July 18, 2016
Tour de France 2016 – Stage 16 [LAST 5 KM] – Moirans-en-Montagne – Bern (Switzerland) – 209 km (Hilly stage)
The 2016 Tour de France is the 103rd edition of the Tour de France cycle race and is currently taking place between 2 and 24 July 2016.
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) claimed his third Tour de France stage victory, taking out a photo-finish sprint in Berne, Switzerland on stage 16. Sagan’s late bike throw denied Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) the stage he has been seeking, while Sondre Holst Enger (IAM Cycling) was third.
Sagan further padded his lead in the points classification over Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), who did not feature in the sprint.
“It was a very long stage, it was very hot. I’m so happy, and so proud of my team because they did a very good job. I’m so happy to win for them, and for Oleg. It’s unbelievable. A lot of times I lose races like this, and today I won. I believe in destiny, and now it’s turning back.
Chris Froome (Sky) finished safely in the peloton to remain in the race leader’s yellow jersey.
How it unfolded
A sunny, warm, calm day greeted the riders as they departed Moirans-en-Montagne with a 206km journey to Berne across the Swiss border, and it was a knock-down drag-out fight to be in the breakaway, as the sprinters’ teams were not about to let the kind of large breakaway escape as has happened in the previous stages. In the chaos, Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) had a puncture but he quickly rejoined the peloton.
After 10km of a high pace, Tony Martin towed his Etixx-Quickstep teammate Julian Alaphilippe off the front, the Frenchman having had his ambitions of a stage 15 victory scuttled by a mechanical on the descent from the Colombier, and the day’s breakaway was complete.
The pair were chased by several riders trying to join in, including Bert-jan Lindeman (LottoNl-Jumbo), and then a second counter-attack by Lawson Craddock (Cannondale-Drapac), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Vegard Breen (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) and Timo Roosen (Lotto NL – Jumbo) that was equally futile.
Martin went into long-distance individual time trial mode, doing all of the work with Alaphilippe in tow. The German was too strong even for four men to bridge across, and the quartet were swept up by the peloton finally after dangling in no-man’s land for the better part of 80km.
The Martin-Alaphilippe tandem maxed out its lead over the peloton at six minutes, but as the stage wore on the peloton’s strength began to overpower them. They had 1:20 at the intermediate sprint, where Alaphilippe took the points, and then dangled around 40 seconds ahead of the peloton, clearly enjoying their time in the spotlight, laughing and joking all the way to the day’s only classified climb, the Cote de Muhleberg with 26km to go.
Alaphilippe, after a long afternoon of suffering behind the three-time individual time trial world champion, gave up the wheel before the top of the climb as Dimension Data halved Martin’s lead to only 21 seconds.
Etixx-Quickstep’s ambitions for the stage win appeared to become unglued along with Marcel Kittel, who was dropped on the Muhleberg and was attended by Iljo Keisse and then Alaphilippe, who had little left to give.
With 22km to go, Astana lost patience with Martin’s breakaway, and an attack from Tanel Kangert, marked by Thomas Voeckler, finally ended the German’s time off the front. Martin went straight out the back of the bunch without even lifting his pace to help Kittel, who was still trying to chase back on with Keisse.
Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) had a go with 21km to go, and built up a solid 15 second advantage on the wide open, flat Swiss motorway as the sprinters’ teams began to get organized for the approach to the finish line in Berne.
Direct Energie and Dimension Data were mainly responsible for keeping Costa within arm’s reach, working for Coquard and Cavendish, respectively. BMC, looking at a possible win for Van Avermaet, and wanting to keep their GC men Porte and Van Garderen safe from the tricky run-in with numerous roundabouts, amassed at the front, but there was little organisation outside the 10km to go banner.
Costa, a three-time Tour de Suisse winner continued to pour everything into the seemingly futile attack, holding 12 seconds with 8km to go. Steve Cummings led for most of the final kilometers, while Katusha finally found Alexander Kristoff and delivered him to position with 6km to go.
IAM Cycling finally brought Costa back with 4km to go, leading into a technical section of the course through multiple turns, cobbles, and tram lines onto a narrow, fast descent, looking to put Sondre Holst Enger onto the podium for the team’s second stage victory after Jarlinson Pantano’s stage 15 win.
Sep Vanmarcke found the pave to his liking and attacked with 1700m to go, marked by Ramunas Navardauskas and a Dimension Data rider, but the move could not last as Giant-Alpecin led the peloton past for Degenkolb.
In the end, it was a chaotic push for the line, with Degenkolb, Holst Enger, Matthews and even Cancellara pushing for the win but Sagan took it in a photo finish.
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team 4:26:02
2 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha
3 Sondre Holst Enger (Nor) IAM Cycling
4 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
5 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange
6 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek-Segafredo
7 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
8 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Etixx – Quick-Step
9 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
10 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
General classification after Stage 16:
1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 72:40:38
2 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:47
3 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-BikeExchange 0:02:45
4 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:02:59
5 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:17
6 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:04:04
7 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:04:27
8 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:04:47
9 Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx – Quick-Step 0:05:03
10 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:05:16