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Tour de France 2015: Stage 16


Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the 102nd Tour de France. Stage 16 sees the riders travel 201km from Bourg-de-Péage to Gap with racing getting underway at 12:25 local time.


Tour de France Stage 15 report
The Cyclingnews Tour de France Podcast episode 17
Tour de France 2015 stage 16 forum
Tour de France 2015 preview
Tour de France 2015 start list


So, after leaving the Pyrenees on Friday, today we arrive at the foothills of the Alps. Stage 16 takes us from the Rhône Valley to Gap in what is the fourth and final transition stage of this year's Tour. The riders will be rolling out at 12:25 local time and racing proper will commence at kilometre zero about quarter of an hour later. 


It's a steadily rising uphill drag today but it's not entirely straight forward - there is scope for a shake-up on the Col de Manse. Going up the category 2 climb won't be too much of a challenge but the descent into Gap will be fast and furious. It's where Andy Schleck pretty much lost the 2011 Tour and where Alberto Contador crashed trying to put time into Chris Froome in 2013. It looks like it will be dry today but it's technical in parts and, with nerves high, some may be caught out. 

News has come in this morning that Greg Van Avermaet has withdrawn from the Tour to return home to his wife, who is about to give birth. The Belgian won stage 13 in Rodez and his BMC teammate Tejay van Garderen is currently third overall. 


If only this descent into Gap was as smooth as it looks on the profile #memories #buckleup…

@richie_porte Mon, 20th Jul 2015 09:46:07

As we await the start of stage 16, have a listen to the latest instalment of the Cyclingnews Tour de France podcast, sponsored by British Eurosport.


On the agenda is André Greipel's stage 15 win, Peter Sagan's quest for the green jersey, and the polemic surrounding Chris Froome. We hear from Froome himself, who had urine thrown at him on Saturday, and we also get Greg Lemond's thoughts on power, data and the atmosphere surrounding the current race leader. 


Tour de France podcast episode 17


The riders are on their way and are currently rolling through the neutral zone

A reminder of the general classification shapes up after stage 15.


1 Christopher Froome (Team Sky) 59:58:54
2 Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) 0:03:10
3 Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) 0:03:32
4 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 0:04:02
5 Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) 0:04:23
6 Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) 0:04:54
7 Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo) 0:06:23
8 Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) 0:08:17
9 Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) 0:08:23
10 Bauke Mollema (Trek) 0:08:53


A reminder of how the general classification is shaping up after stage 15.


1 Christopher Froome (Team Sky) 59:58:54
2 Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) 0:03:10
3 Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) 0:03:32
4 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 0:04:02
5 Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) 0:04:23
6 Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) 0:04:54
7 Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo) 0:06:23
8 Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) 0:08:17
9 Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) 0:08:23
10 Bauke Mollema (Trek) 0:08:53


Nairo Quintana, Joaquim Rodriguez, and Chris Froome side by side as the riders pedal towards kilometre zero.

We have an intermediate sprint on the menu today after 86.5 kilometres. Will we see the bunch trying to keep things together until then? Here are how things are looking in the race for the green jersey:


1 Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) 360 pts
2 André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) 316
3 John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) 264
4 Mark Cavendish (Etixx - Quick-Step) 192
5 Bryan Coquard (Europcar) 122


And we're off! The flag has been dropped and the start has been given for stage 16.



We've got some early moves here and one attacker is Peter Sagan, looking to get himself in the break for a third day in a row. 


A large group of 29 riders, including Sagan, has formed ahead of the peloton with a lead of 25 seconds. We'll bring you the identities of those riders shortly. 


Tony Gallopin is one of the riders out front. He's ninth on GC at 8:24 minutes back, so the peloton may be reluctant to let this group off the leash. 


The escape group has split and there are now 12 riders out front. They are:


Andriy Grivko (Astana), Christophe Riblon (AG2R), Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Simon Geschke, Marco Haller (Katusha), Bob Jungels (Trek), Nelson Oliveira (Lampre-Merida), Ruben Plaza Molina (Lampre-Merida), Daniel Navarro (Cofidis), Pierrick Fedrigo (Bretagne-Seche-Environnement), Serge Pauwels (MTN-Qhubeka)


Huge tailwind in first part of the stage #TDF

@TourDeJose Mon, 20th Jul 2015 11:01:49

Behind the lead group there is a group of 16


Michele Scarponi (Astana), Imanol Erviti (Movistar), Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal), Michal Golas (Eitxx-QuickStep), Matteo Trentin (Etixx-QuickStep), Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Laurent Didier (Trek), Markel irizar (Trek), Pippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida), Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis), Jan Barta (Bora-Argon), Pierre-Luc Perichon (Bretagne-Seche Environnement), and Edvald Boasson-Hagen (MTN).


That second group had about half a minute on the bunch, but Gallopin's presence can't have been welcome in the breaks this morning. The Frenchman is dropping back to the peloton. 

Jan Barta has also dropped back and the second group now contains 12 riders. 


One of the riders in the lead group has history with Gap. Frenchman Pierrick Fedrigo won a Tour stage there in 2006.


166km remaining from 201km

The situation after a chaotic opening 35 kilometres. 


A lead group of 12, including Sagan, has five minutes on the peloton. 


A chase group of 12 is a minute behind. 


Jan Barta is 30 seconds behind the second group. 


The leading group has over six minutes now on the bunch and this is clearly the move of the day. The gap to the second group on the road, though, is falling under a minute and we may see them join forces soon. 


Things are starting to settle down in today's stage, but the polemic surrounding race leader Chris Froome is showing no sign of following suit. He's not happy about Laurent Jalabert's comments, and subsequent denial of them. Read the latest right here


British champion Peter Kennaugh has just abandoned the Tour de France. That's one less teammate now for Froome. 


Barta sits up and waits for the bunch. Two groups of 12 and a peloton now. 


RT @letourdata: 55kms into stage 16 - the average speed is a whopping 53,6 km/h! #TDF2015 #TDFdata

@letour Mon, 20th Jul 2015 11:48:58

Cyclingnews spoke to UCI President Brian Cookson at the stage start today in Bourg de Péage. He called for responsible behaviour over the controversies that have hit the race so far. Read the full story using the link below:


Cookson calls for calm after controversy at the Tour de France


There's not a great deal of change in the situation. The leading group of 12 still has six minutes on the peloton, with the chasing group still 45 seconds or so behind. 


We can confirm that Pete Kennaugh has sadly been forced to abandon #TDF2015. We'll have more details in our race report following stage 16

@TeamSky Mon, 20th Jul 2015 12:06:02

Greg Van Avermaet hoping to get back in time for the birth of his child


The stage 13 winner did not start today's stage as he returns home with his wife due to give birth. He gave an explanation to and looked back on his Tour de France.


"I wanted to leave tomorrow morning but a phone call asked me to go earlier. I hope to be there on time. It's always hard to leave the Tour. It's the greatest race in the world. But the team can perform as well without me. I'm pretty sure they'll keep riding a great Tour and hopefully get a great place in Paris.


"It's my best Tour ever, winning the prologue with Rohan Dennis and the team time trial, winning a stage and putting Tejay in a podium position. It couldn't go any better. It's normal to go home. She's been supporting me for ten years riding my bike It's time for me to give something back."


123km remaining from 201km

The leading group is not keen to join forces with the 12 riders behind. They've increased their advantage to 1:15. The category 2 Col de Cabre is coming up after 120 kilometres and that might see things come together, or shaken up further. 


Sky played down talk of sickness in camp y'day but Kennaugh has been struggling. Abandons a Tour which has been relentlessly tough/hot

@DickinsonTimes Mon, 20th Jul 2015 12:20:29

The leaders are a few kilometres away from the intermediate sprint at Die. It's a slightly uphill drag which suits Sagan, but he's obviously the red-hot favourite anyway to take maximum points. 


Sagan does indeed take maximum points and does so unopposed. He extends his lead in the green jersey standings by 20 points and is now 64 ahead of André Greipel. 


The peloton now roll through Die, five minutes 21 in arrears. The riders will now be back with a tailwind as the road turns south once more. 

Sagan strolling through the intermediate sprint in pole position.



Lots of issues and racing to dissect at the Tour de France at the moment. Why not head over to the Cyclingnews stage 16 forum to have your say?



It's yet another hot day out there. It's 30 degrees Celsius currently and riders, if not dousing themselves with the contents of their bidons, are sticking their hands up in the air in request of fresh ones. 

If he can hang on over that final climb, I think it could be a Boasson Hagen day. Sagan looks cooked after two days in the break.

@SadhbhOS Mon, 20th Jul 2015 12:35:46

The peloton are well and truly cruising and the gap goes out to eight minutes. The breakaway riders will battle it out for stage honours today, it seems. Will we see the two groups of 12 link up? The gap is still just shy of a minute.


A shade under 100km to and the bunch are rolling along at comfortable pace. Contador is being brought back to the front after dropping back to the cars.

Quintana already near the front and at the back of the long Movistar train. Today may be a day for the white jersey to test Froome on the final climb and the descent into Gap.

But it's Team Sky who set the pace at this point as Mollema drops back to the Trek team car, the Dutch rider in 10th place on GC.

 Susan stepping in here for a short time. Will those first two groups come together? Will they stay away until the end, or will the peloton catch them again? Nothing but questions today....

The gap back to the peloton has now jumped to 9:21.


Sky is at the head of the field, leading the chase -- if you can call it a chase....


It is another very hot day today, so we can certainly understand why the field is willing to take it easy.


Slightly more than the first half of this stage has  been a slight but steady uphill. Soon however, they will start climbing the first ranked mountain of the day, the cat. 2 Col de Cabre, which peaks at km 130.


The two lead groups have now come together, giving us a huge group of 23, with a lead of more than 10 minutes. 


And here, courtesy of Letour, a list of the 23 leaders: Grivko (Astana), Riblon (AG2R), Sagan (Tinkoff Saxo), De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Geschke (Giant Alplecin), Haller (Katusha), Irizar and Jungels (Trek), Oliveira and Plaza Molina (Lampre), Navarro (Cofidis), Erviti (Movistar), Hansen (Lotto Soudal), Golas and Trentin (Etixx), Voeckler (Europcar), Mate (Cofidis), Pantano (Cannondale Garmin), Fedrigo and Perichon (Bretagne Séché), Boasson Hagen, Pauwels and Teklehaimanot (MTN).

More beautiful scenery, as always, and fascinating ruins. 


The peloton is now back at 10:31. Laurent Didier is dangling between the two groups, roughly halfway.


Lots of riders now have their jerseys fully unzipped and flapping around, hoping to catch as much breeze as possible. 


An AG2R rider has what looks like a bag of ice on top of his helmet. 


The gap just keeps climbing, now over 11 minutes.  Sagan is taking a turn at the front, but he is starting to look a little wilted.


Five km to the summit for the lead group!


Ryder Hesjedal does some fancy stretching exercises at the back of the field.


Rafal Majka is currently holding onto the medical car receiving treatment on his knee. He was off his bike at the back of the bunch, not looking too happy after bit of a tangle with a LottoNL-Jumbo rider. 

The breakaway riders take bottles and gels from team soigneurs as they crest the Col de Cabre. Serge Pauwels leads them onto the descent. 


Peter Sagan is in no mood to hang around. He immediately comes to the front on the descent and turns up the heat. 


Peter Sagan: box office

@friebos Mon, 20th Jul 2015 13:42:35

Things come back together at the front and Matteo Trentin has words with Sagan. Something along the lines of "chill out" I imagine. 

A brief statement of intent from Sagan? There can't be many stronger descenders than him in this group, and the drop from the Col de Manse to the finish is where the stage will be won and lost. 


The road levels out again and Sagan continues to shake things up, going off the front again. Grivko joins him but the Slovak is ostensibly sizing up his breakaway companions. 


Team Sky lead the peloton over the top of the climb, 13:20 behind, and things begin to string out on the descent. 


Can MTN foil Sagan? They've got 3 in the break - EBH, Pauwels & Tekles. Feeling brave?

@mattslaterbbc Mon, 20th Jul 2015 14:01:26

The Col de Manse is famous for what it did to Joseba Beloki. The Basque rider was in the form of his life and sitting second to Lance Armstrong on GC in the 2003 Tour, but then crashed on the descent of the Col on stage 9. His wheels slid on the melting tarmac and he broke his femur, which ended his 2003 season. He has never been the same since and retired after a few years of trying to get his career back on track. 


Adam Hansen attacks off the front of the break. He clearly feels he can't leave it too late in the company of Sagan. 

Not long beforehand, Sagan had shut down small digs from Boasson-Hagen, Oliveira and Haller. Hansen, though, has opened up a gap and has a lead of half a minute already.


Marco Haller attacks from the break now, setting off in pursuit of Hansen.


Haller has caught Hansen but their lead is slightly less than 30 seconds. It's difficult to see them staying away. 


What's the time cut today? #pelotontakingiteasy

@SadhbhOS Mon, 20th Jul 2015 14:27:12

Hansen and Haller are stretching out their lead to nearly a minute. They'll soon be heading downhill towards gap, before looping round to take on the Col de Manse. They are going to need a bigger cushion to stay away on the climb. 


A few riders punctured on the descent of the Col de Cabre. MTN-Qhubeka Martijn Van Schaijk has just tweeted this image, suggesting that tacks were thrown on the road. 



There are troubling times for the Cult Energy team, who are set to fold in September unless they can find sponsorship. 


Read our report here: Team Cult Energy hanging by a thread and could fold in September


20km remaining from 201km

Hansen and Haller are now on the climb to the Col de Manse. One minute behind comes the rest of the breakaway riders, Pauwels losing some ground as he overcooks a left-hander. 

Marco Haller in the shape of his life right now. Great in TdS, outstanding at the Austrian championships and super for Kristoff in #TDF2015

@mrconde Mon, 20th Jul 2015 14:38:50

Sagan leads the chasers on the early slopes of the climb, but then Geschke goes off the front. 


Geschke has dragged Sagan, Riblon, Teklehaimanot and Plaza Molina with him and they're closing down on the leading duo now. 


Plaza attacks! The Spaniard opens up a gap immediately and this group has well and truly broken up. Behind him is a chasing quartet of Sagan, Geschke, Riblon, and Teklehaimanot. 


Voeckler leads the dropped riders back to the primary chasing quartet and on that note Riblon puts in a brief attack. 

14km remaining from 201km

Six riders have come across and there is now a group of nine chasing Plaza. Voeckler, De Gendt, Pantano, Jungels, and Hansen, and Mate are the newcomers. 


14km remaining from 201km

Five riders have come across and there is now a group of 10 chasing Plaza. Voeckler, Pantano, Jungels, and Hansen, and Mate are the newcomers. 


Plaza has almost a minute here. This is dangerous. Are the others all just riding against Sagan? 

Team Sky lead the peloton onto the climb behind. 


There are a few small digs here in the chasing pack but they're all refusing to drag Sagan. It's uncoordinated and that will only play into the hands of Plaza, who has crested the Col de Manse and is descending with a gap of just over a minute. 

8km remaining from 201km

Sagan attacks! The Slovak goes off the front on the descent in pursuit of Plaza. 


Pantano has bridged across to Sagan, who is going all out and misjudges a right hand bend. A couple more seconds go begging. How's Plaza's descending?

5km remaining from 201km

Sagan is gaining ground. The gap is 43 seconds. It's falling, but is it going to be too late?


Sagan is a nutter. An absolute nutter. It's brilliant to watch though! 35 seconds. 


2km remaining from 201km

Sagan is taking every possible risk here and resembles a Moto GP rider as he leans into some of these bends. 30 seconds is the gap. It's going to be too much to ask. 


Sublime, watching Sagan fly down the Manse

@EuroHoody Mon, 20th Jul 2015 15:07:58

X-rated descending from Sagan.

@friebos Mon, 20th Jul 2015 15:09:22

1km remaining from 201km

Plaza has hit the flat and goes under the flame rouge. It looks like this is in the bag. 


Plaza is on the home straight and clenches his fist - he knows he's won it. 


Plaza crosses the line, victorious on stage 16


Sagan beats his heart and shakes his head as he crosses the line in second place. Pontoon comes home third. 


Sagan beats his heart and shakes his head as he crosses the line in second place. Pantano comes home third. 


The remaining breakaway riders come across the line but attention now turns to the peloton and the general classification contenders. They're still climbing and we're set to see more drama on the descent of the Col de Manse. 

Warren Barguil attacks, but is chased down by Contador, then Nibali goes clear. The Italian has opened a gap here and is a strong descender. 

Nibali crests the climb with 15 seconds advantage. Sky are on the front but they're not that worried. 


Valverde attacks but fails to get away. Froome now down to one man on the front. 


This select yellow jersey group contains Froome, Contador, Quintana, van Garderen, Barguil, Bardet. 


Crash! Thomas has smashed his head into a telegraph pole on the verge. Barguil misjudged a bend and shouldered into Thomas, who could do nothing to avoid the collision. That looked nasty. 


Nibali has 16 seconds on the chasing group here with 5km to go. 

Thomas is out of the running. Let's just hope he's ok. 


Gallopin is not in this select group. He's three minutes behind. 


There's always something on this descent, isn't there? Thomas is said to be back on his bike. 


Meanwhile Nibali comes under the flame rouge with a 22-second lead. Froome has had no real issues in the group behind. 


Nibali crosses the line, Contador sprints but they all finish on the same time. 


Thomas comes into sight now, being paced to the line by Poels. That's a remarkable escape from what looked like a potential horror crash. He's barely even lost much time. 


The rest of the riders filter in. Not much change at the top of the GC, but a dramatic conclusion to the stage nonetheless. 


Top 10 on stage 16


1 Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Lampre-Merida
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
3 Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling
4 Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
5 Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
6 Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
7 Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) MTN - Qhubeka
8 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9 Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
10 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar


Barguil says sorry to Thomas, says he got a shoulder push first by van Garderen first and lost control on the bend

@inrng Mon, 20th Jul 2015 15:37:13

General classification after stage 16

1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 64:47:16
2 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:03:10
3 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:03:32
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:04:02
5 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:04:23
6 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:05:32
7 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:06:23
8 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:07:49
9 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:08:53
10 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:11:03


Tony Gallopin is the big loser today. He drops out of the top-10 overall. 


And here's what Plaza had to say after the stage:


"It was very difficult to get to the finish of the stage today, for the stage victory. I felt pretty good in the breakaway today, and everyone was working pretty well together. This was a stage that had interested me. Thank you very much to my team."


Here's what Geraint Thomas had to say about his crash:


"I'm alright, I'm a bit shaken up but fine. I've had a lot worse. It's frustrating, I tried so hard to get over the climb, I don't know why some guys just sit where you are on the descent. What's the difference between fifth and third. Just get down the descent. Everyone knows it's a tough descent."


We already have a stage report up with photos, and plenty more to come. 


Tour de France stage 16: Plaza gives Lampre-Merida a win in Gap


Geraint Thomas's sense of humour was clearly not affected by that crash. 


"I guess the doctor will ask me my name and date of birth soon," he said in another interview. When asked if he could remember, he joked: "Chris Froome".


"A nice Frenchman [pulled me out of the ditch]. They are nice here, there's a few that aren't, but a nice Frenchman. I lost my glasses as well - they don't even make them anymore," he continued. 


This picture speaks volumes. That's 10 top-fives now for Sagan in this Tour and we've only had 14 road stages. It is the 16th time he's finished second in the Tour. 



.@petosagan : "c'est difficile de battre tout le monde tout seul / hard to beat everyone alone" #TDF2015

@letour Mon, 20th Jul 2015 16:11:25

Tinkoff-Saxo owner Oleg Tinkov was open in his criticism of Sagan earlier in the year but he has taken to Twitter in the aftermath of this stage to show his support for his rider. 


"@petosagan is the strongest rider of this Tour de France, not Chris Froome. iMHO. @tinkoff_saxo and I are proud of him."


Alberto Contador put in a brief dig on the Col de Manse but gained no time today. Here's his assessment of his bid for the yellow jersey so far:


"There's absolutely no chance I'm in the same form as I was at the Giro d'Italia earlier this season, obviously. It was a dream to try to win both the Giro and the Tour, but it's not easy to do. You start the race and it's a very hard first week, and you don't have the sensations that you know will lead you to victory.


"The principal objective of being here is to win the yellow jersey, we didn't come here to just take part. In the first week it was really hard for me. I knew I needed to try to attack and pick up time there and wasn't able to. The second week was hard as well. In the third week in the Alps, I still think there's an opportunity. Sky is a very strong team, Thomas is doing really well, but there are other members of the team who aren't great. We're still a long way from Paris, and I think maybe we'll be able to do something against Sky."


The debate surrounding the current yellow jersey Chris Froome is roaring on. Today Cyclingnews spoke to Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford about power data and more. Here's the latest:

Brailsford considers releasing limited Froome data on Tour de France rest day


The debate surrounding the current yellow jersey Chris Froome is roaring on. Today Cyclingnews spoke to Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford about power data and more. Here's the latest:


Brailsford considers releasing limited Froome data on Tour de France rest day



We also have a quotes story from some of the main protagonists of today's stage. Hear the reaction of Geraint Thomas, Ruben Plaza, Chris Froome, Alberto Contador, and Lampre-Merida DS Philippe Mauduit:


Tour de France stage 16 quotes



"He touched my shoulder, my hand moved, suddenly my finger slipped" Barguil calls out TVG for G Thomas crash on Col de Manse #TDF2015

@zwoodpower Mon, 20th Jul 2015 16:49:59

Strong ride by our breakaway boy @BobJungels taking 5th place in his 1st @letour. His days will come!!

@BaukeMollema Mon, 20th Jul 2015 16:52:19

Former Tour de France winner Greg LeMond has waded into the murky waters of the debate surrounding Chris Froome and his power data. 


Check out our report here: LeMond: Froome 'within the realm of human performance' at Tour de France




And that's about it for stage 16 of the Tour de France. Our team out in Gap will be brining you all the latest from the race, not to mention a new podcast episode, so make sure you keep an eye on over the next few hours. 


Here's our full report from stage 16: Plaza gives Lampre-Merida a win in Gap





Thanks for joining everyone. A rest day tomorrow but we'll be back with live coverage from the Alps on Wednesday. I'll leave you with this picture - he may not have won but there was beauty in Sagan's ride today. 



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