Paris, Jul 22: Simon Yates captured his second stage win in four days in the Pyrenees, while defending champion Geraint Thomas took on a late spurt to cut his overall deficit against Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe in stage 15 of Tour de France on Sunday.
In the 185km stage from Limoux, Yates, the 2018 La Vuelta overall winner, rode solo to victory in Foix Prat d'Albis. "I'm very proud of this second stage win. It's a bit different from the first one. We raced flat out from start to finish," said Yates.
Yates pointed out that he came to the Tour to support his brother and Mitchelton-Scott teammate Adam, and maybe win a stage. "Now that I've won two stages, I'll put myself at the service of the team," he added.
After losing 50 seconds to Alaphilippe in previous two matchdays, Thomas managed to come back a bit into contention by pulling away the overall leader late in the stage, reducing the gap from 2 minutes 2 seconds to 1 minute 35 seconds.
"We knew it would be a hard day. I paid for my efforts in the finale," said Alaphilippe. "I expected to lose a bit of time today. I'm delighted that I'm still in the yellow jersey. I gave my best to fight and retain the lead." For Alaphilippe, compatriot Thibaut Pinot is another rider to watch in maintaining his advantage.
One day after conquering the Tourmalet over 2,000 meters, Pinot was the second rider to have crossed the line, 33 seconds behind Yates. Pinot has moved up to fourth overall, with a gap of 1 minute 50 seconds from Alaphilippe.
After embracing the second rest day this year on Monday, riders will resume their race in Nimes and expect tough challenge later in the Alps before heading to Paris. (UNI-Xinhua)