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IT WAS three races in one as the Tour de France contenders head for the hills, says cycling expert JOHN TREVORROW:

ON PAPER the 164 km stage 16 from La Tour du Pin to Villard de Lans, with five categorised climbs, looked like it could shake up the overall standings in the Tour de France. But the favourites decided it was not the day for a showdown.

The fact that the day’s main challenge was 30 km from the finish and the final climb was less than 2 km long meant the big hitters would not put in any real attacks. There will be plenty of time for that.

With so much climbing still to come this week, the two main protagonists erred on the side of caution. Race leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) had no valid reason to attack because one sure way to lose this Tour is to go deeper than you need. And fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates) would not want to take the lead just yet as he doesn’t have a strong enough team to defend the yellow jersey.

The perfect scenario for Pogacar is to try and grab a few more bonus seconds on stages 17 and 18 and reduce that 40 second margin before Saturday’s mountain time trial to the summit of La Planche des Belle Filles.

And in reality the main challengers were never going to have much opportunity either. The Jumbo Visma squad are setting such a high tempo that it makes it nigh on impossible to attack them until the finale.

We were again presented with three very different races. The tactical game of chess that eventuated with the GC contenders. The intriguing race for the prestigious green jersey. And the breakaway challenge for an important stage win.

The big change in the fascinating race inside the race for the green jersey was that it is no longer a duel. Neither leader Irishman Sam Bennett (Decueninck-Quickstep) or Slovakian Peter Sagan (Bora hansgrohe) gained any points on stage 16 so the gap is still 45 points. But Italian Mario Trentin (Team CCC) has now joined the fray with an aggressive ride taking the 20 points at the intermediate sprint and even snaffling three points in the finish. He is now only 12 points behind Sagan making it a genuine three-way battle.

After a frenetic start a group of more than 30 riders got clear and with no threats to GC were allowed a race winning lead. Halfway up the day’s main challenge, a category 1 mountain, with 26km left to go, the strongest four riders rode clear.  Sebastien Reichenbach (FDJ), Richard Carapaz (Ineos), Julian Alaphilippe (Decueninck Quickstep) and Lennard Kamna (Bora Hansgrohe) –  Carapaz put the hammer down and only Kamna could respond. At the summit the German attacked the man from Ecuador and opened a small gap. But Carapaz would not see Kamna again and he went on to celebrate in style, making up for his narrow defeat on stage 13 and finally deliver Bora their first stage win of this Tour.

Meanwhile back in the peloton, Jumbo Visma were keeping the pace high and it was only in the final kilometre of the final climb that there were any sort of fireworks – but it was pretty lacklustre. A lunge from Pogacar inside last kilometre was more a show of strength and the burst from Miguel Angel Lopez in sight of the finish failed to gain any time.

Richie Porte (Trek Segafredo) rode a perfect race and stayed close to Roglic most of the day and looked comfortable even when the two Slovenians made a mad dash to the line.

Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) finished in the back group with most of the sprinters and will be keen to get stages 17 and 18 out of the way as this will be the big test for all the non-climbers in their quest to make it to Paris.  

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It is a bit strange covering this Tour from back home in Australia. For the past 22 years I’ve reported it from on the ground in France. Surprisingly I have been enjoying it, especially the Detour Live show that I co-host with Dan Jones on YouTube.

Each night at 7.30 we bring on special guests to dissect the previous stage and chat about the upcoming challenge. A popular segment has been where we give our tips. I’ve predicted four stages correctly (not very good odds) but on stage 16 Dan stepped up. He picked Kamna at odds of 19 to 1. When Dan mentioned it during the show, Matt White, Sports Director of Mitchelton Scott, gave him all the reasons why he wouldn’t win. Dan backed him anyway.  

Stage 16

1Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe04:12:52
2Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers00:01:27
3Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ00:01:56
4Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Ineos Grenadiers00:02:34
5Simon Geschke (Ger) CCC Team00:02:35
6Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic00:02:37
7Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team Sunweb00:02:41
8Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sunweb00:02:47
9Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept00:02:51
10Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep00:02:54
11Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Pro Cycling00:05:12
12Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Movistar Team00:05:15
13Pierre Rolland (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept00:05:18
14Matteo Trentin (Ita) CCC Team00:06:11
15Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team00:06:11
16Andrey Amador (CRc) Ineos Grenadiers00:06:11
17Romain Sicard (Fra) Total Direct Energie00:10:46
18Winner Anacona (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic00:10:46
19Casper Phillip Pedersen (Den) Team Sunweb00:16:09
20Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Astana Pro Team00:16:48
21Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates00:16:48
22Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma00:16:48
23Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo00:16:48
24Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain McLaren00:16:48
25Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team00:16:48
26Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott00:16:48
27Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Pro Cycling00:16:48
28Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team00:16:48
29Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis00:16:48
30Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma00:16:55
31Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain McLaren00:16:55
32Daniel Felipe Martinez Poveda (Col) EF Pro Cycling00:16:59
33Wout van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma00:17:17
34Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-Visma00:17:17
35Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo00:17:19
36Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic00:17:23
37Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team00:17:23
38Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team00:17:23
39Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal00:17:36
40Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation00:17:36

GC after stage 16

1Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma70:06:47
2Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates00:00:40
3Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Pro Cycling00:01:34
4Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Astana Pro Team00:01:45
5Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott00:02:03
6Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo00:02:13
7Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain McLaren00:02:16
8Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team00:03:15
9Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma00:05:19
10Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic00:05:43
11Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis00:06:45
12Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team00:06:52
13Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain McLaren00:09:09
14Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers00:17:23
15Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic00:18:16
16Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers00:19:04
17Pierre Rolland (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept00:30:03
18Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-Visma00:35:06
19Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren00:44:23
20Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team00:58:58

Author: John Trevorrow

JOHN TREVORROW is a multiple Australian champion road racer and Olympian who has been doing media commentary at the Tour de France for more than 20 years.



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