Nimes, France (4E Sports) – Alexander Kristoff of Norway broke away from the pack in the last 50 meters en route to victory in Stage 15 of the Tour de France Sunday.
Kristoff caught breakaway riders Jack Bauer and Martin Elmiger, who both led for the majority of the 222-kilometer trip from Tallard to Nimes but lost steam in the stretch.
“I didn’t expect to win two stages in the same Grand Tour, so I can’t see any more,” said Kristoff, who finished the trip in 4 hours, 56 minutes and 43 seconds for his second Tour victory this year.
Bauer, trying to become the first New Zealander to win a Tour stage, pulled away in the final kilometer but the peloton passed him in the final moments. He finished 10th for the day while Elmiger was 16th.
“It’s just bitter, bitter disappointment,” said Bauer. “It’s a childhood dream to win a stage of the Tour and I’m normally working for others. This was my first chance to be up the road and me and Martin realized we had a chance for the win.”
Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali kept his hold on the yellow jersey after finishing 31st with the same time as Kristoff.
“I came to the Tour de France this year after improving my condition progressively in order to reach my first peak of the year precisely at the Tour de France,” said Nibali, who has a week remaining in his effort to give Italy its 10th Tour de France title and first since Marco Pantani in 1998.
Spain’s Alejandro Valverde finished 22nd in the same group as the stage winner and remained second overall — 4 minutes and 37 seconds behind Nibali.
Romain Bardet of France is another 13 seconds behind, followed by countryman Thibaut Pinot. American Tejay Van Garderen is fifth, 5:49 off the yellow jersey’s pace.
The Tour will have its second rest day Monday before resuming Tuesday with the first of legs in the Pyrenees. The journey starts with a 237.5-kilometer trip from Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon, which features five climbs.