Israel Start-Up Nation was in the heart of the action once again on stage 15 of the Tour de France, with both Dan Martin and Michael Woods being part of the winning breakaway. Ultimately, Martin finished the day in 8th place as the best ISN rider on the stage.
With four challenging climbs and 35 KOM points up for grabs, today’s stage was deemed to set the scene for another nail-biting fight for the polka dot jersey. Woods, riding in the jersey, was the first rider to attack. However, it took a while for the breakaway to establish itself and when it did, it turned out to be a huge group of over 30 riders.
Both Martin and Woods had made it into the front group, with Woods putting up a brave fight on the climbs to score KOM points. However, at the end of the stage, the polka dot jersey went to Wout Poels [Bahrain Victorious], and Woods is now second in the competition.
Riding on their adopted home roads in Andorra, both Woods and Martin knew the terrain very well. On the final climb, the front group started to split up on the steep slopes towards the top. Sepp Kuss [Jumbo-Visma] soloed away to take the win, while Martin crossed the line not long after, in eighth place.
Dan Martin: “With so many strong guys in the breakaway, I think this may go down as one of the strongest breakaways in the Tour de France. As a team, we had two objectives today: the KOM jersey and the stage win. Mike and I tried our best, I just didn’t have the legs on the last climb. We lost the polka dot jersey but it’s still really close and I think it’s going to be a close battle all the way to Paris. I really like riding with Mike. We work well together, and we have a really good relationship. Now, we are going to enjoy the rest day tomorrow and then make a plan for the final week.”