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Dublin: 4 °C Sunday 15 December, 2019
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Sprint finish: Sanchez races clear to avoid drawing pin drama and puncture mayhem

French television has reported that pins were scattered across the final descent, leading to major disruptions.

Luis Leon Sanchez celebrates his win after an excellent ride during Stage 14.
Luis Leon Sanchez celebrates his win after an excellent ride during Stage 14.
Image: AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani

Result: Luis Leon Sanchez of the Rabobank team took the stage win after powering clear from the 10-man tete-de-la course. There was a huge amount of controversy during the race after the final descent seemed to have been sprinkled with drawing pins, leading to punctures to riders such as Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans (twice) and Nicolas Roche.

How it happened: A breakaway group, containing Sanchez and green jersey holder Peter Sagan, teamed up for a concerted breakaway effort that proved successful and sat at almost 15 minutes at one stage. Team Sky, aware that none of the 11 riders were within striking distance of the top 10 and their leading lights – Wiggins and Christopher Froome – were content as they bottled up Nincenzo Nibali.

Sandy Casar, another member of the leading group, stood up on his pedals as he tried to shake off Sagan before the final descent. The rain was really beginning to flow in the closing stages of the race and Sanchez peeled away from the group, still recovering after a tough climb, to go it alone.

Bradley Wiggins and his Team Sky colleagues on Stage 14. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Sagan won the sprint finish to come in second, ahead of Casar, and add to his green jersey points.

There then followed a hugely contentious few minutes when more than 10 riders from the peloton suffered from wheel punctures. Tacks and drawing pins were reported to have been found littered on the road. Tour leader Wiggins needed a shift tyre change and Evans needed two as the peloton slowed to allow all the riders to join back and finish together – thus averting further recriminations.

The big winner: Wiggins will be delighted to have come through another tough, rain-affected day relatively unscathed but the Solvakian sprinter Peter Sagan will be the happiest man on tour as he adds to his green jersey points total.

What about the Irish? Roche was one of the riders inconvenienced by ‘tack-gate’ as he needed to stop for a puncture repair before finishing in the main pack – some 18 minutes behind Sanchez. He is in 13th place in the General Classification and 10:49 behind yellow jersey holder Wiggins. Daniel Martin finished in the main group too and now lies in 65th position.

Who is wearing what?

Yellow (overall): Bradley Wiggins.

Green (points): Peter Sagan.

Polkadot (mountains): Fredrik Kessiakoff.

White: (young rider): Tejay van Garderen.

What’s happening tomorrow the? A 158km run from Samtan to Pau. A relatively becalmed stage has been predicted as there are no back/soul-breaking ascents. A sprint finish may prove to the the biggest form of excitement before a Tuesday rest day.

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About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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