Gallery: Three testing days in the mountains

James Startt rounds up three days in the mountains as the peloton headed for the Alps

The Tour de France is incomplete without its mountain stages. With winding roads, passionate spectators flying flags and cheering for the riders, and epic battles unfolding, these stages make for the most exhilarating and decisive days in the Tour.  The recent trio of back-to-back mountains stages in the Alps was a true spectacle of action. 

Throughout the stages, we witnessed remarkable performances from stage winners Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers), Carlos Rodríguez (Ineos Grenadiers) and Wout Poels (Bahrain-Victorious). Meanwhile, just behind these victorious winners, an intense battle for yellow ensured, with Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) managing to maintain his 10 second lead over rival Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates). 

Rouleur photojournalist James Startt has been at this year's Tour de France capturing all the action from the mountains.  

All eyes were on Jonas Vingegaard as he rolled to the start of stage 14 for the first Alpine stage of this year’s Tour.

Crowds wait in anticipation for the race to attack one of the early climbs of the day.

Jumbo-Visma drove the race throughout the day, and it surprised no one to see all-around strongman Wout Van Aert powering the pace at the front through several climbs.

Tadej Pogačar tries to cool down in the opening pitches of the much-anticipated Col de la Joux Plane.

The ever-popular Thibaut Pinot, once again made the break on stage 14, but he came up short in his search for a final stage win in the Tour before retiring at the end of the season.

Pogčar on the front as he crests the Joux Plane after his attack on the summit was thwarted by a television and photo moto.

Tadej Pogačar steps off the team bus before the start of stage 15 with an arm-full of signed white jerseys to throw to his awaiting fans.

As in stage 14, a massive crash compromised the early kilometers of stage 15 as well.

After crashing hard on stage 14, Frenchman Adrien Petit struggles in the opening kilometers of stage 15. At the finish, he was awarded the most-aggressive rider prize for his ability to finish.

The breakaway crests the summit of the Col de la Forclaz mid-way through stage 15.

Pogačar attacks the descent of the Col de la Forclaz on stage 15.

Vingegaard eyes the Aravis climb.

Guilio Ciccone (right) and Guillaume Martin lead the break up the Col de l’Aravis.

No, it’s not Bastille Day, but French flags flew in mass as the peloton raced up the Col de l’Aravis.

Wout Poels broke free from the breakaway just before tackling the final climb up to Saint Gervais.

Wout van Aert and Marc Soler chase in vain after Poels.

Adam Yates leads Pogačar and Vingegaard just kilometers from the summit of Saint Gervais.

Mathieu van der Poel gets a hero's welcome from the fans as he paces himself towards the finish of stage 15.

The Tour de France supplies whistles to the riders when they need to ride back down the mountains after stages.

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