As if 202.5 kilometers in 40 degree heat wasn’t enough of the challenge on the 15th stage of the Tour de France, a small group of carelessly acting spectators made life even more difficult for the drivers. And with intent. It is kilometer 138 on the road between Rodez and Carcassonne when protesters block the route. Already at the tenth stage climate activists had blocked the way. The stage was interrupted then, not now.
And that has consequences: The demonstrators cannot be taken off the street fast enough – the main field falls. While Wout Van Aert and Jakob Fuglsang, among others, can continue quickly, the tour for Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk is over at this point.
He is taken away by ambulance. Tour leader Jonas Vongegaard loses another important helper from his team, as Primoz Roglic was unable to compete that day.
And Vingegaard himself? He falls too. At kilometer 145, the wearer of the yellow jersey gets caught, but is quickly brought back up by his teammates. At the end of the hot stage, Jasper Philipsen won.
The Belgian took the win in a bunch sprint ahead of Wout van Aert and Mads Pedersen. Previously, a breakaway attempt by German champion Nils Politt and Denmark’s Mikkel Honoré had ended after 145 kilometers. Simon Geschke, who was born in Berlin, received the mountain jersey for the seventh time in a row.
In the overall standings, Jonas Vingegaard is 2:22 ahead of defending champion Tadej Pogacar. On Monday, the tour will have its last rest day before heading to the Pyrenees on Tuesday. On Tuesday there is 178.5 kilometers from Carcassonne to Foix, again in great heat.