TDF’16 St.16: Sagan’s Surge To Victory!
Race Report: An elite Classics-specialists finishing group on a beautiful stage to the Swiss capital made you think you were basking on a sunny spring Sunday. Once again, perfect positioning and a perfect bike throw saw Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) take another stage win on this year’s Tour de France. He left Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) battering his handlebars in frustration, the Norwegian beaten by centimeters.
All the top one-day guys were in the mix: Valverde, Degenkolb, Matthews, Vanmarcke, Cancellara, Van Avermaet, Boasson Hagen and even Mark Cavendish survived a blistering final run to the line. Sagan, though, was the strongest and the smartest, flicking his front wheel over the line for the win.
How it went down: A nice day in the sun, and a day to remember for Fabian Cancellara? The Swiss legend was getting a chance to hit home roads in his final Tour de France, as the race moved from Moirans-en-Montagne to Berne.
With a rest day in the offing, and then four nightmare days in the Alps, the peloton seemed contented when Tony Martin and Julian Alaphillipe from Etixx – Quick-Step took off. To be frank, it was Tony doing the bulk of the hard work, with his younger team-mate giving him the occasional breather.
Four men countered but hung in no man’s land for an age as Martin kept the hammer down and the speed high. The chasers were Vegard Breen from Fortuneo-Vital Concept, Cofidis’ Nicolas Edet, Lawson Craddock for Cannondale-Drapac, and Timo Roosen representing LottoNl-Jumbo.
The chase was pretty much undertaken by BMC (heading for home turf), Direct Energie and Katusha, who got serious once the gap nudged out towards six minutes.
Just beyond half-distance, and the Martin-Alaphilippe trans-border express ploughed into Switzerland with a lead of just under five minutes. The main field was keeping a close enough watch that the gap kept withering away. So much so that the counter-attackers gave up their futile mission and were swept up not long after half-way.
45 kilometers left and Martin’s time trialling was holding the main field at two minutes. The big German had his arms draped over the bars, rolling a big gear, with Alaphillipe spinning quickly in his wake.
The Etixx – Quick-Step duo took the intermediate sprint and then the main field crossed about 90 seconds later: there was no contest for the third-place points with Sagan cruising through ahead of Cavendish (Dimension Data) and Coquard (Direct Energie).
Martin and Alaphillipe continued their fools’ errand, with a lot of chit-chat along the way, the young Frenchman patting his mate on the back as they rolled up a small climb inside the last 30 kilometers.
25 clicks remained when Alaphillipe just couldn’t hang on any more; a steep slope dragged the Frenchman back towards the peloton as Martin smashed away. Dimension Data, Direct Energie and BMC were prominent at the front of the main field by now.
Marcel Kittel (Etixx – Quick-Step) looked on a less than brilliant day, blown out the back inside the last 25 kilometers, with Iljo Keisse pacing him, and the also-dropped Alaphillipe making it a trio. Astana upped the speed with 22 kms left, which did for the brave Tony Martin.
21 to go, and ex-world champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) jumped away. Given his long-standing love affair with this country (three consecutive Tours of Switzerland won), it was perhaps inevitable that he’d try something.
Now the final kilometers got harder, maybe not hilly but certainly rolling. Costa had a grimace cemented onto his face as he hit eight clicks to go, holding twelve seconds. Five kilometers left and the main field splintered with Costa being picked up seconds later.
The peloton was lined out, the speed from Giant-Alpecin’s Warren Barguil at maximum as the field hit a short cobbled section. Up into the old town center, the road twisted and turned skywards. Inside two kilometers to go, the Classics men Vanmarcke (LottoNl-Jumbo) and Cannondale-Drapac’s Navardauskas pushed clear desperately.
Barguil led for Giant-Alpecin under the red kite. Suddenly, Valverde (Movistar) opened on the left and it was a sprint royale and a desperate bike throw for the line… Sagan edging it. Froome was in the front group, but maybe not looking totally at ease on such a run in.
Rest day tomorrow, but keep it PEZ for all the latest ahead of the Alps from Ed Hood ‘Roadside’ in Switzerland!
Keep your eyes on Steephill.tv for live stage viewing near you.
Tour de France Stage 16 Result:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff in 4:26:02
2. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
3. Sondre Holst Enger (Nor) IAM Cycling
4. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
5. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange
6. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek-Segafredo
7. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) LottoNl-Jumbo
8. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Etixx – Quick-Step
9. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
10. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
11. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
12. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Argon 18
13. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
14. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky
15. Louis Meintjes (RSA) Lampre-Merida
16. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) FDJ
17. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff
18. Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie
19. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC
20. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange
21. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
22. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
23. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC
24. Mark Cavendish (GB) Dimension Data
25. Stef Clement (Ned) IAM Cycling.
Tour de France Overall After Stage 16:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 72:40:38
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 1:47
3. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange at 2:45
4. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 2:59
5. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 3:17
6. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 4:04
7. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC at 4:27
8. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 4:47
9. Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx – Quick-Step at 5:03
10. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 5:16
11. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff at 5:24
12. Louis Meintjes (RSA) Lampre-Merida at 5:48
13. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 5:54
14. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) FDJ at 8:40
15. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky at 12:24
16. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 12:47
17. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Cannondale-Drapac at 13:03
18. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Alpecin at 19:15
19. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Sky at 27:00
20. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 28:23
21. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Argon 18 at 28:38
22. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 33:18
23. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC at 35:05
24. Stef Clement (Ned) IAM Cycling at 36:17
25. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 38:12.