Roglič had to drop out prior to the start of stage 15: “To let my injuries heal, we decided I will not start today. I’m proud of my contribution to the current standings and I’m confident that the team will achieve its yellow and green ambitions. I want to thank everyone for their support.”
Steven Kruijswijk fell heavily during the stage and left the race in an ambulance with unspecified injuries.
After Kruijswijk’s crash, Van Aert returned to the peloton in the final and kept Vingegaard at the front. “We were told there was another demonstration”, Van Aert said. “I don’t know if it was because of that but suddenly there was chaos in the peloton. When Steven crashed, I could only just avoid him. I waited but it didn’t look good. Before I was back in the peloton, I saw all my teammates with Jonas. Those were hectic kilometres. We have to measure the damage and recover on the rest day.”
Van Aert eventually sprinted to second place, beaten just by Jasper Philipsen. “Jasper surprised me a bit in the inside corner. He did it smartly. I was in an excellent position but he was too strong for me today.”
Vingegaard only answered two questions in the post-stage press conference, underlining just how quickly he wanted the day to be over.
“As you say, they’re two very, very important teammates, two very, very strong riders, so of course, it’s not nice,” Vingegaard said. “It was quite a bad day for us but we’ll just keep on fighting all the way to Paris.”
“I’m OK,” he commented on his fall. “I have some road rash on my left side. I went down but I was quickly back up again, and I feel OK. Of course, I’m a bit sore but that’s how it is after a crash. All I know is Tiesj crashed in front of me and I couldn’t do anything. I just hope that Tiesj is OK. He crashed worse than me.”
The rest day will surely come in handy for the man in the maillot jaune. However, both Roglič and Kruijswijk will be missed by Vingegaard in the mountains. The peloton will enter the Pyrenees on Tuesday. What do you think will happen?