Tour de France stage 16 analysis: Middle mountains neutralised

Procycling's analysis of stage 16 of the Tour de France
Procycling's analysis of stage 16 of the Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

You’d have been forgiven for thinking that stage 16 of the Tour de France was a flat stage for the sprinters, not a day featuring four climbs in the Pyrenees, for the action, or lack of, we saw among the GC contenders. The first day of the third week of the 2021 Tour was marked by an almost complete absence of anything happening between the main contenders, not for the first time on a hilly stage in this year’s race. Paris is now just five days away, but the rivals to yellow jersey Tadej Pogačar seemed content to wait another day to try and change their fortunes, despite rapidly running out of road to do it on. 

As the Pogačar peloton trudged up the Col de Portet-d’Aspet, the third of the day’s climbs ranked category 2, riders from Ineos Grenadiers, UAE Emirates, Jumbo-Visma and EF Education-Nippo fanned across the road. The pace was leisurely, at best. The breakaway was over 12 minutes ahead up the road, comfortably secure that the stage win was from within their ranks. By comparison, the gruppetto featuring green jersey Mark Cavendish was only four minutes behind and closing, the speed had slowed so much. By the time the peloton crossed the line, 30 kilometres later, they’d ceded another 90 seconds in time to the winner.

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Sophie Hurcom is Procycling’s deputy editor. She joined the magazine in 2017, after working at Cycling Weekly where she started on work experience before becoming a sub editor, and then news and features writer. Prior to that, she graduated from City University London with a Masters degree in magazine journalism. Sophie has since reported from races all over the world, including multiple  Tours de France, where she was thrown in at the deep end by making her race debut in 2014 on the stage that Chris Froome crashed out on the Roubaix cobbles.