Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling) took his maiden Tour de France victory on the eve of the final week after outsprinting Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) to the line in what was a fairly disappointing day at Le Tour.
It was a day that promised plenty of action in the fight for the Yellow Jersey, but in truth the spectators were starved of action, except a brief foray from Frenchman Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale). But for Team Sky and Chris Froome it was another closer to Paris, as the days are running out for the potential suitors of that Yellow Jersey.
With six climbs packed into a 160km route, and on top of that climbing the Grand Colombier twice route it certainly was a punishing day in the saddle; but it was the impressive Pantano who lightened up the proceedings with only his second ever professional win. It certainly was a day for the 29-year-old to savour.
Majka instigated breakaway and had a successful day bar the finale
Barring the GC, it was always looking likely that a breakaway would stay clear today; and that proved correct. But it was Majka who begun the process of trying to establish a breakaway and when he did a group of about 29 rider’s joined him.
The likes of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana); who has had a fairly quiet Tour so far in support of Fabio Aru, Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin), and Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) all joined the Pole as they drew out a lead which at its peak was at 8mins29s.
But it was Majka who was looking for all the mountain points as he could; before the start of play he was behind the leader Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), but by the end of it, he was safely wrapped up in the Polka Dot jersey.
Froome and company surprisingly quiet on stage 15
There was much talk about some of the GC favourites going on the attack today, but that didn’t work out particularly well, albeit because Sky were so dominant at the front, but also because it looked like none of the other contenders really fancied it.
Aru and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) tried on the second descent of the Colombier but that was foiled by the impressive Wout Poels. And other than that Bardet tried his luck, but it was all rather dull in the GC group today as they look to save their legs for final Alpine stages to come later in the week.
But for Pantano it was a historic day for the Colombian; Columbia haven’t had much to shout about during this Tour with the apparent lack of form of Nairo Quintana, but victory for IAM’s Pantano will certainly give them something to cheer about this evening.