Søren Kragh Andersen took Sunweb’s second stage win of the 2020 Tour de France after making a late solo break to the finish in Lyon. Kragh attacked with 3.2km to go from a reduced peloton with no-one immediately pursuing.
Kragh timed his move perfectly, breaking clear on the right-hand side of the road once Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team), and Kragh’s team-mate Marc Hirschi had been brought back after their own late attempt to get away.
By the time a chase broke out in earnest, Kragh had an advantage of almost 10 seconds and his Sunweb team-mates then marked any efforts to try and bring him back. The Dane was able to sustain his effort and hold on to take his maiden Tour stage win.
The remaining riders in the bunch came in 15 seconds behind Kragh, with Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) and Simone Consonni (Cofidis) denying Sagan extra points in the green jersey competition, sprinting to second, third and fourth respectively.
Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) retained his overall lead after finishing safely in the main bunch with no changes in the top-10 on GC.
How it happened
After a punishing stage 13 saw the GC race kick into action once again, stage 14 of the 2020 Tour de France looked to be a stage for the escapees of late attackers. With three early categorised climbs, including the category two Col du Béal, the two late category four climbs close to the finish looked like they could prove pivotal in deciding the stage winner.
The day began as expected, with a huge amount of attacks from riders looking to escape and form a large breakaway group. Nothing was allowed to take shape though with Bora-Hansgrohe and Deceuninck-Quick-Step patrolling the front of the peloton, and eventually, the speed settled as Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) and Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) were allowed to stay away.
They were allowed to build up a lead of over four minutes with just over 20km ridden, with the peloton now sitting at a serene pace.
That pace increased over the first category four climb as Bora pulled away with Peter Sagan, who aimed to take as many points as he could at the intermediate sprint shortly after the descent of the climb with around 38km completed. Green jersey Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) initially made chase, but relented on the climb and Sagan was allowed to push on with team-mate Max Schachmann to take 15 points at the intermediate sprint before returning to the peloton.
Theuns and Küng pushed on up ahead, but things began to crumble for them over top of the 10.2km Col du Béal, with Theuns unable to hack the pace and the once six-minute advantage they held now decreasing.
Bora again pushed on the front of the peloton on the climb, eventually dropping Bennett and his team-mates, who drifted to over two minutes behind.
They continued to control the pace on to the next category three climb, with the solo Küng’s gap down to 54 seconds as he crested the Côte de Courreau with 101km to go.
He was eventually caught with 82km to go, with Bora continuing to keep the speed high and distance the Bennett group behind. Deceuninck-Quick-Step finally gave up the chase with Bennett at 77km remaining, unable to break the two minute gap, which drifted out to over nine minutes with 50km to go.
CCC and Bora then drove the peloton forward, with race leader Primož Roglič’s Jumbo-Visma taking the lead just after 20km to go, heading towards the penultimate climb of the stage.
The first attacks came almost immediately on penultimate category four climb, with Tiesj Benoot (Sunweb) accelerating with 11km to go. He was able to gain 11 seconds advantage with 9.8km to go, but Bora again drove the chase with Lennard Kämna eventually catching Benoot before trying to go solo himself with 7.4km remaining.
Kämna led onto the final climb holding a small advantage, before Thomas De Gendt attacked from peloton with 5.8km to go to try and bridge to the German.
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) then made his move with 5.3km to go, chased by Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers), but he was shut down quickly by Jumbo-Visma.
Alaphilippe pressed on though, and tried to go on his own with 4.7km to go as he caught Kämna and De Gendt, but everyone was brought back together with 4.3km to the line.
The next attack again came from Sunweb, with stage 12 winner Marc Hirschi attacking, pursued by Greg Van Avermaet and Peter Sagan. It was the remaining Jumbo-Visma riders who weren’t keen on letting that one stick though, and quickly brought them back to the now severely reduced bunch.
Once that trio had been brought to heel, Søren Kragh Andersen seized the opportunity to jump away with 3.2km to go. There was no immediate response and he was able to open up an eight-second gap with just 2km to hold on to the line.
The chase behind never really organised, with Kragh’s Sunweb team-mates doing an excellent job of disrupting the front of the bunch, allowing Kragh to push his gap up towards 15 seconds; enough time to raise his arms in celebration and take in the feeling of his first career victory at the Tour de France.
Sagan seemed to pay for his efforts earlier in the day and wasn’t able to take the sprint for second place, but still managed to cut his deficit to Sam Bennett in the green jersey competition to 43 points as he finished fourth.
The Tour de France heads back to the mountains on Sunday’s stage 15, with a summit finish to the top of Grand Colombier.
Tour de France 2020, stage 14: Clermont-Ferrand to Lyon (194km)
1. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb, in 4-28-10
2. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott, at 15 seconds
3. Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
5. Casper Pedersen (Den) Team Sunweb
6. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
7. Tony Martin (Ger) Jumbo-Visma
8. Oliver Naesen (Bel) Ag2r La Mondiale
9. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-McLaren
10. Marc Hirschi (Sui) Team Sunweb, all at same time
General classification after stage 14
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, in 61-03-00
2. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 44s
3. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos Grenadiers, at 59s
4. Rigoberto Urán (Col) EF Pro Cycling, at 1-10
5. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkéa-Samsic, at 1-12
6. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana, at 1-31
7. Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, at 1-42
8. Mikel Landa (Esp) Bahrain-McLaren, at 1-55
9. Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo, at 2-06
10. Enric Mas (Esp) Movistar, at 2-54