Tour de France 2014: stage 15 - five observations

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Tour de France 2014: stage 15 – five observations

Alexander Kristoff proves his credentials as Simon Yates bows out after successful debut

Marcel Kittel’s frank assessment of stage 15 on Twitter reflected a disappointing day for Giant-Shimano, who having lost a man in Dries Devenyns, were simply outshone in the exhilarating finale.

Marcel Kittel could not add to his three stage wins but Giant-Shimano showed signs they are learning when it comes to the crosswinds (pic: Sirotti)

But there were further signs, at least, that this is a team ready to dominate the sprinting stage, as they effectively did when Kittel wrapped up a quick-fire hat-trick of stage wins in week one.

Time and again Giant-Shimano have been caught out en masse by the crosswinds – Tour de France 2013, Town Down Under 2014, Tirreno-Adriatico 2014… when the winds whip up the Dutch team are too often spat straight out the back of the bunch.

On stage six in Reims it was a similar story – Kittel finding himself completely devoid of team-mates and lacking the legs for a solo sprint in the lead group.

However, while the team showed little of themselves during the frantic chase at the end of stage 15, for once they were not caught out by the elements.

Where Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Alessandro de Marchi (Cannondale) and Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar) lost contact with the back of the bunch, Kittel stayed safe.

The wet roads meant the sprint did not exactly go to plan, but the lessons in how to deal with the crosswinds at least seem to finally be paying off.

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