Southeast riders: Brent Bookwalter checks in from Tour de France

Bookwalter and Ballan heading to sign-in and the start of a hard stage

Stage 15’s finish is one that will be debated for the ages. The yellow jersey wearer Andy Schleck attacks on the final climb of the day and has a mechanical. Alberto Contador continues the attack and passes. Schleck finally puts his chain back onto the small ring and chases like a mad man on the descent. Unfortunately for Schleck he isn’t able to regain the wheel of Contador and loses the jersey to the Spaniard.

While the battle for yellow was taking place on the slope of the Port de Bales, the very popular French rider Thomas Voeckler took the stage win. BMC’s Alessandro Ballan crossed the line in a photo finish for second place with Aitor Perez in third.

Ballan’s hard working teammate Brent Bookwalter comments exclusively for Carolina Cycling News on his view of today’s stage.

“I’m dang impressed with (Alessandro) Ballan’s performance. Anyone who was up there in that break was seriously motoring today. The first two hours were ridiculous.”

Regarding his own race Bookwalter had some bad luck in the beginning phase of the stage.

“I flatted about 15 km in when it was total chaos with moves going. Coming back from that and flapping at the back for the next 20 km really put a big dent in me for the rest of the day. I’m just getting down to being empty. Maybe it’s the strain of riding two Grand Tours.”

Stage 16 is another day in the Pyrenees and from the start the peloton tackles a category 1 climb followed by another cat. 1 climb and then two hor category mountains. Bookwalter weighs in on tomorrow’s brutal stage.

“Tomorrow’s profile is kinda silly. It’s built more for eliminating riders than for the contenders to do battle.”

Follow Brent on Twitter and his column in VeloNews