Thor de France – Stage 16 – The Race Explodes

Wow! What a stage! When I was expecting a successful break and a little action I had no idea that in each group the race would completely rip open. Thor Hushovd won the race over compatriot Edvald Boasson Hagen and teammate Ryder Hesjedal as the Canadian-Norwegian connection worked nicely to secure Garmin the win. A hug out to Annette and Simon in beautiful Tromsø, as they will be celebrating Norwegian style I’m sure.

Perhaps the biggest story of the day, was the GC battle as the Alberto Contador we’ve come to know in the past showed up today and threw in a number of unexpected attacks on the second category climb just outside of 12km remaining. It was a smart attack, because psychologically, it must devastate the Schlecks to have lost time on today’s relatively straightforward stage. Cadel Evans came out with the most benefit as he was able to make 3 seconds on a depleted Contador and Sanchez at the finish. However, Thomas Voeckler came in with Frank Schleck and Damiano Cunego trailing Evans by 21 seconds. Basso came in 54 seconds behind and Andy Schleck came over the line 1’09” down on Evans.

UPDATE: Andy Schleck post stage has been quoted as saying:

“Is this really what people want to see? I think the parcours was really badly chosen today. We don’t want to see riders crashing or riders taking risks. Everybody has family at home, and finishes like this should not be allowed.”

Really Andy? Really? I thought descents from the mountains were part of racing and furthermore a skill set needed to be a complete rider. That would be like Sammy Sanchez saying TTT shouldn’t be allowed cause Euskaltel always finishes last. C’mon Andy, I can appreciate your concern and caution, and felt terrible when Joseba Beloki crashed on the same descent in 2003, but saying it shouldn’t be allowed is going a little too far. Emotions run high in the post-stage scrum.

Stage 16 Top Five:
1. Thor Hushovd (Garmin)_________(45)__4h20’24”
2. Edvald Boasso Hagen (Sky)_____(35)
3. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin)_______(30)
4. Tony Martin (HTC)_____________(26)
5. Mikel Ignatyev (Katusha)______(22)

Complete Stage results: Le Tour

General Classification Top Three after Stage 16
1. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)_______69h00’56”
2. Cadel Evans (BMC)_______________+1’45”
3. Frank Schleck (Leopard)__________+1’49”
4. Andy Schleck (Leopard)____________+3’03”
5. Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel)________+3’26”
6. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)______+3’42”
7. Ivan Basso (Liquigas)_____________+3’49”
8. Damiano Cunego (Lampre)_________+4’01”
9. Tom Danielson (Garmin)____________+6’04”
10. Rigoberto Uran (Sky)______________+7’55”

Complete Overall results: Le Tour

Green Jersey (points) Top Three after Stage 16
1. Mark Cavendish (HTC)______(319)
2. J.J. Rojas (Movistar)_______(285)
3. Philippe Gilbert (Lotto)______(250)


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