Cort Nielsen wins Stage 15, Thomas keeps lead on Froome

Cort Nielsen wins Stage 15, Thomas keeps lead on Froome

Cort Nielsen wins Stage 15, Thomas keeps lead on Froome

The racer of "Astana" Magnus Cort Nielsen was the victor of the 15th stage of the Tour de France.

"If you don't want global teams to come, you can have a Tour de France for French teams".

The race will have a rest day on Monday.

Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford said he "supported" and "accepted" the decision, adding that Moscon was "desperately disappointed in his behaviour" and knew that he had "let himself, the team and the race down".

"It's an unbelievable position for us", Froome said.

"I would like to offer my honest apologies to both Elie Gesbert and Team Fortuneo for this unacceptable incident". He was accused of using racial slurs against Kévin Reza a year ago and was sent him on a diversity awareness course at the time.

A breakaway group of 29 riders - none of whom posed a threat to Thomas's overall lead - got away early.

Sky's victory bid was potentially dented when the team lost Italian rider Gianni Moscon on Sunday after he was thrown off the race for striking Frenchman Elie Gesbert of the Fortuneo team.

But the former Olympic team pursuit champion has more than the Pyrenees mountains standing in his way over the final 7 stages of the race.

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

Froome is chasing a record-equalling fifth Tour title, but goes into the final week still one minute 39 seconds behind Thomas.

Jasper Stuyven of Belgium finished third, also six seconds back, and three-time world champion Peter Sagan came fourth. 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.

Tour organizers had informed Froome that he wasn't welcome at this year's race until the International Cycling Union announced five days before the event started that Froome's result did not represent an adverse finding.

"That was insane", said Thomas. "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?"

Four-time victor Froome, 33, is second overall, trailing fellow Team Sky rider Thomas by one minute 39 seconds after 15 stages.

Inside the final 7 kilometer, Magnus Cort launched an attack from the break to go clear together with just two riders, Bauke Mollema and Ion Izagirre.

"I always kept a little back so I was able to respond if they attack", said the 25-year-old Cort Nielsen, who won two stages of the Spanish Vuelta in 2016.

He was wrong, with Team Sky initially opting to hold their position, filling the roads as they narrowed to block counter-attacks and quickly smothering an attempted jab from Romain Bardet, before eventually upping the pace and sucking Martin back in - a compliment if not a material gain in minutes and seconds for the Irishman.

The stage included around 3,000m of ascent, with climbs throughout its length, the main one being the category 1 Pic de Nore in the latter part of the race, which lead from its summit into a 41km descent to the finish line.

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