Into Carcassonne, for stage 15 of Tour de France, the riders had to deal with a very particular adversary: ​​the heat. Under extremely high temperatures, the peloton still fought fiercely in the last hour before a bunch sprint crowned Jasper Philipsen. Thanks to yet another great support from his teammates, David Gaudu finished safely at the front and remains therefore in eighth place overall before the last rest day on Monday.

The fight for the breakaway was intense but short-lived on Sunday, from Rodez. Two weeks after their last fight, the sprinters did not want to miss the opportunity they had towards Carcassonne after two hundred kilometres, despite a hilly terrain. Therefore, only three riders took the lead quite early before one of them, the green jersey Wout Van Aert, sat up to wait for the pack. Nils Politt and Mikkel Honoré then led the way, alone, for most of the day. Within the bunch, the main concern then was to stay hydrated and refreshed. “It was not really an easy day because it is more difficult to fight the heat than to pedal”, explained Valentin Madouas. “It’s obviously hard, but we deal with it, we have no choice. We adjust to the circumstances. We never got below 40 degrees on the bike head unit. With the reflection from the road, we felt more 42-43 degrees all day. Fortunately, it wasn’t 2-3 degrees warmer, or it would have been dangerous in terms of health. The main issue, in these conditions, is to try not to put yourself in the red zone. Above certain temperatures, it quickly becomes a struggle”.

“The support of the staff is remarkable”, Philippe Mauduit

As for the fight on the road, it really began about fifty kilometres from the finish when certain sprinters tried to get rid of their rivals on the last categorized climb. The peloton reduced a little, but David Gaudu was always kept in good position by his teammates, including in the long downhill section to Carcassonne. In a tight final against the last attackers, notably Benjamin Thomas, the sprinters were able to fight for victory and Jasper Philipsen won it. Always attentive, David Gaudu took twenty-first place on the day. Stefan Küng, Valentin Madouas and Thibaut Pinot also finished in the first bunch. “It was a very hot day, and an intense one in terms of racing”, said Philippe Mauduit. “The race was fast once again but most of the team was around David in this tricky final, where we needed to be cautious. The guys obviously suffered from the heat, but I think they dealt well with it and stayed hydrated. Also, the staff did an excellent work for them. We always talk about the riders, but the support of the staff for this team from the start is remarkable. We shouldn’t forget to thank them. As for David, he is still in the mix, and everything is still to be decided”.

On Sunday evening, before the third rest day, the young man from Brittany sits in eighth place overall, 1’41 from the podium and eighteen seconds from the top-5.

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