Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Tour de France: Vincenzo Nibali happy to play the patience game

The Tour de France
The Tour de France

Alexander Kristoff took the win on stage 15 of the Tour de France as the sprinters caught Martin Elmiger and Jack Bauer on the line.

Bauer had disappeared into the lead from the very beginning of the 222-kilometre stage between Tallard and Nimes but lost out in the closing stages as the chasing pack eventually put in a push.

Stormy conditions and tricky crosswinds made life difficult for Bauer and Elmiger but they maintained their lead until Katusha's Kristoff led the sprinting pack past – leaving Garmin-Sharp rider Bauer in tears at the finish.

It seemed as though the sprinters had miscalculated the time they needed to reel in the long-standing leaders, with a number of roundabouts requiring safe navigation in slippery conditions.

But, as the closing metres were knocked off, Bauer, who eventually came home 10th, and Elmiger dropped back into the field.

Peter Sagen came third as Vincenzo Nibali remained in the yellow jersey heading into the 16th stage with a four minute 37 second lead over Alejandro Valverde.

Italian Nibali was happy to play the long game in tricky conditions.

"At some point, gusts of wind were blowing from the side," the Astana rider said.

"The road was curvy in a village. I didn't want to be caught by surprise.

"I've maybe learnt how to handle a stage race as a team but it was at the different period of the season.

"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."

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