Tour de France Stage 16 highlights and Stage 17 preview

Tour de France champion Alberto Contador relaunched his yellow jersey bid with an unexpected attack on the 16th stage of the race, won by Norwegian Thor Hushovd on Tuesday. This is Thor’s 2nd stage win in this years Tour.

It was a transitional stage of sorts and an escape was expected to succeed. That’s just what happened but it took 100 kilometers before the peloton allowed the breakaway any room to move. They would reach a maximum gain of six minutes and it was this margin that allowed three men to race ahead of seven other escape companions and contest the sprint for the win in stage 16. Thor Hushovd proved that he is a force that isn’t fading with age – or success… and he claimed his 10th Tour stage win in Gap just ahead of his compatiot Edvald Boasson Hagen and team-mate Ryder Hesjedal. This was one story of the day, the other involved The GC Guys.

Alberto Contador attacked the final climb and began to taunt his overall rivals who initially matched his acceleration but then they came again and again… the third time it was enough to shake Voeckler from his group as well as Andy and Frank Schleck. But the Australian who was in third overall moved up to second by the end of the day with Cadel Evans not only matching Contador but speeding ahead of him on the wet descent to Gap.

Three-time champion Alberto Contador attacked in the final climb of Tuesday’s 162.5km route from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux to Gap – and reduced his deficit in the title quest.

Andy Schleck of Luxembourg was among the day’s big losers – crossing the finish back of the other favorites.

Post race interview Thor Hushovd:

Stage 17 preview:

To celebrate the 150th year of Italian unification, the Tour makes its only border crossing this year. After a steady ride up towards Briancon, a succession of small climbs — Montgenevre, Sestriere and Pramartino — pulls the peloton steadily towards Pinerolo. The Pramartino, a 6.7km ascent rated category two, could be the springboard for attacks that could go all the way to the finish. Watch out for the Italians.

Video of Stage 17 route:

Overall standings after Stage 16:

1. Thomas Voeckler (FRA/EUC) 69h00min 56sec
2. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC) at 1:45.
3. Frank Schleck (LUX/LEO) 1:49.
4. Andy Schleck (LUX/LEO) 3:03.
5. Samuel Sanchez (ESP/EUS) 3:26.
6. Alberto Contador (ESP/SAX) 3:42.
7. Ivan Basso (ITA/LIQ) 3:49.
8. Damiano Cunego (ITA/LAM) 4:01.
9. Tom Danielson (USA/GRM) 6:04.
10. Rigoberto Uran (COL/SKY) 7:55.
11. Jean Christophe Peraud (FRA/ALM) 8:20.
12. Kevin De Weert (BEL/QST) 9:00.
13. Rein Taaramae (EST/COF) 9:02.
14. Pierre Rolland (FRA/EUC) 9:53.
15. Peter Velits (SVK/HTC) 10:01.
16. Arnold Jeannesson (FRA/FDJ) 10:05.
17. Haimar Zubeldia (ESP/RSH) 10:38.
18. Jelle Vanendert (BEL/OLO) 12:06.
19. Rob Ruijgh (NED/VAC) 12:56.
20. Jerome Coppel (FRA/SAU) 13:03.
21. Sandy Casar (FRA/FDJ) 14:36.
22. Nicolas Roche (EIR/ALM) 14:59.
23. Vladimir Karpets (RUS/KAT) 17:39.
24. Gorka Verdugo (ESP/EUS) 17:42.
25. Yury Trofimov (RUS/KAT) 19:20.