Tour de France: Stage 16

The first day in the high Pyrenees saw lots of attempts to dislodge Bradley Wiggins from his Yellow jersey but none succeeded with many people’s favourite, Thomas Voeckler winning the stage.

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Previous Stages

| Prologue | Stage 1 | Stage 2 | Stage 3 | Stage 4 | Stage 5 | Stage 6 | Stage 7 | Stage 8 | Stage 9 | Stage 10 | Stage 11 | Stage 12 | Stage 13 | Stage 14 | Stage 15 |

Yellow Jersey: Bradley Wiggins | White jersey: Tejay van Garderen |
| KoM Jersey:   Thomas Voeckler  | Green Jersey: Peter Sagan | Team: Radioshack Nissan

The big loser on the day was last years champion Cadel Evans who rode his heart out but could not stay with the attacks from Nibali and Lotto on the climbs and he finished the stage losing a lot of time to the riders who will in all probability be on the podium in Paris, Wiggins, Froome and Nibali

The Video Summary

Thomas Voeckler: “This morning at the start, considering the number of mountains that were spread across the stage, I couldn’t really claim that I was the best rider to go and hunt the polka-dot jersey.”

“There were at least a dozen riders who were in a similar position. Then, once the escape of 38 riders was established, I really felt I had good legs. But anyway, I approached this stage as if there were four races, one to the top of each of the climbs.”

“I said we had to increase the pace on the climb of the Tourmalet, because the gap to the peloton was not significant enough. We worked with Yukiya (Arashiro), who accompanied me during my victory already on the day I won at Bellegarde-en-Valserine.”

“And then, when we were with [Brice] Feillu, and only 30 seconds ahead of [Chris Anker] Sorensen and Vinokourov, I attacked because I was not sure if I could reach the top with them nearby. But once I crested the Peyresourde with a lead of a minute and a half, I could begin to appreciate what had been achieved already.”

“I’m a good on descents so the stage victory then became a priority. I am very proud of what I did, because it resembles what I saw on TV when I was a kid. I’m in another dimension. It’s cycling as I like to practice it. Now my priority is to defend the polka-dot jersey. And normally, my Tour will effectively be over once we finish the stage tomorrow!”

Bradley Wiggins: “It was hot out there today, probably the hottest we’ve had on the Tour and the day after the rest day everyone responds differently. As a team, I think we passed the test again. The team rode fantastically well again today and we’ve created the ideal scenario by putting even more time into Cadel Evans and although we weren’t able to get rid of Nibali – who is very strong – it was a great day.”

“[Nibali] is a class bike rider. The guy has won the Vuelta, he’s been on the podium at the Giro… and you can never underestimate him. It’s nice to be able to finish with him.”

“I don’t think that the others have eased up trying to beat me and start thinking of the other places on the podium. Not yet. They gave us a good going over on the climbs today and tomorrow is another day, another challenge.”

“I guess everyone will also start thinking about the time trial and things. That’s a mountainous stage in itself. Another day ticked off and tomorrow is a whole other day.”

“We’ve got a good scenario for the final day in the mountains but the process now starts: recovering, eating, drinking lots and getting ready right away… I’ll have a warm down and start thinking about tomorrow.”

Vincenzo Nibali “It was a really hard stage” explained Nibali “both for the climbs and for the hot weather. I tried to attack with three accelerations to test Wiggins and Froome, then the descent was not suited for an attack so I decided to save energies”.

“At the start, I thought to search also the stage victory but then the break take too big an advantage to recover. I’m happy for the third place on GC and for today’s performance, but I always search something more.”

“Ivan Basso was great super-domestique, simply fantastic, as well as my other teammates. Tomorrow’s (Thursdays) stage will be hardest like today but every day that passes it becomes difficult to attack Froome and Wiggins.”

“It will be also the last opportunity to find a stage victory: the cherry on the cake of a great Tour.”

Stage 16

1. Thomas Voeckler Team Europcar 05h 35′ 02”
2. Chris Anker Sorensen Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank + 01′ 40”
3. Gorka Izaguirre Insausti Euskaltel – Euskadi + 03′ 22”
4. Alexandre Vinokourov Astana Pro Team ‘ + 03′ 22”
5. Brice Feillu Saur-Sojasun + 03′ 58”
6. Jens Voigt Radioshack-Nissan + 04′ 18”
7. Daniel Martin Garmin-Sharp + 06′ 08”
8. Simone Stortoni Lampre – Isd + 06′ 08”
9. Gianpaolo Caruso Katusha Team + 06′ 08”
10. Laurens Ten Dam Rabobank Cycling Team + 06′ 11”
11. Vincenzo Nibali Liquigas-Cannondale + 07′ 09”
12. Bradley Wiggins Sky Procycling + 07′ 09”
13. Christopher Froome Sky Procycling + 07’ 09”

Thomas Voeckler, winner of stage 16 after a classic performance that will long be remembered. Photo: Thomas van Bracht


1. Bradley Wiggins Sky Procycling 74h 15′ 32”
2. Chris Froome Sky Procycling + 02′ 05”
3. Vincenzo Nibali Liquigas-Cannondale + 02′ 23”
4. Jurgenvan Den Broeck Lotto-Belisol Team + 05′ 46”
5. Haimar Zubeldia Radioshack-Nissan + 07′ 13”
6. Tejay Van Garderen Bmc Racing Team + 07′ 55”
7. Cadel Evans Bmc Racing Team + 08′ 06”
8. Janez Brajkovic Astana Pro Team + 09′ 09”
9. Pierre Rolland Team Europcar + 10′ 10”
10. Thibaut Pinot Fdj-Bigmat + 11′ 43”
11. Nicolas Roche Ag2r La Mondiale + 11′ 47”
12. Andréas Klöden Radioshack-Nissan + 13′ 14”
13. Christopher Horner Radioshack-Nissan + 13′ 39”
14. Chris Ankersorensen Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank + 14′ 43”
15. Jérôme Coppel Saur-Sojasun + 20′ 12”
16. Denis Menchov Katusha Team + 21′ 06”
17. Maxime Monfort Radioshack-Nissan + 21′ 26”
18. Egoi Martinez Euskaltel – Euskadi + 21′ 41”
19. Rui Alberto Costa Movistar Team + 22′ 47”
20. Eduard Vorganov Katusha Team + 24′ 20

A peloton of 155 riders rolled away from the start this morning without Frank Schleck who had withdrawn from the race to try to clear his name after allegations of taking banned substances.

Nothing Nibali or anyone else could do to out race the Sky train … Photo: PhotoSport International UK USA Asia

With two Hors category climbs ahead of them as well as two first category climbs before the descent to Luchon after almost 200 kilometres, it was a difficult parcours for the riders. That didn’t stop the likes of Michael Morkov attacking from the gun however.

Breaks as ever came and went but it was an unlikely group of a quarter of the peloton (38 riders) that was allowed to slip away approaching the first climb. Wiggins, who has led the race from the end of stage seven, signalled the end of a chase by stopping for a nature break as the big group up the road did their best to open the gap up as they approached the Col d’Aubisque.

The other climbs the riders would face are all household names shrouded in folklore from the Tour de France, the Col du Tourmalet, (120km), the Col d’Aspin (150km) and the Col de Peyresourde (181km). The break too had household names in it with the likes of Voeckler, Vinokourov, King of the Mountains Kessiakoff, the Wirral’s Steve Cummings, George Hincapie, Sorensen, the 15th stage winner Fedrigo, Karpets, Jonny Hoogerland, Popovych, Dan Martin and Jens Voigt.

On such a lumpy parcours, such a big group staying together was a tall order but over the first climb, a Hors category one no less, the lead group was pretty much just that as Europcar’s Arashiro lead out Voeckler who took maximum KoM points ahead of the man in the polka dot jersey, Kessiakoff. One climb down, three to go and a lead of five minutes on the peloton.

The next challenge was the Col du Tourmalet, a 19 kilometre long climb with an average gradient of 7 per cent and the break soon started to loose riders. Doing the damage to a large extent was former British road race champion Dan Martin with Steve Cummings one of those to be dropped.

Nibali attacks Wiggins, not once, not twice but three times! Photo: PhotoSport International UK USA Asia

Soon three riders were clear, Martin (GRS), Kessiakoff (AST) and Ten Dam. Then, Feillu, Hincapie and Voeckler rejoined Martin and co as did others as the break continued to grow to 20 or so with a lead of seven minutes on the peloton. Martin wasn’t finished though and he continued to attack the group on the slopes of this iconic climb but he himself was caught out as Voeckler and Feillu went clear.

Voeckler took the big points at the top of the mountain, eleven more than Kessiakoff who was in the jersey that Voeckler was after, that of the Polka dots. The peloton meanwhile, still under the control of team Sky was now over ten minutes back.

The break continued to splinter as riders heads dropped, legs no longer responded to the heart and the stronger riders forged ahead. Voeckler and Feillu continued to lead from Chris Anker Sorensen (STB) and Jens Voigt (RNT) who dropped Vinokourov only for the Astana rider to come back up to them.

While it was interesting in the break, it was even tastier in the peloton where Liquigas took up the pace making from Sky. Former Giro winner Ivan Basso who is set to ride the Tour of Britain was helping Nibabli shred the peloton and the victim was not Wiggins but Evans. Whilst Sky remained strong with Wiggins, Froome, Porte and Rogers hanging on to the wheels of the men in green (Basso and Nibabli), Evans and many others went backwards.

Nibali has a dig but is Wiggins grimacing or smiling at the Italian’s attempt of getting rid of him… PhotoSport International UK USA Asia

With teammates to help him though, Evans eventually caught the yellow jersey group while out front, Voeckler has dropped Feillu. One more climb to go and while there was now a drag race out front from lone riders trying to be the first to the stage finish, the chosen victim in the peloton was not Wiggins but Evans.

Lotto went to the front as last years Tour champion was one of many in trouble on the Peyresourde and the yellow jersey group again exploded with the ones hanging in there including Brajkovic (AST), Basso (LIQ), Wiggins (SKY), Froome (SKY), Porte (SKY), Rolland (EUC), Van Garderen (BMC), Kruiswijk (RAB), Nibali (LIQ) and van den Broeck (LTB).

That group though however didn’t last as Nibabli now turned his attentions on Wiggins and attacked with 4k to go of the Peyresourde and the only two capable of chasing him down, Wiggins and Froome of course. The riders in first and second overall dragged themselves up to the Italian who never had more than 100 metres lead.

Out front, Voeckler took maximum points again on the Peyresourde to take over the KoM jersey from Kessiakoff before he started his descent and the chase to win another stage. The other ‘race’ saw Froome and Wiggins combine with Nibali and a gap already of three minutes on Evans, the riders expected to be on the podium in Paris did their best to take advantage of the gap they had on the others. Nibali thought he’d have another go and yet again, while he was able to accelerate away, he wasn’t able to outpace his rivals who came back to him yet again ready for the descent.




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