Published: Mon, July 23, 2018
Sport | By Joe Gonzales

Nielsen’s day in the sun

Nielsen’s day in the sun

"Obviously you have the odd thought that it would be nice to have this in Paris, but I soon forget about that because when you look at the racing we've got to do, there is a hell of a lot to come".

On Sunday, Team Sky's Gianni Moscon was disqualified from the race for hitting another rider.

"I would like to offer my honest apologies to both Elie Gesbert and Team Fortuneo for this unacceptable incident".

Moscon was suspended by Sky for six weeks for a racist slur against a French rider a year ago.

Race commissaries booted the Italian off the race shorty after the stage and Team Sky were accepting of the punishment.

All three featured in an early breakaway that built a lead over the main pack of nearly 20 minutes, although none of the 32 escapees were a threat in the general classification.

The Welsh rider also praised the fans who have travelled from the United Kingdom to support the team in sweltering conditions this week.

Britain's Geraint Thomas, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, signs the start flag prior to stage 15.

The GC contenders were content to allow a win from the breakaway today, meaning Sky's Geraint Thomas hangs on to the yellow jersey going into the rest day on Monday.

That break will precede a stretch in the Pyrenees that will feature three mountain stages before an individual time trial on the Tour's penultimate day.

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Dumoulin is up to third, one minute 44 seconds behind Thomas, with 2014 victor Vincenzo Nibali of Bahrain Merida fourth, two minutes 14 seconds down.

Dutchman Tom Dumoulin and Slovenian Primoz Roglic are third and fourth overall, 1:50 and 2:38 off the pace, respectively, with France's Romain Bardet and Spain's Mikel Landa further down but still a threat.

So far, Thomas and Froome have not attacked each other, but that uneasy truce could be put to the test as the race enters its decisive phase.

Yet days before the Tour, the International Cycling Union (UCI) cleared Froome to race. Many days ago we already discussed this stage and he told me it could suit me really well. "It's a massive honor just to be wearing (the yellow jersey), but like I have said from the very start, who knows what lies just around the corner?"

Shortly before the finish, Cort Nielsen attacked along with Bauke Mollema and Ion Izagirre and went on to defeat both for the stage win in Carcassonne. Cort Nielsen finished the hilly 181.5-kilometre (112.7-mile) leg from Millau that ended in a long descent to Carcassonne in 4 hours, 25 minutes.

It is Cort Nielsen's third grand tour win after he won two stages in the Vuelta a Espana in 2016, and Astana's second in this year's Tour after Omar Fraile won Saturday's 14th stage.

The only sustained attack against Thomas came from Daniel Martin, who is 10th at nearly seven minutes behind.

But Poland's Rafal Majka, who has three Tour stage wins to his name, jumped away from the group and chased the duo down, whizzing past them to reach the top of the Pic de Nore, a 12.3-km climb at an average gradient of 6.3 percent, in first position.

Thomas said he hoped Moscon's exit did not have too big an impact on the team.

Thomas claims he is taking the challenge "day by day" safe in the knowledge that: "If something happens to me, we still have him (Froome) in the race".

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