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.Embed from Getty Images
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.
|1||Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe||04:12:52|
|2||Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers||00:01:27|
|3||Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ||00:01:56|
|4||Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Ineos Grenadiers||00:02:34|
|5||Simon Geschke (Ger) CCC Team||00:02:35|
|6||Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic||00:02:37|
|7||Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team Sunweb||00:02:41|
|8||Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sunweb||00:02:47|
|9||Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept||00:02:51|
|10||Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep||00:02:54|
|11||Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Pro Cycling||00:05:12|
|12||Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Movistar Team||00:05:15|
|13||Pierre Rolland (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept||00:05:18|
|14||Matteo Trentin (Ita) CCC Team||00:06:11|
|15||Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team||00:06:11|
|16||Andrey Amador (CRc) Ineos Grenadiers||00:06:11|
|17||Romain Sicard (Fra) Total Direct Energie||00:10:46|
|18||Winner Anacona (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic||00:10:46|
|19||Casper Phillip Pedersen (Den) Team Sunweb||00:16:09|
|20||Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Astana Pro Team||00:16:48|
|21||Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates||00:16:48|
|22||Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:16:48|
|23||Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo||00:16:48|
|24||Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain McLaren||00:16:48|
|25||Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team||00:16:48|
|26||Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott||00:16:48|
|27||Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Pro Cycling||00:16:48|
|28||Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team||00:16:48|
|29||Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis||00:16:48|
|30||Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:16:55|
|31||Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain McLaren||00:16:55|
|32||Daniel Felipe Martinez Poveda (Col) EF Pro Cycling||00:16:59|
|33||Wout van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:17:17|
|34||Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:17:17|
|35||Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo||00:17:19|
|36||Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic||00:17:23|
|37||Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team||00:17:23|
|38||Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team||00:17:23|
|39||Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal||00:17:36|
|40||Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation||00:17:36|
GC after stage 16
|1||Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma||70:06:47|
|2||Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates||00:00:40|
|3||Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Pro Cycling||00:01:34|
|4||Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Astana Pro Team||00:01:45|
|5||Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott||00:02:03|
|6||Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo||00:02:13|
|7||Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain McLaren||00:02:16|
|8||Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team||00:03:15|
|9||Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:05:19|
|10||Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic||00:05:43|
|11||Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis||00:06:45|
|12||Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team||00:06:52|
|13||Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain McLaren||00:09:09|
|14||Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers||00:17:23|
|15||Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic||00:18:16|
|16||Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers||00:19:04|
|17||Pierre Rolland (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept||00:30:03|
|18||Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:35:06|
|19||Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren||00:44:23|
|20||Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team||00:58:58|