The Tour de France stage 14 was a reality check about the current fatigue within the peloton. With the rest day coming a day after, the sprinters and their team could however find some last ditch energy to finally get a sprint.
Michael Matthews took the win and nobody can argue that he did not deserve it. You can read our Tour de France Stage 14 report or watch the full stage.
Tour de France 2022 – stage 15 preview
The riders start in Rodez and finishes in Carcassone where Mark Cavendish equalled Eddy Merck’s 34 victories last year.
This last stage before the rest-day looks the easiest one of the week. Promised to the sprinters, it will firstly go down as to how much their team-mates have left in the legs. Secondly, 202,5 km in a horrible temperature if 40 degrees is not something everyone can handle.
The stage has only 2 categorised climbs (both at 3) but the remaining terrain is not the flattest. The start will be the theatre of some ruthless savage moves like we have seen these past days. On their toes with Pogacar threatening to attack, Team Jumbo Visma might try to set a high pace that will make life sour for the pure sprinters. The Dutch team cannot control the whole 202,5 km and will have to allow a group to get away at some point before the first categorised climb after 60 km.
It is difficult to predict whether the winner will come from the breakaway, a bunch sprint or a reduced peloton. It will largely depend on the composition of the break away. The attitude of the sprint teams will be related to that too. Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl, BikeExchange, Alpecin-Deceuninck and Trek-Segafredo, fed up by the form of Wout Van Aert, will be inspired by the last two stages and try something different.
There is a sharp 90 turn at the flamme rouge and another one, though less drastic at 500m. Both would be pivotal in case of a bunch sprint.
Stage 15 predictions
★☆☆☆☆ Florian Senechal; Fabio Jakobsen
On paper Quick Step Alpha Vinyl would prefer to bring Fabio Jakobsen to a sprint. Patrick Lefevere is an intelligent who would still be wary of the final categorised climb at 50km where Jakobsen could be dropped. A backup plan with the French Champion, Florian Senechal in the break would be a wise move.
★★☆☆☆ Dylan Groenewegen
He seems like the best climber among the sprinters. Team Bike Exchange could decide to take it on in the final climb to get rid of Ewan and Jakobsen; except that this would also mean bringing Wout van Aert to sofa win.
★★☆☆☆ Jasper Philipsen
Just like Groenewegen, his team could put other sprinters in trouble. Should he be brought to the finish, he still need to beat Wout Van Aert among others.
★★★☆☆ Wout Van Aert
His chance depends more on the effort the other sprinter’s team are willing to put in to bring their sprinters and the untrappable green jersey to the finish.
★★★★☆ Magnus Cort Nielsen Dns
Jonathan Vaughters is heartbroken after Alberto Bettiol was only beaten by an unbelievable performance from Michael Matthews.
After some early struggle with half the team sick, they seem like the one to decide stage like tomorrow. Galvanised by his first Tour de France, Mads Pedersen could also go in the break and repeat his performance of 2 days ago. He could also ask his team to ride hard enough to drop as many sprinters as they could in the last 50 km as he feels confident enough to beat Wout Van Aert.
Jasper Stuyven is another card they can play. His best chances remains of him infiltrating the breakaway and using his decent climbing abilities to get rid of the sprinters before beating to a sprint whoever is left.
Jamais 2 sans 3? Can Quinn Simmons make it three days in a row in the break away with a fairy tale outcome this time.
Bauke Mollema will be disappointed with his performance on stage 14. he did save some energy to be able to go again. If he gets in the break again, his will force things at 50 km from the finish.
Tom Skujins has had a horrible week due to sickness, he seems better and will fancy going in the breakaway.
★★★★★ MADS PEDERSEN is his team’s best chance from any scenario. He was head and shoulders above his breakaway companion two days ago and he will still be.
With A LeadOut feeling very uncertain about the outcome of this stage, fellow Gsipp00 top 5 predictions is a very interesting one that should be considered:
★ Taco Van Der Hoorn
★★ Fred Wright
★★★ Nick Schultz
★★★★ Jasper Stuyven
★★★★★ Wout Van Aert
An exclusive post for Cycling today by A LeadOut