Pierrick Fedrigo gave France one more reason to celebrate 100 years of the Tour in the Pyrenees as he sprinted to a stage win in Pau, the sixth for the French in the 2010 Tour de France. Riders tackled 199.5 kilometers and four major Pyreneean summits in another exciting day of racing in France.
At kilometer 50, Sandy Casar (Francais des Jeux) broke free from the peloton. On the early slopes of the Tourmalet, Lance Armstrong bridged to Casar. Armstrong appeared strong in classic climbing style. As he reached Casar it seemed the two would try to work together, however, the pace was not enough for Armstrong and he knew chasers were on the way.
Jurgen van de Walle of Belgium, Lance Armstrong of the US, Sandy Casar of France and Carlos Barredo of Spain, left to right, climb toward Tourmalet pass during the 16th stage of the Tour de France.
AP Photo/Christophe Ena
The break swelled and finally settled on nine riders: Casar and Armstrong were joined by Pierrick Fedrigo (FRA) Bbox-Bouygues Telecom, Ruben Plaza (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne, Damiano Cunego (ITA) Lampre-Farnese Vini, Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack, Jurgen Van De Walle (BEL) Quick Step, Christophe Moreau (FRA) Caisse d'Epargne and Quick Step's Carlos Barredo. Multiple attacks on the slopes of the Tourmalet and Aubisque failed as each rider tried to make his mark on the stage. Moreau proved to be the best climber as he sprinted to the top of the Tourmalet and Aubisque to win precious King of the Mountain points. The attacks softened as the riders crested the Aubisque and headed downhill into Pau.
Spaniard Carlos Barredo freed himself from the breakaway with 45 kilometers to go and an average gap of 40 seconds. At 10 km to go, the gap whittled to 20 seconds but it was still unclear if the chase would catch Barredo before the finish line. In the final uphill section of the course, and right at the 1 kilometer banner, Barredo conceded to the breakaway and rode across the finish in a state of utter disappointment.
The riders in the break--none sprinters--were faced with a bunch sprint to the line. Armstrong perhaps moved a bit too late and Fedrigo emerged the victor.
"I knew it was going to be my day," said Fedrigo, who handed his team their second win of the race after Thomas Voeckler's impressive victory on stage 15 on Monday. "I felt something this morning that it was going to be my day. It's just little details, like seeing fans of the team and some family, but I knew I just had to go for it."
The yellow jersey spent a leisurely day in the Pyrenees. There were no attacks by the GC contenders, and no gains or losses by Andy Schleck or Alberto Contador. The two are prepared for what will be one of the last decisive stages in the race for yellow--the final Pyreneean stage on Thursday that will finish on top of the Col du Tourmalet. Their last battle will be when they face the final time trial Saturday before heading into Paris.
Fighting for Points
Among the group sat Norwegian sprint star Thor Hushovd. Hushovd vowed to take back the green jersey by any means possible in what has been one of the most exciting battles of the 2010 Tour. Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) has been playing a game of tag with Hushovd and the green jersey as the two eke out points on the line. Hushovd realized that his recovery from a crash earlier this year has slowed his sprint, and he may have trouble winning the jersey on sprint finishes alone. As such, he has taken to the mountains in order to get to the line and gain precious sprint points. Norwegian fans cheered as Hushovd held his own with the peloton all the way up the climbs.
Christophe Moreau turned up the heat on Anthony Charteau in the King of the Mountains competition for the polka dot jersey by claiming first place and the full 40 points on Col D'Aubisque and Col du Tourmalet. Moreau moved into second place with 128 points. Charteau maintains the lead over Moreau with 143 points. The battle will continue on the second ascent of the Col du Tourmalet on Thursday when the Tour resumes following a rest day in Pau.
Stage 16 Results
- Pierrick Fedrigo (BBO) - 05:31:43
- Sandy Casar (FDJ) +00:00
- Ruben Plaza Molina (GCE) +00:00
- Damiano Cunego (LAM) +00:00
- Christopher Horner (RSH) +00:00
- Lance Armstrong (RSH) +00:00
- Alberto Contador (AST) 78:29:10
- Andy Schleck (SAX) +00:08
- Samuel Sanchez (EUS) +02:00
- Denis Menchov (RAB) +02:13
- Jurgen Van Den Broeck (OLO) +03:39
- Robert Gesink (RAB) +05:01
7. Levi Leipheimer (RSH) +05:25
14. Christopher Horner (RSH) +08:52
25. Lance Armstrong (RSH) +33:46
58. George Hincapie (BMC) +01:29:55
Overall Points Standings
- Thor Hushovd (CTT) - 191 Points
- Alessandro Petacchi (LAM) - 187 Points
- Mark Cavendish (THR) - 162 Points
King of the Mountains Jersey
- Anthony Charteau (BBO) - 143 Points
- Christophe Moreau (GCE) - 128 Points
- Damiano Cunego (LAM) - 99 Points
Best Young Rider
- Andy Schleck (SAX) - 78:29:18
- Robert Gesink (RAB) +04:53
- Roman Kreuziger (LIQ) +07:50
199.5K (124 miles) - Tuesday July 20
- The Tour first ventured into the Pyrenees--and up Tourmalet--100 years ago today
- The Jacques-Goddet memorial trophy will be awarded at the summit of Tourmalet
- Pau is 62 times a stage town
- Sprint Points at: Bielle, Gan
- Mountain Passes: Col de Peyresourde located at 11 kilometers - 11.0km climb to 7.4 percent grade - Category 1; Col d'Aspin at 42.5 kilometers - 12.3km climb to 6.3 percent - Cat. 1; Col du Tourmalet at 72 kilometers - 17.1km climb to 7.3 percent - Cat. H; Col d'Aubisque at 138 kilometers - 29.2km climb to 4.2 percent - Cat. H