Published: Tue, July 24, 2018
Sport | By Ruben Hill

Magnus Cort Nielsen wins Stage 15 of Tour de France

Magnus Cort Nielsen wins Stage 15 of Tour de France

Britain's Geraint Thomas (R), and Sky teammate Chris Froome are in pole position to win the 105th edition of the Tour de France.

Geraint Thomas in the yellow jersey, second-placed Chris Froome, and the rest of the overall contenders were in a pack more than 10 minutes behind.

"I've said it before, but it's the first time I've raced for 3 weeks, as a GC (general classification) leader so it's a bit of an unknown", said Thomas, after he and Froome trailed home over 18 minutes behind Spanish stage victor Omar Fraile in Mende.

"Anything can happen. Three big days in the Pyrenees to come plus a hard time trial".

The top three could not be separated and came home together after five hours in the saddle, ensuring Thomas holds onto his one minute and 39-second lead over Froome.

The Netherlands' Tom Dumoulin remains third at 1:50, while Slovenia's Primož Roglič is fourth at 2:38. Dumoulin, the time trial world champion and last year's Giro d'Italia victor, is third, 1:50 behind, and Roglic is fourth, 2:38 back.

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.

"I think I would have to have a bad day", Thomas said. "Everything worked out perfectly, I'm so happy".

Danish race debutant Magnus Cort Nielsen handed Astana their second consecutive victory when he won the 15th stage of the Tour de France in Carcassonne on Sunday.

The peloton finished calmly on 13 minutes and 11 seconds behind Magnus Cort, Jakob Fuglsang and all other Astana riders crossed the line safely in the group.

Spain's Omar Fraile powered to victory with a late burst in the last climb of Stage 14 of the Tour de France Saturday.

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

There was also a half-hearted and short-lived attempt by Bardet to slip away on a downhill.

"That was insane", said Thomas.

"The way I see it is I would rather be in this jersey and having the race of my life and getting booed or whatever than maybe being 30th and dropped at the first climb of the day and everyone cheering me", Thomas added.

Thomas and Froome lost one of their support riders for the rest of the way after Gianni Moscon was expelled by race organizers for apparently hitting Elie Gesbert of Team Fortuneo.

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.

Denmark's Cort was in a leading group with Bauke Mollema and Ion Izagirre for the run-in on the 181.5km stage.

Cort found his way to the front after the attacks started inside the final 10km, ending up accompanied by a duo of veritable non-sprinters in Izagirre and Mollema.

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