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TOUR REPORT STAGE 15

LYON > GRAND COLOMBIER

 We are watching the arrival of a generation-defining talent, that much is clear. Tadej Pogačar skipped away from Primož Roglič on the final slopes of the Grand Colombier to take the stage win, ten bonus seconds and the unofficial title of ‘strongest rider in the race’.

The yellow jersey belongs, still, to Roglič but one wonders how the GC might look if Pogačar had not been caught out in crosswinds earlier in the race and lost a hefty chunk of time. The gap between the two Slovenians is now well below the 1’21” that Pogačar shed on stage 7.

The Grand Colombier loomed over the whole second week, promising a mighty mountain showdown unlike anything in 2020 race so far. It wasn’t quite as explosive a final as we armchair fans might have liked, but entertaining nevertheless. The greatest loser of the day was Egan Bernal, reigning champ, who cracked spectacularly and tumbled out of the GC top ten. Nairo Quintana, too, was left behind by the leaders, while another old stager, Richie Porte, showed he is growing in strength and stature every day.

Mikel Landa continued his rock-solid performance whenever the road goes up. The Basque leader of Bahrain McLaren could cover all but the final attacks and lost just 15 seconds (of which 10 were bonuses). He will also be encouraged by having two support riders in the top 13, with Damiano Caruso seemingly ever-present this year and Pello Bilbao getting stronger every day. The big difference in this GC race so far has been the strength of Jumbo-Visma’s squad versus everybody else and having the second-strongest team in this exceptional edition is no bad thing when it comes to fighting for the podium.

The entire peloton will be glad of their rest day.

Thanks to Russ Ellis and Chris Auld for capturing the race. See more of their work on Instagram @cyclingimages & @cauldphoto.