Tour de France stage 15 report: Wout Poels wins big from the break

While the breakaway took the stage, Tadej Pogačar tried once again to sting Jonas Vingegaard, but the yellow jersey was too strong.

Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious) wins stage 15 at the 2023 Tour de France. Photo © Cor Vos

Kit Nicholson
by Kit Nicholson 16.07.2023 Photography by
Cor Vos
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A large breakaway was cut loose on another crash-marred day in the Alps. From the large move that eventually went clear, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) and Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious) proved strongest and sharpest, going clear about 45 km from the summit finish at Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc, and Poels ultimately coming out on top after attacking 11 km from the summit.

Further down the mountain, the race for yellow entered another intriguing chapter as Tadej Pogačar and UAE Team Emirates looked to have the upper hand. However, Jonas Vingegaard was unshakeable and despite multiple sprints in the closing kilometre, the top two crossed the line shoulder to shoulder.

Brief results:

  1. Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious) 4:40:45
  2. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) @ 2:08
  3. Mathieu Burgaudeau (Total Energies) @ 3:00
  4. Lawson Craddock (Jayco-AlUla) @ 3:10
  5. Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) @ 3:14

General classification:

  1. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 62:34:17
  2. Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) @ :10
  3. Carlos Rodríguez (Ineos Grenadiers) @ 5:21
  4. Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) @ 5:40
  5. Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) @ 6:38
Vingegaard sprinted into the last corner, taking the outside line, before the pair crossed the line together.

Quote of the day:

Poels is the second Bahrain Victorious rider to take a win at this Tour de France after Pello Bilbao on stage 10. Like his teammate before him, Poels dedicated his stage 15 win to friend and Bahrain Victorious teammate Gino Mäder who died on 16th June during the Tour de Suisse.

“I always dreamed to win a stage at the Tour,” Poels said in his winner’s interview. “Especially with what happened in the team in the last three weeks with Gino, all the emotions came. It’s just incredible. I won a Monument and now a stage in the Tour. I’m super happy.

“I started to believe only in the last kilometre. I just had to keep fighting. I had to go full gas. It’s amazing.”

For Poels, it marks a high point in a tricky period, and a well-timed return to winning ways.

“I got sick at altitude camp, had to skip the Dauphiné. I went to the Tour of Slovenia. Luckily it went really well and the team took me to the Tour and believed in it. My DS Roman Kreuziger was saying that ‘ah you’re going to be there into the third week’ and here we are’.”

Brief analysis:

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The Wout stat you didn’t know you needed.

While Wout Poels was going after a career-topping stage win, and Vingegaard and Pogačar were locked in another GC fight, there was an arguably far more draining race happening out of the public eye, as Adrien Petit tried to survive another hard stage 24 hours after a heavy crash.

Survive it he did, and Petit was rewarded for his resilience in the Alps. He’ll be delighted there’s a rest day – then a GC-crucial time trial – to come.

Kids, look away now.

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