NIMES, France – The contrast could not have been greater.
Garmin-Sharp rider Jack Bauer of New Zealand was slumped against a railing, in tears, teammates patting his back. Nearby, Alexander Kristoff of Norway was receiving hugs of congratulations for his second stage victory of this year’s Tour de France.
Bauer was part of a two-man breakaway for almost the entirety of Sunday’s 15th stage and put away IAM Cycling’s Martin Elmiger of Switzerland in the final run to the finish line.
Bauer looked to his side and saw Katusha rider Kristoff and others. Over the course of about 25 yards, or seven pedal strokes for Kristoff, Bauer went from dreams of a stage victory to 10th place in the 137.9-mile journey from Tallard to Nimes.
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“I really gave it absolutely everything — and, as you can see from my meltdown at the finish, I was pretty disappointed to come away empty-handed,” Bauer said.
Elmiger finished 16th.
Kristoff won in 4 hours, 56 minutes, 43 seconds.
Discussing Bauer and Elmiger, Kristoff said, “Of course, that’s a pity for them, but I don’t feel sorry for them.”
Italian Vincenzo Nibali of the Astana team leads Movistar rider Alejandro Valverde of Spain by 4 minutes, 37 seconds in the overall race.
Monday is a rest day and the 21-stage event ends Sunday in Paris.