Tour de France 2023 – Stage 15

First Tour de France Stage win for Super Domestique Poels

Stage 15: Les Gets les Portes du Soleil to Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc , 179km

Wout Poels takes solo win on Stage 15
Wout Poels takes solo win on Stage 15 © A.S.O. / Pauline Ballet

Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc, Sunday, July 16th  Bahrain – Victorious’ Wout Poels finally claimed a stage win at the Tour de France at the age of 35. The Dutchman, who has dedicated his career in the service of greats like Chris Froome is no stranger to being at the front of a race, just not so often come the finish. This day he was all alone on the line after dropping and holding off Wout Van Aert (Jumbo Visma) on the slopes of Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc. It is his best result since winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner 2016. His previous top result at Le Tour was third at Andorra in 2021.

Wout Poels, Stage Winner: “I really love this moment. I always dreamt of winning a stage in the Tour de France. Obviously, with Gino [Mäder’s death in June], it has a special meaning. It means a lot to win a stage in the Tour. It makes me super happy. I only started to believe in it in the final kilometres. I had to go full gas. It was amazing, amazing. Gino was helping me today. I thought I had the perfect approach to the Tour. I skipped the Dauphiné but I did pretty well at the Tour of Slovenia [9th] and the team took me to the Tour. They believed I could perform in the third week… and here I am. I really enjoyed my time with Team Sky. It was an incredible experience, but yet I never could fight for stage win. I could do it today and I’m very happy.”

There was barely enough tine to show Poels cross the line before attention was diverted seven minutes down slope to the slugging match between Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar. The Slovenian just could not shake off the Dane and must have felt the fates were against him when each attack was stymied by a quick response. At one point Pogacar had two lieutenants, Adan Yates and March Soler while Vingegaard had none but it still wasn’t enough. The rivals finally reached the line almost neck and neck and there was no change to the 10″ advantage held by Vingegaard on the GC.

Jonas Vingegaard, Maillot Jaune: “It has been yet another battle between the two of us. I guess it keeps getting better and better for the spectators! The team felt pretty good today, although we of course had this crash that affected some of my teammates. I hope everyone involved is well. Today I felt more in control than in previous days. We can be happy about the stage. I’d like to tell the spectators to enjoy the race and be there to cheer for us without standing on the road or pouring beers on us. Please, just enjoy the race. I’m happy there is a rest day coming. It will be very good for the legs. What will I do? Just chill and relax!”

The Trouble with Crowds

Fan related incidents that bring down riders are still mercifully uncommon but unhappily an over-enthusiastic selfie taker brought down a large number of riders at the 49km mark with Nathan van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma) and Egan Bernal (Ineos) involved. While van Hooydonck lay motionless for a while there was much relief when he was shown sitting up. Both riders finished the day.

Tour de France 2023 Stage 15 Profile
Tour de France 2023 Stage 15 Profile

Stage 15 Results and GC