Kuss wins 15th stage of Tour de France as Pogacar retains lead
ANDORRA, July 11 (Reuters) – Sepp Kuss of the United States claimed his first solo Tour de France victory on stage 15 as defending champion Tadej Pogacar was barely disturbed during the mountain hike from 191.3 km from CÃ©ret to Andorra on Sunday.
The Jumbo-Visma rider prevailed in the breakaway of the day thanks to a fierce attack on the last climb before pushing Alejandro Valverde back on the descent to the finish, the veteran Spain taking second place 23 seconds behind.
Dutchman Wout Poels was third, 1:15 off pace before Pogacar and his main opponents crossed the 4:51 line behind Kuss.
Pogacar enters Monday’s rest day with a five-minute and 18-second lead over Colombian Rigoberto Uran, while Dane Jonas Vingegaard is in third place 14 seconds behind.
Frenchman Guillaume Martin, who had climbed to second place thanks to his presence in the breakaway on Saturday, was left behind in the descent from Port d’Envalira, at 2,408 meters the highest point of this year’s Tour.
He was unable to return to the field of contenders for the general standings before the ascent of the Col de Beixalis (6.4 km at 8.5%), where Pogacar’s rivals tried to destabilize the Slovenian.
Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz was the first attacker, but he was easily overpowered by Pogacar, who also had little trouble keeping up with Uran and Vingegaard when they briefly jumped.
Report by Julien Pretot; Editing by Peter Graff and Christian Radnedge
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