Tour de France Stage 16 - Pau to Bagnères-de-Luchon
Stage 16 from Pau to Bagnères-de-Luchon features four monster climbs. Coming on the heals of the second rest day of the 2012 Tour de France, the 197 km or 122 mile slog up and down the major cols of the Pyrenees will make for interesting racing. The day after the rest day always presents interesting challenges for riders, as the body could either feel great or feel very flat. Most riders make it a point to ride on the rest day, but they ride easy - just enough to open the legs and promote active recovery.
The Tour de France 2012 contenders have some interesting choices to make. Nibali sits in 3rd position 2:23 down from Wiggins, but only 18 seconds behind Froome. Is he content with a podium position? or is he going to go for it and try to dislodge Froome and potentially Wiggins with a massive attack? Liewise, what will Cadel Evans in 4th position and Jurgen Van Den Broeck in 5th position do? Evans clearly wants a podium position as the defending champion, but will he attack? More importantly, can he attack? His efforts from stage 11 to La Toussuire proved futile and cost him on the final climb of the day.
It is easy to envison a day where all of the Tour de France favorites stay together, while they let King of the Mountains aspirants go. Why? Because Stage 17 on Thursday is also a monster with the third and final mountaintop finish on Peyragudes. That stage clearly represents the last opportunity to general classification contenders to make a move. No one will want to wait until the time trial on Saturday.
- Km 53.5 - Col d'Aubisque (1 709 m)16.4 kilometre-long climb at 7.1% - category H
- Km 120.5 - Col du Tourmalet (2 115 m)19 kilometre-long climb at 7.4% - category H
- Km 150.5 - Col d'Aspin (1 489 m)12.4 kilometre-long climb at 4.8% - category 1
- Km 181.5 - Col de Peyresourde (1 569 m)9.5 kilometre-long climb at 6.7% - category 1
Stage 16 Results:
A large group including Thomas Voeckler, Chris Anker Sorensen, Jens Voigt, Gorka Insausti and Brice Feillu, none of whom were threats to the general classificaton, got away early and stayed away. In the end, Voeckler proved to be the strongest rider, securing his second Tour de France 2012 win in the streets of Bagneres-de-Luchon after mastering four monster climbs. With another amazing cycling performance in the mountains, Voeckler secured the King of the Mountains jersey, and demonstrated that the tendonitis in his knee has dissipated.
The general classification riders did as expected - they rode together for most of the day. But on the Col d'Aspin, a mountain on which Cadel Evans should have been attacking, Evans showed that he does not have what it takes to win this year's Tour de France. As the pace of the contenders, increased, Evans simply could not follow. Having lost 40+ seconds on the climb, the Aussie was able to get back on with the lead group on the descent.
On the final climb of the day, the Col de Peyresourde, Nibali attacked! Froome and Wiggins followed, and the rest of the leaders were shelled out the back. At the top of the Peyresourde, this year's likely podium of Wiggins, Froome and Nibali crested together and finished together on the run into Bagneres-de-Luchon. The big loser of the day was Cadel Evans who lost over four minutes on the day and saw his podium chances evaporate.
Stage 16 Top 10 Finishers
|1||Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar||5:35:02|
|2||Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank||0:01:40|
|3||Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi||0:03:22|
|4||Alexandr Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team|
|5||Brice Feillu (Fra) Saur - Sojasun||0:03:58|
|6||Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan||0:04:18|
|7||Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin - Sharp||0:06:08|
|8||Simone Stortoni (Ita) Lampre - ISD|
|9||Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha Team|
|10||Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team||0:06:11|
|11||Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale||0:07:09|
|12||Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling|
|13||Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling|
General Classification after Stage 16
|1||Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling||2:15:32|
|2||Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling||0:02:05|
|3||Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale||0:02:23|
|4||Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team||0:05:46|
|5||Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan||0:07:13|
|6||Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team||0:07:55|
|7||Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team||0:08:06|
|8||Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team||0:09:09|
|9||Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar||0:10:10|
|10||Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat||0:11:43|