Tour De France Stage 16 Pau – Bagneres-De-Luchon

19/07/2012   |   Posted by jeremy

Stage 16  Pau – Bagneres-de-Luchon  197km.

Yesterday’s stage could well have been said to be Bradley Wiggins most important day of his cycling career. For the first time in the history of the Tour de France a British rider had the chance of becoming the overall winner. So far Brad had with the help of brilliant team work, got into the yellow jersey spot.

Yesterday’s stage was crucial as the Peloton headed into the high mountains of the Pyrenees, because his lead was by no means enough to secure the overall win on Sunday. With his team mate Chris Froome in second spot and an on form Vincenzo Nibali in third, all was still to race for.

It was going to be a tough day for everyone at 197km. With two category 1 climbs and two HC climbs, one of them being the Col du Tourmalet, the highest climb on this year’s Tour at 2115m. It was another sunny day as the riders set out.

With 149km still to go a large 38 man breakaway got themselves ahead of the Peloton with a 3m38s lead.  This group included Fredrik Kessiakoff of Astana who was leading the King of the Mountain competition and Thomas Voeckler of Europcar who already has a stage win under his belt this year and is currently fourth.

On the climb of the Tourmalet, Voeckler and another Frenchman Brice Feillu of Saur- Sojasun got away dropping the others. As they went over the top it was Voeckler that got the points and the 5000 Euro prize money. Sky were looking strong with a five man group at the head of the bunch leading the Peloton up the mountain.

On the Col D’Aspin it was Liquigas who was leading the yellow jersey group with Basso and Nibali up front. Thomas Voekler had already crossed the summit and taken his second points win of the day in the race for the King of the mountains competition.

Further back down the field Cadel Evans was dropping back, as Basso and the others pushed on. He was desperately trying to stay in touch and was out of the saddle and working hard not to be left behind. On the descent he managed to re-join the yellow jersey group and settle back in. On the last climb of the day he was getting left behind again with the heat taking its toll on him.

 Wiggins was still amongst the leaders and didn’t look like he was under threat from anyone. His team were still around him and still looking strong.  At the lead of the race Voeckler had a 1m 15s over the second place man and was being cheered on by the crowds with whom he has always been popular. He on the other hand was getting visibly annoyed with some of the fans, pushing some of them out the way as he climbed. He crossed the top of the last mountain in first place again to take the points and also to become the King of the Mountains.

 He was then descending fast to try and take the stage win too. Back on the mountain it was Vincenzo Nibali who made a move on his own. Wiggins did not panic though and he and Chris Froome went out after him. Nibali then kicked again but Froome and Wiggins raised the pace and caught him before the top of the climb.

With 12km to go Voeckler was descending like a demon to try and stay clear of the second place man Chris Anker Sorensen of Saxo Bank who was just over one minute behind him.  With an 8 minute lead over the yellow jersey group, he was taking some risks to stay ahead, cutting it a little too close for comfort on some of the corners.  As he entered the town of Luchon he was aware that he could no longer be caught and as he passed under the 1km kite he more or less started his celebrations, cruising along with arms outstretched until he crossed the finish line in first place.

Yesterday showed that Wiggins is in the form of his life and still in control of this race.

 

Rank

Name

Team

Time

1

Bradley Wiggins

Team Sky

74hrs 15mins 32secs

2

Chris Froome

Team Sky

+2mins 05secs

3

Vincenzo Nibali

Liquigas-Cannondale

+2min 23secs

4

Jurgen Van Den Broeck

Lotto-Belisol

+5mins 46secs

5

Haimar Zubeldia

RadioShack-Nissan

+7mins 13secs

6

Tejay Van Garderen

BMC Racing

+7mins 55secs

7

Cadel Evans

BMC Racing

+8mins 06secs

8

Janez Brajkovic

Astana

+9mins 09secs

9

Pierre Rolland

Europcar

+10mins 10secs

10

Thibaut Pinot

FDJ-BigMat

+11mins 43secs

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