-Stage 16 is from Carcassonne to Foix with a loop into the Pyrenees
-Jonas Vingegasard leads Tadej Pogacar by 2:22 in the overall classification
-Geraint Thomas is third at 2:43
-An early breakaway of 29 riders includes Aleksandr Vlasov and Wout van Aert
Bonjour and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 16 of the 2022 Tour de France.
As the Cyclingnews blimp takes height, the riders are signing on and gathering for the start.
Riders are wearing ice-vest and stasyinghydrasted but fortunately the weather is cooler today it is currently 29C in Carcassonne.
⛰️🚴♂️🥵 𝙋𝙮𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙚𝙨 𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙬𝙚 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙚! ✊ @LeTour | 🇫🇷 #TDF2022 Vamos con la 16ª etapa, superando en los últimos setenta kilómetros los puertos de Lers (1ª) y Mur de Péguère (1ª).Tres días durísimos, y muy calurosos, por delante. 💪 #RodamosJuntos📸 @SprintCycling pic.twitter.com/qqm4pTj0fcJuly 19, 2022
#TDF2022 Bonjour 👋👋👋 pic.twitter.com/iUcrPtFHJTJuly 19, 2022
As always, Cyclingnews will have full live coverage of the 178.5km stage.
The stage is the first of three in the Pyrenees. Today is the easier of the three but could still see attacks amongst the GC riders.
Alpecin-Deceuninck are the last team to sign on after Jasper Philipsen won stage 15 in Carcassonne on Sunday.
Five minutes to the roll out.
The riders are lining up on the start line.
Jonas Vingegaard takes up his place on the front line of the grid as race leader and yellow jersey.
Pogacar lines up alongside Vingegaard.
Will we see a battle between the two today? Perhaps. We should at least see the early skirmishes.
The countdown ends, the local mayor drop the flag and the riders roll out of Carcassonne.
Allez le gars!
C'est parti !!🚩 Carcassonne 🏁 Foix#TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/xsVeJBQALnJuly 19, 2022
This is Le Tour's preview.
💛 One last week to try to turn the GC upside down, and it starts today with stage 16.💛 Une dernière semaine pour tenter de renverser le classement général. Ça commence par cette 16ème étape.#TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/0DmpV2dxFYJuly 19, 2022
The riders face 5.4km of neutralised roads before the 'depart reel.'
The riders are tired after 15 stages of intense racing but we're expecting attacks to go into the break of the day.
There is an east wind blowing, which could make the early kilometres fast and nervous.
As you may have seen on Cyclingnews, the AG2R Citroën team have revealed that Aurélien Paret-Peintre and Mikaël Chérel were the two riders at the Tour de France to test positive for COVID-19 on the final rest day.
Further testing has ruled that their viral load does not allow them to continue in the race.
After losing leader Ben O'Connor and other riders to injury, the AG2R Citroën team have just three riders left in the Tour:
Benoit Cosnefroy, Stan Dewulf and Bob Jungels.
Here we go!
Race director Christian Prudhomme waves his yellow flag and the stage is on.
Tim Wellens is the first to make a move. But he is quickly closed down.
The stage starts with a gradual climb out of Carcassonne. The Côte de Saint-Hilaire cat 4 climb comes after 10km.
Neilson Powless of EF has sparked another attack. A dozen or so riders are with him.
Others riders surge across and suddenly there are 29 riders up there, with almost every team present.
The peloton is already 1:00 behind as Michael Matthews tries to go across.
That will not be easy.
Riders up front include: Vlasov, Caruso and Teuns,
Dani Martinez for Ineos, Brandon McNulty for UAE are there, as is Wout van Aert of Jumbo-Visma.
This was the moment the attack went away.
💪 A big group at the front, including 💚 @WoutvanAert and ⚪🔴 @simongeschke.💪 Un gros groupe ouvre la route. On y retrouve notamment 💚 Wout van Aert et ⚪🔴 Simon Geschke.#TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/nkr2qySKgbJuly 19, 2022
Quinn Simmons is also trying to jump across but he is 2:00 behind and Zimmerman stops working with him.
Simmons appears to have shaved off his red beard on the rest day. This was one of his attacks earlier in the Tour.
Aleksandr Vlasov is 11th overall at 10:32, he is the highest ranked of the breakaway group.
Neilson Powless, Valentin Madouas and Damiano Caruso are the other members of the top 20 overall.
The attacks has opened a 3:30 lead on the peloton.
Matthews and Simmons both appear to have missed the move and are losing time on the attackers.
165km to go
Bissegger is the first to top of the Côte de Saint-Hilaire and scores 1 KOM point, beating polka-dot jersey wearer Geschke.
The peloton reaches the summit of the Côte de Saint-Hilaire with a gap of 5:05.
The Jumbo-Visma team is riding on the
Jumbo-Visma are leading the peloton to protect Vingegaard's race lead.
However they have van Aert and Van Hooydonck in the 29-rider attack.
The climb has already split the attack, with Burgaudeau, Gougeard and Jorgenson going clear.
There is already a race within the breakaway, which is the race within in the race.
The roads are twisting up and down and through the vineyards and sunflowers of the stunning Aude region, south of Carcassonne.
In the peloton Jumbo have just 2 riders on the front - Laporte and Benoot, with lots of Ineos riders behind them and then Vingegaard sat in their slipstream.
154km to go
The peloton is at 5:50 and lined out on the country roads.
Up Front, Jorgenson of Movistar has eased up and is dropping back to the attack group.
Burgaudeau and Gougeard push on and lead by 55 seconds.
The rider start the Col de l'Espinas. It is 5.2km long at 5.2%.
Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies) has just been told by his team car to ease up. That leaves Alexis Gougeard (B&B Hotels-KTM) alone out front but his leads is falling.
The 28 chasers will surely catch him soon.
Only six teams with full rosters going into final mountain stages of the Tour and Ineos Grenadiers are among them, while Jumbo and UAE are down to six riders.
Can the British team use its numerical advantage to push Geraint Thomas even higher on GC?
Thomas has dropped back to his team car. The mechanic seems to have applied some sun cream on his back.
Four-time winner of @LeTour , @chrisfroome is on bottle duty today. #TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/bY8XB2Uow9July 19, 2022
The peloton has slipped to 6:30 on Alexis Gougeard (B&B Hotels-KTM).
Alexis Gougeard (B&B Hotels-KTM) reaches the top of the climb alone as he continues his solo exploit up front.
Bissegger leads the chase group to the climb at 40 seconds.
135km to go
These are the 29 riders in the attack.
Alexis Gougeard (B&B Hotels-KTM)
Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies), Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar), Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates), Wout van Aert and Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma), Daniel Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers), Alexander Vlasov, Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe), Mikkel Honoré (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Gorka Izagirre and Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar), Simon Geschke (Cofidis), Damiano Caruso and Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious), Olivier Le Gac, Valentin Madouas and Michael Storer (Groupama-FDJ), Nils Eekhoff (Team DSM), Simone Velasco (Astana Qazaqstan), Stefan Bissegger and Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost), Maxime Bouet and Lukasz Owsian (Arkéa-Samsic), Philippe Gilbert and Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal), Tony Gallopin (Trek-Segafredo), Hugo Houle and Michael Woods (Israel-Premier Tech), Cyril Barthe (B&B Hotels-KTM).
Alexis Gougeard (B&B Hotels-KTM) lead the 28 by 50 seconds.
The peloton is 6:20, with the work of Benoot and Laporte pegging the gap at around 6:00.
That still means that Vlasov will still move up in the GC if he can hold his gap.
The riders are on rolling valley roads. The next key point is the intermediate sprint in Lavelanet, in 20km or so.
Crash in the peloton!
Nobody was hurt in the crash and everyone was quickly away.
125km to go
Up front Alexis Gougeard (B&B Hotels-KTM) has been caught and so we have a 29-rider attack.
They lead the peloton by 6:00.
The work of Jumbo is reducing the gap to the break. It's down to 5:30.
It will be interesting to see if Wout van Aert and Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma) drop back after the intermediate sprint that comes in 10km.
Caleb Ewan stops for to have his saddle position tweaked. The nose is dropped a little, perhaps to help him after his crash the other day.
The AG2R Citroën team revealed that Aurélien Paret-Peintre and Mikaël Chérel were the two riders at the Tour de France to test positive for COVID-19 on the final rest day.
Further testing has ruled that their viral load does not allow them to continue in the race.
Barry Ryan spoke to AG2R Citroën team manager Vincent Lavenu about the cases to get the full story. Click below to read what Lavenu said.
115km to go
5km to the intermediate sprint in Lavelanet.
Poor Tiesj Benoot is working a lot on the front of the peloton to keep the gap at 6:00.
He crashed hard on stage 15 and is battered and bruised.
Mark Cavendish has vowed to return to the Tour de France and is confident he can win again and so beat Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage victories.
The 37-year-old Manxman was not selected for the QuickStep-AlphaVinyl roster, with Fabio Jakobsen securing the sprinter’s role but he made his ambitions clear while speaking to the BBC from the Isle of Man as he prepared for the Commonwealth Games road race.
Click below for the full Cavendish story.
Well, that's a surprise. Nils Eekhoff beat van Aert to win the intermediate sprint, collecting the 20 points.
Van Aert scored 17 points and quickly had a word with Eekhoff. However he is mathematically close to winning the green jersey.
Six minutes for @MikkelHonore and his 28 breakaway companions over a #TDF2022 peloton that is more than happy with this group.Photo: @GettySport pic.twitter.com/OFW2oWxYduJuly 19, 2022
The 29 riders are rolling through and off on the flat roads as they head towards the foothills of the Pyrenees.
The peloton gets to the sprint point some 6:40 after the break.
Hmmm. Marc Soler of UAE has slipped back from the peloton.
He has already visited the doctor's car. Is he ill?
UAE team leader Tadej Pogacar is up front with his other teammates.
Of course, UAE also have Big Nut Brandon McNulty in the 29-rider break as a strategical move.
We're hearing from French television that Soler has vomited earlier in the stage.
He is suffering in the 31C heat. And the hardest part of the stage, the two major climbs, are still to come.
95km to go
The peloton reaches the feed zone, with riders grabbing musettes to enjoy a moving lunch.
The peloton has eased slightly, with Vingegaard taking a natural break. The gap to the 29-rider attack is up to 7:00.
Soler is not feeling great but does seem able to ride on. He will try to finish inside the time limit and try to recover for the next two stages in the Pyrenees.
90km to go
Jumbo continue to lead the peloton but Ineos are also riding up front. However only Christophe Laporte is riding for Jumbo, hence the gap going up to 7:30.
Poor Marc Soler is riding just ahead of the broom wagon.
He faces a 88km ride of survival.
#TDF2022 Over 7 minutes for the breakaway now 👌 Allez @tonygallopin! 📸 ASO/Charly López pic.twitter.com/Al6MVhPpNSJuly 19, 2022
With Soler sick, Marc Hirschi was on domestique duty.
80km to go
The 29 riders in the break are pushing on, trying to evade the peloton.
Marc Soler is suffering just ahead of the Voiture Balai.
Fortunately for Pogacar he looks fine and has several teammates in the peloton to help him.
The first climb of the Pyrenees comes in 22km. That means the climb starts in 12km.
The Port de Lers is 11.5km at 6.5%. It will surely shake up the race, split the break and expose the team leaders and their teams.
Barry Ryan is in Foix and has written an excellent preview of the Vingegaard-v-Pogacar battle that is expected to happen today and especially on Wednesday and Thursday in the Pyrenees. He's compared the two to prize fighters.
"On the day Tadej Pogačar sent Primož Roglič sprawling to the canvas atop La Planche des Belles at the end of the 2020 Tour de France, he became his sport’s undisputed heavyweight champion. In almost every outing since, he has seemed to produce dizzying combinations that left even the doughtiest of opponents feeling punch drunk.
"But now, just as Pogačar’s dominance was becoming monotonous, Jonas Vingegaard has emerged as the Frazier to his Ali. The Dane already performed the rare feat of laying a glove on Pogačar when he briefly distanced him atop Mont Ventoux en route to second overall on last year’s Tour, but that warning shot came long after a boxing referee would already have stopped the fight. An unbloodied Pogačar still reached Paris with a lead of more than five minutes over Vingegaard."
To read Barry Ryan's full feature, click below.