Cort Nielsen wins stage 15 of Tour de France

Cort Nielsen wins stage 15 of Tour de France

Cort Nielsen wins stage 15 of Tour de France

That is the question on everyone's lips as the Tour de France heads into its final week. "It is the first time I have raced for three weeks as a GC (general classification) leader, so it is an unknown for me".

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".

"I would like to offer my honest apologies to both Elie Gesbert and Team Fortuneo Samsic for this unacceptable incident".

Race commissaries booted the Italian off the race shorty after the stage and Team Sky were accepting of the punishment.

A group of more than 40 stragglers, which included talented French sprinter Arnaud Démare, were quickly dropped during the stage's lumpy start, while at the front a determined group of 29 riders made a breakaway stick, allowed to go because none carried much threat to yellow. Not only do Thomas and Froome lose a key helper for the third week - albeit Sky were the only team with a rider in contention for the maillot jaune still to have all eight riders - the incident is hardly going to help relations with the locals.

Britain's Geraint Thomas, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, signs the start flag prior to stage 15.

With the Pyrenees looming, Thomas had his last calm ride wearing the yellow jersey at the Tour de France on Sunday.

However, the 2018 Tour has been marred by spectators spitting at Froome, and Thomas has been booed while on the podium.

The peloton elected to take things relatively easy ahead of Monday's rest day, with three big days to come in the Pyrenees next week.

Four of the six remaining stages are likely to determine the victor - three mountainous stages in the Pyrenees and an individual time trial on Saturday, when Dumoulin will be favourite.

"There are three big, big days left, and then the time trial, so (I) just take each day as it comes and we will see what happens", Thomas said.

With one week remaining, Froome sits second in the overall standings, 1 minute 39 seconds behind Thomas.

But the British outfit's prime target is to win the race, whether it is with Thomas or Froome, who was asked if he would be ready to sacrifice his own chances to help Thomas win his maiden Tour title. I think everyone probably expected Alpe d'Huez to be the more decisive stage, and it might very well still be, but it puts us in a fantastic position.

He finished the hilly 181.5-kilometer (112.7-mile) leg from Millau that ended in a long descent to Carcassonne in 4 hours, 25 minutes.

The only sustained attack against Thomas came from Daniel Martin, who is 10th at nearly seven minutes behind.

There was also a half-hearted and short-lived attempt by Bardet to slip away on a downhill.

Yesterday, Omar Fraile showed us how to do it, it's great that we now won two stages in a row with our team.- said Michael Valgren.

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