Lennard Kämna, who had a cold, also got nothing on his third long flight, Nils Politt fought his way 24 hours later in vain through the merciless heat in south-west France. The offensive driving style of the Bora-hansgrohe team was not rewarded at the 109th Tour de France at the weekend either, instead the Australian Michael Matthews and the Belgian Jasper Philipsen celebrated stage victories at temperatures of 40 degrees. German ray of hope remains Simon Geschke, who takes his mountain jersey with him into the second rest day on Monday.
There, the Bora team will make their plans for the last week of the tour so that the long-awaited stage win still works. On Saturday, the team from Raubling in Upper Bavaria was in the leading group with three drivers, but neither Kämna, who had a cold, nor the Austrians Felix Großschartner and Patrick Konrad were able to follow Matthews’ start on the way to Mende. A day later, Politt was 145 kilometers ahead of the field with the Dane Mikkel Honoré, but was caught up by the work of the sprinter teams.
In the battle for the yellow jersey, leader Jonas Vingegaard once again held defending champion Tadej Pogacar at bay. The Dane is 2:22 ahead of the Slovenian before the three difficult Pyrenees stages. However, Vingegaard lost two important helpers on Sunday. The three-time Vuelta winner Primoz Roglic did not compete in the 15th stage due to the consequences of a fall, Steven Kruijswijk gave up after a fall 65 kilometers from the finish. A few kilometers later, Vingegaard also fell, but managed to catch up again.
The big topic of conversation at the weekend, however, was the heat wave, which also has a firm grip on the south-west of France. On Sunday the thermometer even climbed to 40 degrees on the 202.5 kilometer route from Rodez to Mende. The tour organization then put three special regulations into effect. The drivers were allowed to eat and drink from the start to ten kilometers before the finish. Empty bottles could also be thrown away outside the garbage zones. In addition, the grace period was set to 20 percent of the stage winner’s time, regardless of their average speed.
Even the fire brigade was in action. Since the asphalt was supposed to heat up to over 60 degrees, the road was partly cooled with water just before the peloton. The teams had up to 300 drinking bottles in the cars, a good third of which is normal. Defending champion Pogacar even put ice cubes in his socks at the start. During the stage, the pros were given nylon stockings filled with ice cubes for their necks.
With Simon Geschke, the ice wandered under the red dotted jersey of the best climber. The Berliner extended his lead in the standings with a courageous ride in the breakaway group on Saturday and will also wear the jersey on Tuesday’s first Pyrenees stage. In the meantime, his Cofidis team is already dreaming of the award ceremony in Paris. “Simon gets all the support of the team and maybe he can even wear the jersey to Paris,” said sports director Cedric Vasseur of ARD.
First, like all other remaining drivers, Geschke has to pass the mandatory corona test. On Sunday, two stage winners, Magnus Cort from Denmark and Simon Clarke from Australia, had to leave the tour because of positive tests. Cort had worn the mountain jersey for seven days and won the tenth stage in Megève. Clarke was victorious on the cobblestone section to Arenberg Forest.