Hello and welcome to our live coverage of stage 16 of the Tour de France.
Today's 169km stage sees the peloton take on four classified climbs, but it looks more like a day suited to the breakaway then a big GC battle given the summit finishes to come over the next two days.
The map of today's stage. Note the blue section at the start – that's a very long 19.1-kilometre neutral zone as the riders head down from Andorra to the start.
EF Education-Nippo rider raises £360,000 for World Bicycle Relief with ultra-endurance charity ride
The climbs on today's stage are:
- Col de Port (11.4km at 5.1 per cent)
- Col de la Core (13.1km at 6.6 per cent)
- Col de Portet-d'Aspet (5.4km at 7.1 per cent)
- Côte d'Aspret-Sarrat (0.8km at 8.4 per cent)
There are no major (first or second category) climbs in the last 50km of the stage, however, so any big moves on the last major climb – the Portet d'Aspet – are unlikely to succeed.
UAE Team Emirates leader says he's asked 'uncomfortable questions' because of cycling's murky history
Today's stage starts in an hour's time and the riders are currently signing on in the start village in Andorra.
The CPA has announced that riders will stop for a few minutes at KM0 to take layers off after descending through the neutral zone from around 2,000 metres altitude to the real start at 1,134 metres.
Another day for the attackers? The journalists covering #TDF2021 have their eyes set on puncheurs who successfully battled their way to victory in the first two weeks of @LeTour 👊 pic.twitter.com/wwVZBDRAq3July 13, 2021
'It's definitely not miserable, I enjoy doing my job' says Ineos Grenadiers rider
Today's start point...
#TDF2021🔵🔴☁️ pic.twitter.com/fwSNiwX8dQJuly 13, 2021
20 minutes to the start of stage 16.
Challenges to Pogacar's dominance and for the final podium to play out on Col du Portet, Luz Ardiden
Today is the highest stage start in Tour de France history. At 2,080 metres it's higher than Sestrieres in 1992 (2,035 metres).
The riders roll out at the start.
Vincenzo Nibali and Amund Grøndahl Jansen are the two men who haven't taken the start today.
They're aroud halfway through the neutral zone now. 10km to go and it's all downhill.
Four-time winner says it'll take 'something catastrophic' to deny Slovenian a second title
The riders have stopped now as they reach the end of the neutral zone. They're taking off their jackets and warmers ahead of the real start.
And now they're rolling again.
The flag drops and racing on stage 16 is underway.
There are several attacks from the start, including from Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-QuickStep).
163km to go
Just Asgreen off the front at the moment.
He has 30 seconds on the peloton as they descend down the Pas de la Case.
☂ We experienced a stoppage this morning before the départ réel to allow the riders the time to change and begin the stage dry.☂ Un arrêt exceptionnel a été observé avant le départ réel pour permettre à tout le monde de se changer et de commencer l'étape au sec.#TDF2021 pic.twitter.com/jtDK63XagrJuly 13, 2021
155km to go
Asgreen still the only man out front at the moment. No other moves going yet.
Now riders start to attack on the front. Asgreen 50 seconds up the road.
Riders union requested a brief stop for riders to remove layers
Attack from Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) now.
Casper Pedersen (Team DSM) joins him in the move.
142km to go
Asgreen is 1:20 up on the peloton currently.
Stuyven and Pedersen aren't making much headway yet.
The chasing pair have 20 seconds on the peloton but they're still 1:20 down on Asgreen.
More attacks fly in the peloton in the valley.
AG2R, Cofidis, TotalEnergies amonng those on the move.
131km to go
Back uphill now as the riders climb to the base of the Col de Port.
Asgreen has 1:15 on the chase and a further 30 seconds on the peloton.
Nobody else away from the peloton yet. Just the trio out front.
Pedersen and Stuyven aree almost caught.
1:30 between Asgreen and the rest.
126km to go
Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) and Casper Pedersen (DSM) having a go now.
Asgreen starts the seconnd-cat Col de Porte.
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) pushes on the front of the peloton now.
It's raining now, by the way.
Asgreen still the only man to get away from the peloton. Riders continue to attack.
Around 15 men off the front now as more chase.
122km to go
They can't get a gap though.
Mohoric, Geschke, Juul-Jensen, Rolland, Guerreiro, Ballerini among those trying to move.
Guerreiro is leading the move.
Asgreen's lead is down to 1:10.
Michał Kwiatkowski and Mattia Cattaneo also up there.
Kwiatkowski and Cattaneo have a gap.
Cavendish is off the back now along with three teammates.
Asgreen still alone out front. He has 20 seeconds on Kwiatkowski and Cattaneo as the peloton lies 50 seconds back.
Miguel Angel Lopez tried a move but he was chased down, with race leader Tadej Pogacar at the front of the peloton.
118km to go
Aurelien Paret-Peintre (AG2R) is on the move with Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels) as they chase the leaders. More attacks behind on the climb.
UAE shut down a move with McNulty and Pogacar closing things down.
Kwiatkowski and Cattaneo catch Asgreen 3km from the top of the climb.
Alaphilippe is on the move in the peloton now, among a few others.
50 seconds between the lead trio and the peloton.
Teuns, Konrad, Paret-Peintre, Bonnamour, Gaudu, Higuita, Lopez, Meintjes, Fraile all trying to get away.
115km to go
1km to the top of the climb for the leaders.
Cattaneo leads the break over the top of the climb. Five points for him takes his total to 18 for the race, 56 points down on KOM leader Wout Poels.
A maximum 16 points remain on the stage.
It's not really worth listing the chasers at this point given they're just a few seconds up on the peloton over the top.
Just 25 seconds between the break and peloton as they tackle the wet descent.
105km to go
BikeExchange among those leading the peloton down the descent. They'll be aiming for the intermediate sprint with Michael Matthews in 20km.
Asgreen, Cattaneo and Kwiatkowski have been caught.
100km to go
Three minutes back to Cavendish's group. No breakaway yet.
Splits in the peloton towards the end of the descent. Fraile and Alaphilippe among those trying to move off the front.
Colbrelli and Matthews at the front now. 10km to the sprint.
Majka and Porte among a group of around 30 men dropped in that split. They're 1:30 down.
91km to go
They're still going downhill, though it's a gentler gradient than it was off the mountain towards the intermediate sprint.
Chris Juul-Jensen pushes on at the front followed by a couple of other riders. Not much of a gap, though.
Jan Bakelants (Intermarche-Wanty) and Fabien Doubey (TotalEnergies) are away with Juul-Jensen.
Meanwhile, Bjerg, Majka and Stake Laengen are chasing on in that group of dropped riders. That's three teammates of Pogacar missing the split.
45 seconds for that trio.
The group isn't as exciting as the Asgreen-Cattaneo, Kwiatkowski group, is it...
No idea why BikeExchange have sent Juul-Jensen up the road so close to the intermediate sprint??
Surely it would've been a better idea to work on the front, stop breakaways from going and then sprint with Matthews.
Bakelants takes 20 points at the intermediate sprint ahead of Doubey and Juul-Jensen.
Matthews takes 13 points from the peloton less than 20 seconds later.
What are BikeExchange doing?
The peloton has dropped further back now, almost two minutes behind. Matthews, Colbrelli, Konrad, Bonnamour, Rota and Cosnefroy are chasing the lead trio.
It looks like BikeExchange could be going for the stage with Matthews? Still, a weird decision to just throw away seven points like that.
Juul-Jensen, Bakelants, Doubey lead 30 seconds ahead of larger group...
Matthews, Colbrelli, Wright, Konrad, Bonnamour, Rota, Cosnefroy, Perichon, Gaudu, Aranburu, Skuijins are all in there.
They should all come together soon, though.
Almost four minutes further back, the dropped riders have come back to the peloton.
78km to go
The break are on the first-category Col de la Core now.
UAE Team Emirates control the peloton with five men around Pogacar.
45kph average so far.
A minute between the lead trio and the rest now. Not great by the chasers...
Konrad makes a move from the chase group, who have done an awful job chasing on this climb so far.
Konrad 25 seconds down. The rest at 40 seconds.
Konrad is making headway on the climb. He's 15 seconds back now.
71km to go
Konrad makes it across.
The rest of the 'chasers' remain 45 seconds down.
The second group is still makinng absolutely no headway, 3km from the top of the climb.
Gaudu pushes on in the chase group as Juul-Jensen is dropped at the front.
Gaudu has brought the gap down to 25 seconds. He has Colbrelli, Bonnamour and Skujins with him.
I'll hand over to Stephen Farrand now as EF Education-Nippo take over at the front of the peloton and a number of riders – including KOM leader Wout Poels – get dropped.
As the break goes over the Col de la Core, Konrad takes maximum points.
The other riders are spread down the road ands forced to fight into a stiff wind.
That will be another factor affecting the fight for the stage victory and in the peloton.
Why are EF riding on the front of the peloton?
Simples. Their second place, and perhaps first place in Paris, in the teams classification is in danger.
Bahrain Victorious lead the team competition by 11:37 and they have Sonny Colbrelli and Fred Wright in the break.
EF Education-Nippo still have eight riders and so are using their strength today.
Neilson Powless is riding on the front at the moment.
EF are riding to protect Rigoberto Uran's fight for a podium spot and the team prize.
Thanks to the westerly wind, the roads have dried out. That makes descending safer and easier.
🏁 55KMBreakaway / Échappée x3Gr. 🇮🇹 @sonnycolbrelli: +27"Gr. 💛🤍🔴: +6'42"Gr. 💚: +9'59"#TDF2021 pic.twitter.com/0HI2ZUuOHWJuly 13, 2021
The chasers are just 30 seconds down on the leading trio.
They should soon come together on the slopes of the Col de Portet-d'Aspet.
The peloton is at 7:00.
EF riding is helping give the UAE team a break from the hard work on the front of the peloton.
Mark Cavendish is also not far behind the peloton as he tries to survive in the Pyrenees.
He is a 10-rider group at 10:15 and so should have no problem finishing inside the time limit.
50km to go
Fred Wright of Bahrain returns to the chase group. He is the youngest rider in this year's Tour peloton at just 22 and 14 days old at the start of the Tour.
The racing up front is fascinating.
Fabien Doubey (Team TotalEnergies), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Jan Bakelants, (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert) lead by 30 seconds but the others will surely catch them soon and then fight over the climb and the descend and flat road to Daint-Gaudens.
The better climbers will be trying to distance Colbrelli and Matthews. But both have teammates to help them.
Only Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R Citroën) has been dropped and is slipping back to the pack.
In the peloton, riders are eating and look relaxed even as they approach the Col de Portet-d'Aspet.
Once over the summit of the Col de Portet-d'Aspet, the riders will pass the Fabio Casartelli memorial, that remembers the late Italian rider, who tragically crashed and died during the 1995 Tour.
Click the link below to see a moving interview with Casartelli's mother made by Incycle in 2014.
The attackers go through Saint-Lary and so begin to climb the 5.4km long Col de Portet-d'Aspet.
Doubey, Bakelants and Korad are still 30 clear of the chasers as the peloton lose more ground and are at 9:00.
As the climb hurts, Doubey is distanced as Konrad pushes on alone.
There is still 36km to race but he is going all in.
Konrad knows he has to gain or hold as to much as time as possible on the best climbers like Gaudu.
Here we go!
Gaudu accelerates in pursuit of Konrad.
Onto the Col de Portet-d’Aspet, on the descent of which Fabio Casartelli tragically lost his life in the 1995 Tour. RIP Fabio. #TDF2021 pic.twitter.com/OKI5Jn5F6kJuly 13, 2021
Gaudu is dancing on the pedals in his climber's style. However Colbrelli is on his wheel, while the others slip back.
Konrad crosses the summit of the Col de Portet-d'Aspet alone.
However Gaudu and Colbrelli are only 20 seconds behind.
The roads are wet for the descent.
The peloton is at 11:00 minutes aa Wout van Aert needs a bike change.
He should not have any problems getting back on.
Konrad leads the face past the Fabio Casartelli memorial.
RIP in peace Fabio.
Colbrelli goes wide on a corner but is taking the descent carefully.
Gaudu waits for him, knowing they can work together to chase Konrad.
Konrad has opened his lead on Gaudu and Colbrelli to 40 seconds on the descent.
Now he faces a 23km solo race to the finish.
Will the other riders from the attack also manage to catch him?
The pursuit is on.
The peloton crosses the Col de Portet-d'Aspet at 12:00.
Tadej Pogacar is up near the front to avoid any problems.
Konrad is going deep to stay away from Gaudu and Colbrelli.
The peloton has also passed the Casartelli memorial.
Colbrelli is now helping Gaudu with the chase of Konrad but the Austrian national champion is still 45 seconds clear.
It's advantage Konrad.
The other seven chasers are at 1:05.
Konrad has extended his lead to 1:00 as the seven catch Gaudu and Colbrelli.
He faces 13.5km of solo effort.
All the peloton make it safely down the descent.
The peloton has slipped to 13:00.
All the GC contenders are clearly thinking of the two mountain finishes to come.
10km to go
Konrads leads by 1:05 as the final steep but short Côte d'Aspret-Sarrat climb nears.
Konrad starts the Côte d'Aspret-Sarrat and digs deep.
His lead is still increasing and he is pushing what looks like a 53x25 gear. Yep, he is climbing in the big ring.
Behind they seem to be riding for second place.
Gaudu attacks but he is chased down.
Konrad dives down the descent. His lead is down to 50 seconds but he is only 5km from the finish.
Konrad's effort has earned him the Combatif du Jour prize.
🔴 🇦🇹@PatricKonrad (@BORAhansgrohe) remporte le #PrixAntargaz du combatif du jour. 🔴#TDF2021 pic.twitter.com/jjDy2eHUb4July 13, 2021
The wet road are slowing the chasers. Konrad is on his way to victory.
2km to go.
The chasers are attacking each other, fighting for scrap of glory. However Colbrelli and Mathews want to score as many points possible to close the gap on Cavendish in the points competition.
Konrad begins to celebrate his solo win.
Konrad celebrates with his Bora team car and then pushes on alone to the finish line.
He eases up and celebrates a perfectly executed stage win.
Perichon has a gap but they go after him.
Colbrelli and Matthews catch and pass him before the line.
They take a haul of points but wanted the stage win.
Here's the moment Konrad went away from his rivals.
Matthews is confirmed in third place.
This is the top ten for the stage:
1 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 04:01:59
2 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious 00:00:42
3 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange 00:00:42
4 Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fra) Cofidis 00:00:42
5 Franck Bonnamour (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM 00:00:42
6 Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 00:00:42
7 Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo 00:00:45
8 Jan Bakelants (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 00:00:45
9 David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 00:00:47
10 Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 00:01:03
Three national champions have now won a stage of this year's Tour de France: Matej Mohoric (Slovenia), Wout van Aert (Belgium) and now Patrick Konrad (Austria).
Patrick Konrad is the first Austrian stage winner in Tour de France since 2005, when Georg Totschnig won16 years ago.
The first Austrian winner was Max Bulla back in 1931 (3). They are the only three Austrian winners.
Van Aert has attacked over the top of the côte d'Aspret-Sarrat.
Jumbo-Visma seem to be trying to split the peloton and gain some time on their top ten rivals.
It is unlikely to succeed but will no doubt spark debate in the peloton.
There are 40 or so riders in the front group.
Surely no one in the top 120 has missed this surge?
Van Aert keeps going.
Carapaz is there. All the top ten seem to be there.
2.5km to go.
Perhaps van Aert is just keeping Vingegaard safe and their rivals on their toes.
There are only a dozen or so riders in the Pogacar group.
It will be interesting to see the reaction of the riders to Van Aert after the finish.
Some will not be amused.
They sprint but are 13: 49
Carapaz wins the 'sprint' but Pogacar is there too.
All the GC riders had to sprint too to ensure there is not a time gap in the results.
A stage bookended by attacks. @RichardCarapazM was alive to the danger and a late split on stage 16. He remains fourth overall.@kwiato had a good crack at getting into the break earlier but his move was unable to stick #TDF2021 pic.twitter.com/BsxNTV3VvvJuly 13, 2021
This is the general classification after stage 16:
1 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 66:23:06
2 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-Nippo 0:05:18
3 Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma 0:05:32
4 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 0:05:33
5 Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team 0:05:58
6 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:06:16
7 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech 0:07:01
8 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 0:07:11
9 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 0:08:02
10 Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious 0:10:59
Sonny Colbrelli won the sprint for 2nd but he was not happy with that.
"This was my last chance to win a stage. It’s a pity it didn’t come off. I can only congratulate Konrad because he was really strong," the Italian national champion said.
"Me and Guadu worked well together, swapping turns perfectly but he got away from us.
"I was second again, passing the Cofidis rider on the line. That shows I’m feeling good but I’ve struggled in the bunch sprints, losing position and so points.
"Now I just want to make it to Paris."
Colbrelli waved his hand in disappointment as he finished the stage.
Patrick Konrad was in a far happier mood than Colbrelli.
"It's my first win in the WorldTour and now it's at the biggest race in the world - I've won a stage in the Tour de France so I'm really speechless," the Austrian said.
"The victory is for my family, my friends, all my believers, and also for Bora-Hansgrohe. They always give me the trust for it, and they always told me to fight for it, you have the legs for it, you have the talent for this."
"I think it came really in the right moment in the champion's jersey, to win a stage here makes me really proud."
Konrad explained his attack.
"I was already three times in the break and I was always waiting until the final, and it was always not the best decision because we saw it when Mohoric won the stage he went really early," he said.
"When Mollema, attacked, he went really early. I said to myself 'OK, when I come one more time in this situation I am the guy'.
"I gave it a try and I'm really happy that it worked out and I had the legs to bring it to the finish.
"When I passed the 1k line I saw the uphill part and I was thinking, 'this will be painful again', but there was some time to celebrate. I really believed in it 500m to go when the sports director passed me.
"I'm super super happy. I think I can really enjoy this moment now."
Colbrelli and Matthews are disappointed not to win the stage but they did eat into Mark Cavendish's lead in the points classification.
This is the new top three:
1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep 279
2 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange 242
3 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious 195.
It will be a real battle for every point between here and Paris. Both intermediate sprints on stage 17 and 18 become before the major climbs, while stage 19 is a day for the sprinters if they can keep the race together.
Then there is the finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris that could favour Cavendish and Deceuninck-QuickStep.
Konrad was all smiles on the podium. He also won the most combatif prize as he took his first WorldTour win.
Meanwhile Tadej Pogacar stayed in yellow, he and his UAE team virtually unchallenged today.
However Pogacar is staying cautious.
"It was a really hard day, we started with super cold weather. The fight for the breakaway was again pretty big, the first two hours we were just flying. Then it settled down but in the end, fireworks again. So it was quite a hectic day, quite hard," he said.
Pogacar made sure he was there when van Aert attacked with Vingegaard but couldn't understand why the move was made.
"I don't know, I just follow the wheels," he said.
"I have no idea what we were doing, but it was good to open the legs for tomorrow.
"Even if it's flat as a pancake you need to be concentrated and focused because that's cycling."
Pogacar is concerned but enthusiastic about Wednesday's hard finale and mountain finish on the Col du Portet.
"Tomorrow I think is the hardest day in the Tour, let's hit it," he said.
"I did the recon of tomorrow and the day after, so I know the climbs. It would be better if I did not see. I'm not worried but it's going to be really hard."
A fast finish to a tough stage...Un final explosif d'une étape difficile...#TDF2021 pic.twitter.com/BUupjwVglWJuly 13, 2021
These are four jersey wearers after today's stage.
Jerseys after Stage 16Maillots après l’étape 16💛 @tamaupogi💚 @MarkCavendish🔴 @WoutPoels👶 @tamaupogi#TDF2021 pic.twitter.com/DXHIs3OGkrJuly 13, 2021
Who do you think will ride into Paris in yellow?
Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) believes that, unless Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) crashes, the battle for the Tour de France is over and the Slovenian will defend the title that he won in 2020.
Click below for the full story on the four-time Tour winner.
Stage 16 was a day of tactics, aggressive riding by Konrad and the wait for the two mountain finishes.
Read our full stage report by clicking below.
Is this a a new "The Look" ? Carapaz sprinted to the line after van Aert split the peloton on a late climb but Pogacar was right there and laughing about it all.
We will perhaps find out on Wednesday on the stage to the Col du Portet.
The 178.4km stage is essentially the 2018 stage that first introduced the Col du Portet to the wider cycling world but with a comparatively flat 113-kilometre section replacing the F1 start grid that was the novelty/gimmick at the start of that short day that ended with Nairo Quintana taking the honours.
The stage starts just to the south of Toulouse at Muret and heads south-west across the plain, passing through the previous day’s finish town of Saint-Gaudens.
Once through it, the riders will quickly be onto the first slopes of the Col de Peyresourde and will have barely any flat road ahead of them before the finish.
The fast descent away from the Peyresourde drops into Loudenvielle, where the riders will find themselves on the flat very briefly as they circle the lake to reach the foot of the Col d’Azet. Although not much more than half the length of the Peyresourde, its average of 8.3% makes it more challenging, especially on the steeper sections on its lower slopes.
The riders will rattle through Saint-Lary-Soulan and they’ll soon arrive at the right turn onto the final climb, which averages 8.7% for 16km.
The opening couple of kilometres are a point or two higher than that mean, the road clambering quickly up the mountainside to Espiaube, where a left turn heads for the ski station of Pla d’Adet.
The route heads right, though, soon reaching a narrow and steep road that climbs rapidly via a series of tight switchbacks.
Thanks for joining us today, we'll be back on Wednesday for all the action and analysis from stage 17.
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