Tour de France Stage 15: Renshaw 5th in Nail Biting Finish
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Mark Renshaw finished 5th in the 177km Stage 15 of Tour de France on Sunday. The Australian rider launched his sprint when two original breakaway riders were caught just meters before the line.
Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) won the stage, with Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling) placing 2nd, and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) 3rd.
OPQS played a huge part in bringing the breakaway back. The gap was down to just 1'20" with 20.4km to go when Michal Kwiatkowski had a small gap, which forced a further acceleration of the peloton in order to chase him down and maintain control. The catch of the two breakaway riders Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling) and Jack Bauer (Garmin-Sharp) was by no means guaranteed, however, as it was pouring rain out on course and the peloton seemed to be slow to close the gap.
Tony Martin forced the field to chase again, going off the front with Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol) at 4.3km to go. That move was brought back with the gap down to 30", and that is when Jan Bakelants counter attacked. OPQS was not finished, as Martin once again accelerated and, with the catch still in question, he kept driving the pace inside the final kilometer.
When Martin was finally brought back at 500 meters to go, it was up to the sprinters to try and catch Elmiger and Bauer as the gap was listed at 9 seconds. They finally did just before the line, with Renshaw one of the riders on the front launching the sprint that eventually passed them.
The Tour de France heads to the Pyrenees on Tuesday, after the rest day tomorrow. The longest stage of the Tour — 237.5km Stage 16 from Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon — includes HC Port de Bales (11.7km at 7.7%) with the summit at km 216 of the stage. The stage descends into a flat finish.