss, fell. About 128 kilometers from the finish of stage 15, a fan stood too far on the road and stuck out his arm, which appeared to be holding a smartphone. Kiss, who was at the front of the field, touched his arm, fell and took around 20 drivers with him to the ground.
“This is the drivers’ office. Don’t go to her office,” said Eurosport expert Jens Voigt, who accompanied the stage to Saint-Gervais on Mont Blanc on the motorcycle. “Don’t try to be part of the spectacle. The drivers are the spectacle, they are the show. Leave the road to the drivers,” appealed the former professional. John Degenkolb was also involved in the crash, which immediately forced no driver to retire.
On Monday, the second rest day offers the pros the opportunity to recover from the hardships in the Alps. As a rule, the riders get on their bikes for a maximum of two hours for a relaxed ride, are treated by physiotherapists, attend media appointments and receive family visits.