Andre Greipel continued his brilliant form in the 2015 Tour with a magnificent display of power to fend off his sprinting rivals and win an intriguing Stage 15.
The 183-kilometres route from Mende to Valence took place in 35C heat and had a familiar winner from the bunch sprints, as German Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) followed his successes on stage two to Zeeland and stage five to Amiens.
John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) was second and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) third, with Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) fourth.
Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) had been hoping for a 27th Tour stage win of his career in Valence, but was distanced early on and his wife Peta said on Twitter that he was ill.
It was likely the last opportunity for the sprinters before next week's concluding stage in Paris, on July 26.
Last year this was expected to be a stage dominated by the sprinters, but then the wind interfered and threw the stage wide open. The same is possible this year.