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Le Tour de France 2015, by Christian-Louis Éclimont

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The official Tour de France annual.

Le Tour de France 2015, by Christian-Louis Éclimont
Le Tour de France 2015, by Christian-Louis Éclimont
All images (c) PresseSports, courtesy of VSP

Le Tour de France 2015 - Christian-Louis Éclimont Title: Le Tour de France 2015 - The Official Review
Author: Christian-Louis Éclimont with an introduction by Christian Prudhomme (translation by Roland Glasser)
Publisher: Vision Sports Publishing
Year: 2015
Pages: 144
Order: Vision Sports Publishing
What it is: ASO's official Tour de France annual celebrating the 2015 edition of the Tour
Strengths: Well produced with the right mix of words and images
Weaknesses: It's the official Tour annual - don't expect any criticism of the race

Once upon a long time ago, every year used to see a new (English-language) book about the most recent edition of the Tour de France. Back in the bye-gone days between the years of the Pioneers and the years of the Foreign Legion, these tended to be put out by Kennedy Brothers, small volumes that told the story of the Tour in words and pictures. Then came the years when it fell to Sam Abt to annually tell you the story of the race. Through the Lance Armstrong era, it was John Wilcockson who picked up the torch. In between there had been occasional offerings from the likes of Geoffrey Nicholson, David Walsh, Jeremy Whittle and others but, by and large, if you wanted someone you could count on, year in, year out, it fell to the Kennedys, Abt and Wilcockson. And then...and then it stopped. There was the briefest of revivals in 2012, with a bazillion books being put out telling the story of Bradley Wiggins's win, from the official Sky book to some e-published efforts that didn't even have the saving grace of being able to be used as toilet paper. But that flurry of fresh Tour annuals was short lived as a summer fly. Now, though, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon, with Vision Sports Publishing (who previously brought us the Bjarne Riis autobiography) picking up the official ASO-produced Tour de France annual and making it available in English.

Written by Christian-Louis Éclimont - who has previously written about the Tour's chansons - Le Tour de France 2015 comes with the same production values we've come to expect of histories of the Tour such as those produced by Serge Laget for ASO, the book heavily weighted toward images, with each stage getting a page of text and three to five pages of images, with occasional interludes adding the perspective of history to the tale. Each stage comes with the day's profile, lists of the first fifteen riders on the stage and general classification as well as average speed for the stage, details of what riders abandoned on each stage, and the holders of the various jerseys.

Le Tour de France 2015 - Christian-Louis Éclimont
With the perspective of history, most everything can be forgiven, in time.

For Christian Prudhomme - who provides an introductory chapter - the 2015 Tour showed the many sides of Sky's Chris Froome:

"an anxious Froome who mounted his bike before the pavé stage to Cambrai; a slightly miffed Froome in Plumelec, where Sky had victory snatched from them by BMC by one second; a domineering Froome at La Pierre-Saint-Martin, where his show of strength stunned his rivals, yet didn't smother them; a focussed Froome who crossed the south of France; and finally a relieved Froome following an Alpine campaign marked by the clear erosion of his resources, despite his heading the general classification."

Le Tour de France 2015 - Christian-Louis Éclimont
Tony Martin, the latest victim of the Curse of the Yellow Jersey

The 2015 Tour opened with an incident packed first week. Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN) started the whole thing off, the Eritrean national champion the first rider to speed down the starting ramp for the Utrecht time trial (it was marginally too long to be called a prologue), which Rohan Dennis (BMC) won, restoring the link between the Tour and the Hour and setting a new top speed for a Tour TT (55.446 kph, bettering Chris Boardman's 55.152 kph set in 1994). There was the Zeeland raid on stage two, which saw Tinkoff and Etixx deliver a coup de bordure once the wind turned cross, ripping the peloton apart and consigning two of the four pre-race favourites - Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) - to the rear echelons, along with French hopeful Thibaut Pinot (FDJ). There was the twenty-minute neutralisation of the race on stage three, where Fabian Cancellara's (brief) reign in the yellow jersey was cut short by time lost to a crash. There was Froome laying to rest the notion that he couldn't ride cobbles on an otherwise surprise-free day on the pavé on stage four. There was André Greipel (Lotto - Soudal) for the second time in the race taking the victory salute, on a crash punctuated stage five, and strengthening his claim to be the Tour's top sprinter. There was the Curse of the Yellow Jersey on stage six, race leader Tony Martin (Etixx) crashing out of the Tour within a few hundred metres of the line. And on the seventh day Mark Cavendish (Etixx) finally pocketed his first Tour stage win since 2013, on a day when the peloton rode without a yellow jersey for the first time since 2007.

Le Tour de France 2015 - Christian-Louis Éclimont
One step closer to the record...

Stage General Classification
Stage 1
Saturday
July 4
Utrecht to Utrecht (ITT)
198 starters
198 finishers
1 Rohan Dennis
(Aus) BMC
14'56"
13.8 kms
55.446 kph
1 Rohan Dennis
(Aus) BMC
14'56"
2 Tony Martin
(Ger) Etixx
+0'05" 2 Tony Martin
(Ger) Etixx
+0'05"
3 Fabian Cancellara
(Sui) Trek
+0'06" 3 Fabian Cancellara
(Sui) Trek
+0'06"
18 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+0'41" 18 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+0'41"
20 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+0'42" 20 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+0'42"
22 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+0'43" 22 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+0'43"
39 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+0'50" 39 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+0'50"
46 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+0'58" 46 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+0'58"
57 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+1'01" 57 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+1'01"
198 Mikaël Cherel
(Fra) AG2R
+3'36"
Other classifications: Maillot Vert - Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC; Maillot à Pois - n/a; Maillot Blanc - Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC; Team - LottoNL
Stage 2
Sunday
July 5
Utrecht to Zeeland
198 starters
198 finishers
1 André Greipel
(Ger) Lotto - Soudal
3h29'03"
166 kms
47.644 kph
1 Fabian Cancellara
(Sui) Trek
3h44'01"
2 Peter Sagan
(Svk) Tinkoff
+0'00" 2 Tony Martin
(Ger) Etixx
+0'03"
3 Fabian Cancellara
(Sui) Trek
+0'00" 3 Tom Dumoulin
(Ned) Giant
+0'06"
7 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+0'00" 8 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+0'44"
11 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+0'04" 10 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+0'48"
13 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+0'04" 14 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+1'00"
47 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+1'28" 31 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+2'07"
49 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+1'28" 33 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+2'09"
56 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+1"28" 44 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
2'27"
198 Brice Feillu
(Fra) Bretagne
+13'32
Other competitions: Maillot Vert - André Greipel (Ger) Lotto - Soudal; Maillot à Pois - ; Maillot Blanc - Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant; Team - BMC; Combativité - Michał Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx
Stage 3
Monday
July 6
Antwerp to Huy
198 starters
194 finishers
1 Joaquim Rodríguez
(Esp) Katusha
3h26'54
159.5 kms
46.254 kph
1 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
7h11'37"
2 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+0'00" 2 Tony Martin
(Ger) Etixx
+0'01"
3 Alexis Vuillermoz
(Fra) AG2R
+0'04" 3 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+0'13"
6 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+0'11" 8 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+0'36"
7 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+0'11" 13 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+1'38"
9 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+0'11" 17 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+1'56"
12 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+0'18" 27 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+2'58"
52 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+1'33" 194 Michael Matthews
(Aus) Orica
+26'56"
Classified climbs: Côte de Bohissau (220m) neutralised; Côte d'Ereffe (258m) Michael Schär (Sui) BMC; Côte de Cherave (195m) Rafał Majka (Pol) Tinkoff; Mur de Huy (204m) Joaquim Rodríguez (Esp) Katusha
Other competitions: Maillot Vert - André Greipel (Ger) Lotto - Soudal; Maillot à Pois - Joaquim Rodríguez (Esp) Katusha; Maillot Blanc - Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff; Team - BMC; Combativité - Jan Bárta (Cze) Bora
Stage 4
Tuesday
July 7
Seraing to Cambrai
191 starters
191 finishers
1 Tony Martin
(Ger) Etixx
5h28'58"
223.5 kms
40.764 kph
1 Tony Martin
(Ger) Etixx
12h40'26"
2 John Degenkolb
(Ger) Giant
+0'03" 2 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+0'12"
3 Peter Sagan
(Svk) Tinkoff
+0'03" 3 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+0'25"
15 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+0'03" 8 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+0'48"
17 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+0'03" 13 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+1'50"
19 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+0'03" 17 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+2'08"
23 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+0'03" 30 Thibaut Pinto
(Fra) FDJ
+6'03"
24 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+0'03" 191 Michael Matthews
(Aus) Orica
+43'58"
68 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+3'23"
Classified climbs: Côte de la Citadelle de Namur (181m) Thomas de Gendt (Bel) Lotto - Soudal
Other competitions: Maillot Vert - André Greipel (Ger) Lotto - Soudal ; Maillot à Pois - Joaquim Rodríguez (Esp) Katusha; Maillot Blanc - Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff; Team - BMC; Combativité - Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana
Stage 5
Wednesday
July 8
Arras (Communauté Urbaine) to Amiens (Amiens Métropole)
191 starters
189 finishers
1 André Greipel
(Ger) Lotto - Soudal
4h39'00"
189.5 kms
40.753 kph
1 Tony Martin
(Ger) Etixx
17h19'26"
2 Peter Sagan
(Svk) Tinkoff
+0'00" 2 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+0'12"
3 Mark Cavendish
(GBr) Etixx
+0'00" 3 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+0'25"
19 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+0'00" 8 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+0'48"
28 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+0'00" 13 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+1'50"
32 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+0'00" 17 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+2'08"
34 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+0'00" 30 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+6'30"
40 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+0'00" 189 Michael Matthews
(Aus) Orica
+58'13"
57 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+0'00"
Other competitions: Maillot Vert - André Greipel (Ger) Lotto - Soudal; Maillot à Pois - Joaquim Rodríguez (Esp) Katusha; Maillot Blanc - Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff; Team - BMC; Combativité - Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica
Stage 6
Thursday
July 9
Abbeville to Le Havre
188 starters
188 finishers
1 Zdeněk Štybar
(Cze) Etixx
4h53'46"
191.5 kms
39.113 kph
1 Tony Martin
(Ger) Etixx
22h13'14"
2 Peter Sagan
(Svk) Tinkoff
+0'02" 2 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+0'12"
3 Bryan Coquard
(Fra) Europcar
+0'02" 3 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+0'25"
16 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+0'02" 8 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+0'48"
33 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+0'02" 13 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+1'50"
38 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+0'02" 17 Nairo Quintana
(Esp) Movistar
+2'08"
40 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+0'02" 30 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+6'30"
92 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+0'02" 188 Michael Matthews
(Aus) Orica
+1h01'31"
110 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+0'02"
Classified climbs: Côte de Dieppe (85m) Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) MTN; Côte de Pourville-Sure-Mer (95m) Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) MTN; Côte du Tilleul (105m) Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) MTN
Other competitions: Maillot Vert - André Greipel (Ger) Lotto - Soudal; Maillot à Pois - Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) MTN; Maillot Blanc - Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff; Team - BMC; Combativité - Perrig Quéméneur (Fra) Europcar
Stage 7
Friday
July 10
Livarot to Fougéres
186 starters
186 finishers
1 Mark Cavendish
(GBr) Etixx
4h27'25"
190.5 kms
42.742 kph
1 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
26h40'51
2 André Greipel
(Ger) Lotto - Soudal
+0'00" 2 Peter Sagan
(Svk) Tinkoff
+0'11"
3 Peter Sagan
(Svk) Tinkoff
+0'00" 3 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+0'13"
23 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+0'00" 7 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+0'36"
24 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+0'00" 12 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+1'38"
36 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+0'00" 16 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+1'56"
46 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+0'00" 29 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+6'18"
60 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+0'00" 186 Michael Matthews
(Aus) Orica
1h02'14"
67 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+0'00"
Classified climbs: Côte de Canapville (210m) Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) MTN
Other competitions: Maillot Vert - André Greipel (Ger) Lotto - Soudal; Maillot à Pois - Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) MTN; Maillot Blanc - Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff; Team - BMC ; Combativité - Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Bretagne

Through the first week France's much vaunted nouvelle vague had been swept away, with Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) starting the second week with a six minute handicap. But in Brittany French honour was restored when Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R) took the first stage victory for France on the Mûr-de-Bretagne at the end of stage eight. Stage nine saw the 22 injury-depleted teams tackle the team time trial and it was BMC who came out on top, strengthening the claim of team leader Tejay van Garderen that the Fantastic Four pre-race favourites should have been the Famous Five. But after a rest day in Pau Froome all but rendered that debate moot, storming to victory on the slopes of La Pierre-Saint-Martin on Bastille Day:

"Suddenly, as if deciding he'd simply had enough of his opponents' caprices, the maillot jaune attacked 6 km from the summit. As he flew up the road in his distinctive style, it was, as usual, impossible to tell from his contorted body and grimaces whether he was on the verge of exploding or imploding. Crossing the line solo, a beaming Froome raised his arms in celebration, the most expressive we've seen him in one and a half weeks. Behind him [team-mate] Richie Porte chased down Quintana for second place - a move intended to deny the Colombian his six-second bonus."

After such an opening Pyrenean offensive the second day in the Pyrénées was somewhat subdued while the third saw a lethargic peloton tackle the Plateau de Beille in rain that would take its toll on some as the race progressed. The first phase of high mountains was followed by four transition days leading up to the edge of the Alps and the second rest day, during which time Froome's lead went undiminished, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) managed to bring his tally of second places to five and Greipel his tally of stage wins to three.

Stage General Classification
Stage 8
Saturday
July 11
Rennes to Mûr de Bretagne
185 starters
185 finishers
1 Alexis Vuillermoz
(Fra) AG2R
4h20'55"
181.5 kms
41.737 kph
1 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
31h01'56"
2 Daniel Martin (Irl) Cannondale +0'05" 2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff +0'11"
3 Alejandro Valverde
(Esp) Movistar
+0'10" 3 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+0'13"
8 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+0'10" 7 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+0'36"
10 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+0'10" 13 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+1'48"
14 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+0'10" 16 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+1'56"
17 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+0'10" 29 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+6'33"
30 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+0'20" 185 Michael Matthews
(Aus) Orica
1h11'13"
32 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+0'25"
Classified climbs: Col du Mont Bel-Air (336m) Romain Sicard (Fra) Europcar; Côte de Mûr-de-Bretagne ( 293m) Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R
Other competitions: Maillot Vert - Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff; Maillot à Pois - Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) MTN; Maillot Blanc - Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff; Team - BMC; Combativité - Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Bora
Stage 9
Sunday
July 12
Vannes to Plumelec (TTT)
185 starters
185 finishers
1 BMC 32'15"
28 kms
52.093 kph
1 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
31h34'12"
2 Sky +0'01" 2 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+0'12"
3 Movistar +0'04" 3 Greg van Avermaet
(Bel) BMC
+0'27"
4 Tinkoff +0'28" 5 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+1'03"
5 Astana +0'35" 9 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+1'59"
14 FDJ +1'33" 13 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+2'22"
29 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+8'05"
185 Michael Matthews
(Aus) Orica
+1h16'01"
Other competitions: Maillot Vert - Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff; Maillot à Pois - Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) MTN; Maillot Blanc - Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff; Team - BMC; Combativité - n/a
Monday
July 13
Pau Jour de repos
Stage 10
Tuesday
July 14
Tarbes to La Pierre-Saint-Martin
183 starters
183 finishers
1 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
4h22'07"
167 kms
38.227 kph
1 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
35h56'09"
2 Richie Porte
(Aus) Sky
+0'59" 2 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+2'52"
3 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+1'04" 3 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+3'09"
10 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+2'30" 6 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+4'04"
11 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+2'51" 10 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+6'57"
21 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+4'25" 27 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+18'18"
49 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+10'03" 183 Michael Matthews
(Aus) Orica
+1h42'47"
Classified climbs: Côte de Bougarber (257m) Kenneth van Bilsen (Bel) Cofidis; Côte de Vielleségure (255m) Kenneth van Bilsen (Bel) Cofidis; Côte de Montory (374m) Kenneth van Bilsen (Bel); La Pierre-Saint-Martin (1,540m) Chris Froome (GBr) Sky
Other competitions: Maillot Vert - André Greipel (Ger) Lotto - Soudal; Maillot à Pois - Chris Froome (GBr) Sky; Maillot Blanc - Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar; Team - Sky; Combativité - Kenneth van Bilsen (Bel) Cofidis
Stage 11
Wednesday
July 15
Pau to Cauterets (Vallée de Saint-Savin)
183 starters
177 finishers
1 Rafał Majka
(Pol) Tinkoff
5h02'01"
188 kms
37.349 kph
1 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
41h03'21"
2 Daniel Martin
(Irl) Cannondale
+1'00" 2 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+2'52"
3 Emanuel Buchmann
(Ger) Bora
+1'23" 3 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+3'09"
9 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+5'21" 6 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+4'04"
10 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+5'21" 11 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+7'47"
11 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+5'21" 35 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+34'4"
13 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+5'21" 177 Michael Matthews
(Aus) Orica
+2h04'14"
23 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+6'11"
87 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+21'44"
Classified climbs: Côte de Loucrup (530m) Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Europcar; Côte de Bagnères-de-Bigorre (644m) Steve Morabito (Sui) FDJ; Côte de Mauvezin (501m) Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) MTN; Col d'Aspin (1,490m) Daniel Martin (Irl) Cannondale; Col du Tourmalet (2,115m) Rafał Majka (Pol) Tinkoff; Côte de Cauterets (817m) Rafał Majka (Pol) Tinkoff
Other competitions: Maillot Vert - Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff; Maillot à Pois - Chris Froome (GBr) Sky; Maillot Blanc - Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar; Team - Sky; Combativité - Daniel Martin (Irl) Cannondale; Souvenir Jacques Goddet (Col du Tourmalet) - Rafał Majka (Pol) Tinkoff
Stage 12
Thursday
July 16
Lannemezan to Plateau de Beille
175 starters
175 finishers
1 Joaquim Rodríguez
(Esp) Katusha
5h40'14"
195 kms
34.388 kph
1 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
46h50'32"
2 Jakob Fuglsang
(Den) Astana
+1'12" 2 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+2'52'
3 Romain Bardet
(Fra) AG2R
+1'49" 3 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+3'09"
10 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+6'47" 6 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+4'04"
11 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+6'47" 9 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+7'47"
12 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+6'47" 24 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+34'41"
13 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+6'47" 175 Michael Matthews
(Aus) Orica
+2h34'2"
14 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+6'47"
16 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+6'47"
Classified climbs: Col de Portet-d'Aspet (1,069m) Georg Preidler (Aut) Giant; Col de la Core (1,395m) Kristijan Đurasek (Cro) Lampre; Port de Lers (1,517m) Michał Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx; Plateau de Beille (1,780m) Joaquim Rodríguez (Esp) Katusha
Other competitions: Maillot Vert - Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff; Maillot à Pois - Chris Froome (GBr) Sky; Maillot Blanc - Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar; Team - Movistar; Combativité - Michał Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx
Stage 13
Friday
July 17
Muret to Rodez
175 starters
175 finishers
1 Greg van Avermaet
(Bel) BMC
4h43'42"
198.5 kms
41.981 kph
1 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
51h34'21"
2 Peter Sagan
(Svk) Tinkoff
+0'00" 2 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+2'52"
3 Jan Bakelants
(Bel) AG2R
+0'03" 3 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+3'09"
6 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+0'07" 6 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+4'04"
7 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+0'07" 9 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+7'47"
8 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+0'07" 22 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+35'16"
10 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+0'07" 175 Sam Bennett
(Irl) Bora
+2h43'06"
12 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+0'07"
32 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+0'42"
Classified climbs: Côte de Saint-Cirgue (422m) Thomas de Gendt (Bel) Lotto - Soudal; Côte de la Pomparie (578m) Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ; Côte de la Selve (661m) Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team LottoNL
Other competitions: Maillot Vert - Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff; Maillot à Pois - Chris Froome (GBr) Sky; Maillot Blanc - Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar; Team - Movistar; Combativité - Thomas de Gendt (Bel) Lotto - Soudal
Stage 14
Saturday
July 18
Rodez to Mende
175 starters
172 finishers
1 Stephen Cummings
(GBr) MTN
4h23'43
178.5 kms
40.612 kph
1 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
56h02'19"
2 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+0'02" 2 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+3'10"
3 Romain Bardet
(Fra) AG2R
+0'03" 3 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+3'32"
20 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+4'15" 5 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+4'23"
21 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+4'16" 8 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+8'17"
23 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+4'34" 17 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+30'57"
24 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+4'45" 172 Sam Bennett
(Irl) Bora
+2h59'08"
25 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+4'55"
Classified climbs: Côte de Pont-de-Salars (780m) Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Bora; Côte de Sauveterre (1,014m) Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ; Côte de Chabrits (899m) Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale; Côte de la Croix Neuve (1,055m) Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
Other competitions: Maillot Vert - Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff ; Maillot à Pois - Chris Froome (GBr) Sky; Maillot Blanc - Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar; Team - Movistar; Combativité - Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fra) Bretagne
Stage 15
Sunday
July 19
Mende to Valence
172 starters
171 finishers
1 André Greipel
(Ger) Lotto - Soudal
3h56'35"
183 kms
46.411 kph
1 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
59h58'54"
2 John Degenkolb
(Ger) Giant
+0'00" 2 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+3'10"
3 Alexander Kristoff
(Nor) Katusha
+0'00" 3 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+3'32"
23 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+0'00" 5 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+4'23"
25 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+0'00" 8 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+8'17"
30 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+0'00" 17 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+30'57"
49 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+0'00" 171 Sam Bennett
(Irl) Nora
52 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+0'00"
54 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+0'00"
Classified climbs: Côte de Badaroux (1,011m) Serge Pauwels (Bel) MTN; Col du Bez (1,223m) Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ; Col de la Croix de Bauzon (1,308m) Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff; Col de l'Escrinet (787m) Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
Other competitions: Maillot Vert - Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff; Maillot à Pois - Chris Froome (GBr) Sky; Maillot Blanc - Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar; Team - Movistar; Combativité - Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff
Stage 16
Monday
July 20
Bourg-de-Péage to Gap
170 starters
169 finishers
1 Ruben Plaza Molina
(Esp) Lampre
4h30'10"
201 kms
44.639 kph
1 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
64h47'16"
2 Peter Sagan
Svk) Tinkoff
+0'30" 2 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+3'10"
3 Jarlinson Pantano
(Col) IAM
+0'36" 3 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+3'32"
24 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+17'44" 5 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+4'23"
25 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+18'12" 8 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+7'49"
28 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+18'12" 19 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+31'54"
30 Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
+18'12" 169 Sam Bennett
(Irl) Bora
+3h27'13"
32 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+18'12"
46 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+19'09"
Classified climbs: Col de Cabre (1,180m) Serge Pauwels (Bel) MTN; Col de Manse (1,268m) Ruben Plaza Molina (Esp) Lampre
Other competitions: Maillot Vert - Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff ; Maillot à Pois - Chris Froome (GBr) Sky; Maillot Blanc - Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar; Team - Movistar; Combativité - Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff
Tuesday
July 21
Gap Jour de repos

"There are those who bemoan modern cycling, a world obsessed with comparative performance indicators and power output curves. They cast a nostalgic gaze back to a not-so-distant past when man attacked mountain with nothing but a steel bicycle and true grit; when the only data available were the time-gaps shouted by spectators with stopwatches. They would say that Bernard Thévenet's devouring of The Cannibal, Eddy Merckx, on the overheated slopes of Pra-Loup in 1975 was a case in point. Thévenet would win the Tour. Merckx would never wear yellow again."

Le Tour de France 2015 - Christian-Louis Éclimont
The Col d'Allos

When the Tour resumed after its Gap day of rest, it was with a stage to one of the holiest of altars in cycling, Pra-Loup, where Merckx suffered a défaillance forty years before and the Cannibal's reign of terror was brought to an end. Anyone hoping for the same to happen to Froome was sorely disappointed, he ending the seventeenth stage with his grip on the Tour's throat tightening: Van Garderen DNFed, taken by the dreaded lurgy, and only Quintana lingered as any kind of threat, though with the clock ticking down and the mountains running out where he was going to find the three minutes and more he needed to take the maillot jaune was questionable. When again nothing changed on the eighteenth stage - where the race climbed the photogenic Lacets de Montvernier and Romain Bardet (AG2R) took France's second stage win - it seemed unclear whether Quintana's directeur sportif Eusebio Unzué was willing to gamble all for the glory of the maillot jaune or had already settled for the consolation prize of having two riders on the lower steps of the podium (his Colombian vedette and the ageing Spaniard Alejandro Valverde).

Three days out from Paris and on the penultimate day in the mountains, Froome and his Sky team-mates finally showed signs of weakness. Geraint Thomas - Froome's new Richie Port - cracked and tumbled down the GC and Quintana, for the first time in the whole Tour, managed to put time into Froome, though having left his attack until six kilometres from home he had to settle for little more than a pocketful of loose change, 30 seconds on the road and another two in bonifications. With only the Croix de Fer and Alpe d'Huez to climb on the Tour's final Saturday, the Colombian still needed more than two and a half minutes if he wanted to exchange his best young rider's white jersey for the yellow of overall victor. For defending champion Nibali - who had long since surrendered any hopes of back-to-back wins - it was a happy day, of sorts: not only did he win the stage but he added fuel to the fire burning between him and Froome, the Italian thumbing his nose at Tour etiquette and attacking when the Briton stopped briefly to remove a stone from his brakes.

And then came the grand finale, Alpe d'Huez, the Tour's Hollywood climb, where Quintana hoped Froome would be seeing stars after he delivered his knockout blow. When it came, Froome was left reeling, but the Movistar rider had left it too late and the bells of the Alpe's Église Notre Dame des Neiges tolled his doom, the Colombian only recovering half of his deficit, still 72 seconds shy of yellow as the real racing came to an end and the riders prepared for the victory parade that is the final stage of the Tour to the Champs-Élysées.

Stage General Classification
Stage 17
Wednesday
July 22
Digne-les-Bains to Pra-Loup
168 starters
163 finishers
1 Simon Geschke (Ger)
Giant
4h12'17"
161 kms
38.290 kph
1 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
69h06'49"
2 Andrew Talansky
(USA) Cannondale
+0'32" 2 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+3'10"
3 Rigoberto Urán
(Col) Etixx
+1'01" 3 Alejandro Valverde
(Esp) Movistar
+4'09"
4 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+1'36" 5 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+6'40"
18 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+7'16" 7 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+8'04"
20 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+7'16" 18 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+21'14"
22 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+7'31 163 Sébastien Chavanel
(Fra) FDJ
+3h33'49"
31 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+9'33"
DNF Tejay van Garderen
(USA) BMC
Classified climbs: Col des Lèques (1,148m) Rafał Majka (Pol) Tinkoff; Col de Toutes Aures (1,124m) Serge Pauwels (Bel) MTN; Col de la Colle-Saint-Michel (1,431m) Serge Pauwels (Bel) MTN; Col d'Allos (2,250m) Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant; Pra-Loup (1,620m) Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant
Other competitions: Maillot Vert - Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff; Maillot à Pois - Chris Froome (GBr) Sky; Maillot Blanc - Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar; Team - Movistar; Combativité - Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant; Souvenir Henri Desgrange (Col d'Allos) - Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant
Stage 18
Thursday
July 23
Gap to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne
162 starters
161 finishers
1 Romain Bardet
(Fra) AG2R
5h03'40"
186.5 kms
36.850 kph
1 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
74h13'31"
2 Pierre Rolland
(Fra) Europcar
+0'33" 2 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+3'10"
3 Winner Anacona
(Col) Movistar
+0'59" 3 Alejandro Valverde
(Esp) Movistar
+4'09"
12 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+3'02" 5 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+6'40"
15 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+3'02" 7 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+8'04"
17 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+3'02" 16 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+39'24"
18 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+3'02" 161 Sébastien Chavanel
(Fra) FDJ
+4h36'08"
44 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+16'12"
Classified climbs: Col Bayard (1,264m) Joaquim Rodríguez (Esp) Katusha; Rampe du Motty (982m) Joaquim Rodríguez (Esp) Katusha; Côte de la Mure (803m) Joaquim Rodríguez (Esp) Katusha; Col de Malissol (1,153m) Joaquim Rodríguez (Esp) Katusha; Col de la Morte (1,368m) Joaquim Rodríguez (Esp) Katusha; Col du Glandon (1,924m) Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R; Lacets de Montvernier (782m) Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R
Other competitions: Maillot Vert - Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff; Maillot à Pois - Joaquim Rodríguez (Esp) Katusha; Maillot Blanc - Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar; Team - Movistar; Combativité - Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R
Stage 19
Friday
July 24
Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to La Toussuire (Les Sybelles)
160 starters
160 finishers
1 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
4h22'53"
138 kms
31.497 kph
1 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
78h37'34"
2 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+0'44" 2 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+2'38"
3 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+1'14" 3 Alejandro Valverde
(Esp) Movistar
+5'25"
4 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+1'14" 4 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+6'44"
9 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+1'14" 5 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+7'56"
16 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+40'40"
160 Sébastien Chavanel
(Fra) FDJ
+4h34'40"
Classified climbs: Col du Chaussy (1,533m) Joaquim Rodríguez (Esp) Katusha; Col de la Croix de Fer (2,067m) Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar; Col du Mollard (1,638m) Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar; La Toussuire (1,705m) Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana
Other competitions: Maillot Vert - Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff; Maillot à Pois - Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R; Maillot Blanc - Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar; Team - Movistar; Combativité - Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar
Stage 20
Saturday
July 25
Modane Valfréjus to Alpe d'Huez
160 starters
160 finishers
1 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
3h17'21"
110.5 kms
33.595 kph
1 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
81h56'33"
2 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+0'18" 2 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+1'12"
3 Ryder Hesjedal
(Can) Cannondale
+0'41" 3 Alejandro Valverde
(Esp) Movistar
+5'25"
5 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+1'38" 4 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+8'36"
15 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+3'30" 5 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+9'48"
16 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+3'30" 16 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+38'52"
Classified climbs: Col de la Croix de Fer (2,067m) Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ; Alpe d'Huez (1,850m) Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
Other competitions: Maillot Vert - Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff; Maillot à Pois - Chris Froome (GBr) Sky; Maillot Blanc - Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar; Team - Movistar; Combativité - Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ
Stage 21
Sunday
July 26
Sèvres (Grand Paris Seine Ouest) to Paris (Champs-Élysées)
160 starters
160 finishers
1 André Greipel (Ger)
Lotto - Soudal
2h49'41"
109.5 kms
38.719 kph
1 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
84h46'14"
3,360 kms
39.640 kph
2 Bryan Coquard
(Fra) Europcar
+0'00" 2 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+1'12"
3 Alexander Kristoff
(Nor) Katusha
+0'00" 3 Alejandro Valverde
(Esp) Movistar
+5'25"
29 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+0'00" 4 Vincenzo Nibali
(Ita) Astana
+8'36"
84 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+0'00" 5 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+9'48"
91 Alberto Contador
(Esp) Tinkoff
+0'00" 16 Thibaut Pinot
(Fra) FDJ
+38'52"
136 Chris Froome
(GBr) Sky
+0'00" 160 Sébastien Chavanel
(Fra) FDJ
+4h56'59"
142 Nairo Quintana
(Col) Movistar
+0'00"
Classified climbs: Côte de l'Observatoire (138m) Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre
Other competitions: Maillot Vert - Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff; Maillot à Pois - Chris Froome (GBr) Sky; Maillot Blanc - Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar; Team - Movistar; Super Combativité - Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R

"It was a breathtaking end to a gripping race. Greipel claimed his fourth stage win of the Tour. Sagan won his fourth Green jersey competition. Quintana wore white and stood on the podium for the second time in his career, and Chris Froome sealed the deal on both the maillot jaune and the polka dot jersey. He had suffered in the way only a champion can, parrying attacks from his valiant opponents in the peloton, his critics in the press, and, unfortunately, from the occasional hooligan on the roadside. But Froome rose to every challenge, becoming the first British rider to win the Tour de France twice, and the ultimate victor of one of the greatest editions of the Grande Boucle ever raced."

Le Tour de France 2015 - Christian-Louis Éclimont
The thin yellow line

The hyperbole of that final paragraph aside - this is an official ASO production and, as with the Olympic Games, it is now the custom to claim the event's latest edition the greatest - Le Tour de France 2015 is an enjoyable romp through a Tour that, while it may not have been the greatest, didn't fail to entertain. Yes, a more forensic book would discuss events off the bike - not just Froome's "critics in the press" and "the occasional hooligan on the roadside" only briefly hinted at by Éclimont but the temper tantrums reputedly thrown by various riders and other such stories behind the story - but I don't really expect an annual like this to tell that side of the tale. This is a book you pick up primarily for the images with the words acting to jog your memory about the events they depict. This is a book that celebrates the Tour de France. A book that reminds you the Tour is worth celebrating.