Jasper Philipsen sprints to victory on stage 15 of the Tour de France

24-year-old Belgian takes his first Tour stage win on a hot and hectic day in the South of France

Jasper Philipsen tops Wout van Aert and Mads Pedersen to win stage 15 of the Tour de France.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) sprinted to victory in Carcassonne at the end of a hot and hectic stage 15 of the Tour de France.

The 24-year-old Belgian topped Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) in a close three-rider battle to the line to take his first career stage win at the race.

The heat in the South of France was oppressive enough for the Extreme Weather Protocol to be invoked, loosening rules on the taking and disposing of bottles, and the stage featured no shortage of crashes as riders travelled the 202.5km distance from Rodez to the finish line.

In the end, the stage came down a to sprint after the day's various attackers were reeled in, with Ben Thomas (Cofidis) making it all the way into the last 500 metres before he was caught by a hard-charging pack. Trek-Segafredo led things out for Pedersen, but Philipsen expertly followed the Dane's wheel and then surged to the front inside the last hundred metres.

Race leader Jonas Vingegaard finished in the bunch to retain his overall advantage, but only after a challenging day out. Vingegaard's teammate Primož Roglič did not start the stage, fellow Jumbo-Visma rider Steven Kruijswijk crashed and abandoned the race, and Vingegaard himself hit the deck shortly thereafter.

Vingegaard managed to rejoin the peloton before long, however, and arrived safely in Carcassonne.

How it happened

Even with its sprinter-friendly finish, the stage featured plenty of storylines throughout, with Jumbo-Visma experiencing a tough day.

Roglič was among the riders who did not start the stage as he continues to recover from injuries sustained in a prior crash. Also in the DNS column were both Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) and Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech), who left the race after having testing positive for COVID-19.

When the riders rolled out, they did so amid very high temperatures of around 38°C. It would be a challenging afternoon on the bike.

Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe), Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), and Van Aert himself jumped off the front in the first hour to form an early break, though Van Aert ultimately pulled the pin on the attempt to leave just two riders out front.

From there, the peloton kept Politt and Honoré on a relatively short leash as the race traversed an undulating profile en route to Carcassonne.

Crashes marred the afternoon, with Jumbo-Visma's day going from bad to worse. Kruijswijk hit the deck hard with a little over 60km to go and left the race, and then Vingegaard himself crashed some 10 minutes later. The race leader, however, was able to rejoin the peloton after a short chase.

Politt and Honoré were reeled in with a little over 50km to go, and then new attacks started to fly, while Trek-Segafredo kept the pace very high in the bunch, dropping several sprinters from the pack. Thomas and Alexis Gougeard (B&B Hotels-KTM) then managed to pull away off the front, and the pack settled back into chase mode.

Thomas and Gougeard stubbornly maintained a small gap into the last 10km, with the pack still about 15 seconds behind with only 5km to go, when Thomas decided to strike out on his own. With the sprinters' trains pushing a hard pace behind him, Thomas held on out front all the way into the final kilometre, but he was caught with 500m to go, setting up a sprint.

Trek-Segafredo led the way toward the line, and Pedersen opened up his sprint with some 300 metres to go, with Van Aert and Philipsen close behind. After waiting a few more moments in Pedersen's slipstream, Philipsen launched on the Dane's left and quickly surged to the front, where he held on ahead of Van Aert to take the win.

Behind, Vingegaard and the rest of the GC top 10 finished safely in the peloton.

Tour de France stage 15 results

1. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix, in 04-27-27
2. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
3. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) TotalEnergies
5. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) BikeExchange-Jayco
7. Florian Sénéchal (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
8. Luca Mozzato (Ita) B&B Hotels-KTM
9. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
10. Fred Wright (GBr) Bahrain Victorious, all at same time

General classification after stage 15

1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma, in 59-58-28
2. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 2-22
3. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 2-43
4. Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM, at 3-01
5. Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 4-06
6. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic, at 4-15
7. Louis Meintjes (RSA) Intermarché–Wanty–Gobert, at 4-24
8. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at same time
9. Tom Pidcock (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 8-49
10. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar, at 9-58

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