Tour de France 2019 Stage 16 Highlights: Nîmes – Nîmes

Published by Darron Toy on



Welcome back to GCN Racing and highlights
of stage 16 of the Tour de France. We’ve had our final rest day, and going
into it a happy man was Simon Yates of Mitchelton Scott, who took his second stage win of the
race up the Prat d’Albis in Foix on Sunday. In the GC battle, we saw the first signs of
weakness in Julien Alaphilippe, who conceded one minute 16 seconds to fellow Frenchman
Thibaut Pinot, and 27 seconds to Geraint Thomas, who remains his closest rival. And so this is how things stand going into
stage 16. Alaphilippe still at the top of the table
and in yellow, but his advantage now down to 1 minute and 35 seconds to Thomas, whilst
Pinot is right back in contention in 4th. Today should be the penultimate sprint stage
of this year’s race, 177kms from Nimes, back to Nimes. Nothing particularly tough about the stage
profile, just one 4th category climb along the way, but it could be the weather that
makes it tough. The mercury is forecast to hit 38 degrees
celcius in the latter part of the stage, so would the sprinters teams have the energy
to bring the break back? Let’s find out. There weren’t too many riders interested
in heading up the road this morning. The French duo of Alexis Gougeard of AG2r
and Stephane Rossetto of Cofidis were the first to go, later to be joined by Lars Bak
of Dimension Data, Paul Ourselin of Total Direct Energie, and Łukasz Wiśniowski of
Team CCC. However, with the sprint teams quickly setting
to work on the front of the bunch, the lead of the quintet was never more than 2 minutes. In fact the biggest drama of the first half
of the stage was this crash of Geraint Thomas. Hard to see exactly what happened, and thankfully
he didn’t appear too badly hurt, but that’s the third time he’s hit the deck in the
last couple of weeks. NOT what you want when you’re trying to
win the Tour de France. We’ll wait and see how that affects him
in the Alpes. After 66kms of the stage done, the riders
hit the intermediate sprint. Up front, it was Lars Bak who rolled across
the line to take the maximum 20 points, whilst behind, a perfect leadout by Michael Morkov
saw Viviani take the 10 points for 6th. Peter Sagan, despite being three places further
back, remains head and shoulders above everyone else in that competition. *************************** As the temperatures soared, ice packs were
the name of the game to keep the riders cool. Nothing high tech here, it’s simply stockings
from a supermarket filled with ice. On the only classified climb of the day, the
Cote de Saint Jean Du-pin, it was once again Lars Bak who rolled across the line first. The 39 year old Dane announced earlier this
season that this would be his last Tour de France. The gap to the leaders was already back under
one minute with 36kms to go – the peloton were taking no chances today. A crash with 27kms to go saw a number of riders
go down, this is Team Sunweb sprinter Cees Bol dusting himself off, and he’d soon be
back up to the bunch. As Tony Martin continued in beast mode on
the front, it emerged that another big name had been involved. Jakob Fuglsang, who’d started the day in
9th place on GC. And it would be heartbreak for the Dane, whose
injuries were too severe for him to continue. He’d climb into the race ambulance – a huge
disappointment for a rider who came into this race as one of the big favourites. With Tony Martin finally done for the day,
it was time for Deceuninck Quickstep to show themselves on the front for the first time,
another Dane, Kasper Asgreen, setting to work and quickly bringing the gap to the break
down further. There was another crash inside the last 6kms
of the stage – this time, Ben King of Dimension Data involved, quickly taking a bike from
his teammate. The 5 man break was still holding onto that
slender 12 second advantage with 4kms to go, they’d clearly saved some energy for the
last part of the race. However, with 4 sprinters teams working on
the front, they were eventually caught, and the leadout proper began. Under the flamme rouge it was Lotto Soudal
on the front, but waiting in the wings were Deceuninck Quickstep. Danish champion Michael Morkov leading Richeze
and Viviani through the last corner. He would pull off with just over 250m to go,
Richeze guiding his Italian leader perfectly towards the line. However, coming from 7 places back was Caleb
Ewan, and in a drag strip race to the line, it was the Australian who took the honours. Caleb Ewan taking his 2nd stage win of this
race, the only sprinter in fact to have won more than one. He’s never got this far through a Grand
Tour before, but he’s clearly got through it
in good condition. t’s another long one tomorrow. A 200km transitional stage from Pont du Gard
to Gap. This one looks almost guaranteed to be won
from the breakaway – the third category climb of the Col de la Sentinelle crests with less
than 10kms to go, after which it’s a fast and frantic descent to the finish line. Don’t forget to subscribe to GCN Racing
if you haven’t done so already, and also click on the bell icon so that you receive
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