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Magnus Cort Nielsen wins Stage 15, Geraint Thomas keeps overall lead at Tour de France

Denmark's Magnus Cort Nielsen clenches his fist as he crosses the finish line to win the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 181.5 kilometers (112.8 miles) with start in Millau and finish in Carcassonne, France, France, Sunday July 22, 2018. (Peter Dejong / Associated Press)
Denmark's Magnus Cort Nielsen clenches his fist as he crosses the finish line to win the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 181.5 kilometers (112.8 miles) with start in Millau and finish in Carcassonne, France, France, Sunday July 22, 2018. (Peter Dejong / Associated Press)

CARCASSONNE, France – Magnus Cort Nielsen of Denmark sprinted away from two other challengers to win Stage 15 of the Tour de France on Sunday, while Geraint Thomas had no trouble holding the overall lead for a fourth consecutive day.

Cort Nielsen, who rides for Astana, claimed his first career win at the Tour after staying ahead of Ion Izagirre and Bauke Mollema in a sprint over the final 200 meters. Cort Nielsen finished the hilly 181.5-kilometer (112.7-mile) leg from Millau that ended in a long descent to Carcassonne in 4 hours, 25 minutes.

Thomas in the yellow jersey, second-placed Chris Froome, and the rest of the overall contenders arrived at Carcassonne and its medieval city walls 13 minutes after the stage winner.

Thomas kept his advantage of 1 minute, 39 seconds over teammate and defending champion Froome before the race’s second rest day on Monday.

“We were always in control,” Thomas said. “We were always in the right place, and it’s a good day to get done.”

That pause precedes three mountain stages in the Pyrenees, followed by the individual time trial on the penultimate day of the race.

“There are three big, big days left, and then the time trial, so (I) just take each day as it comes and we will see what happens,” Thomas said.


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