Michael Rogers wins stage 16 after late attack off the Port de Bales

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Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) has added a Tour de France stage victory to the two wins he took at the Giro d’Italia earlier this year, attacking on a long descent to the finish of stage 16 to take a thrilling solo victory.
Rogers was part of a 21-rider escape group that got away on the first of three days in the Pyrenees, with the Australian being one of just three riders to make it to the top of the day’s final climb, the Port de Bales, in the race lead. He made his move with less than 5km to go, and was able to hold off four chasers to take his first stage win at the Tour de France.

Stage 16 of the 2014 Tour de France was the longest of the race, running 238km from Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon with five climbs, including the hors categorie Port de Bales, along the way.

Two riders had abandoned the Tour before the stage start — reigning world champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) and British youngster Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) — leaving 169 riders to begin the final six days of racing.

It took nearly 80km for the day’s main breakaway to form and to be allowed some freedom by the peloton. A three rider break had initially got away before swelling to eight before the peloton rounded them up. Stage 14 winner Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) took the one point on offer on the Cote de Fanjeaux before a five-rider group tried its hand at an escape.

They were joined by another seven riders but Garmin-Sharp had missed the move and took it upon themselves to chase it down. The frantic pace saw many riders shelled out the back of the peloton — including Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Richie Porte (Sky) and Jurgen van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) — and all bar one rider from the break was caught as the peloton approached the second climb of the day.

Matteo Montaguti (AG2r-La Mondiale) was the rider who had stayed clear, and he continued on alone to take the one KOM point over the Cote de Pamiers. He was soon joined by another 14 riders, and then another six, forming a lead group of 21 riders on a stage that suited the breakaway.

The group featured all the riders that had been in the earlier 12-man break plus a couple more: Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo), Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol), Greg van Avermaet (BMC), Jon Izagirre (Movistar), Jose Serpa (Lampre-Merida), Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge), Tom Jelte Slagter (Garmin-Sharp), Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge), Jeremy Roy (FDJ), Matteo Montaguti, Kevin Reza (Europcar), Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R-La Mondiale), Anthony Delaplace (Bretagne Séché Environment), Vasil Kiryienka (Sky), Florian Vachon (Bretagne Séché Environment), Bernard Eisel (Sky) and Roger Kluge (IAM Cycling).

With that group up the road, the Astana-led peloton seemed happy to sit back and let the race unfold. The 21 riders had a gap of 6:05 as they approached the intermediate sprint in Saint-Girons with 114km to go (Roger Kluge took maximum points), and their lead was out to 8:50 on the slopes of the third climb with 95km remaining.

Thomas Voeckler took the five points on offer at the top of Col de Portet-d’Aspet with a little dig just before the summit. The Frenchman is no stranger to winning races in this part of France, having won into Bagneres-de-Luchon in 2010 — the day of the infamous “chaingate” incident between Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador — and in 2012.

By the time the peloton crested the second category climb they were 10:15 behind the breakaway, the Astana team of race leader Vincenzo Nibali on the front and clearly happy to let the breakaway contest the stage victory.

The fourth of five climbs for the day, the third-category Col des Ares, peaked with 61.5km to go and it was Voeckler that again took the maximum points in the breakaway. Meanwhile the leaders’ advantage was still growing, pushing out beyond 12 minutes with 50km still to race.

The attacks began in the lead group before the designated start of the Port de Bales climb and only continued as the 11.7km ascent began. Successive attacks from Jeremy Roy saw the lead group thinned down with Vasil Kiryenka getting dropped, regaining contact and then heading straight to the front.

Michael Rogers came to the front with about 28km left to race (and 7km to the top of the climb) and the pace quickly saw the lead group reduced to just six riders: Cyril Gautier, Thomas Voeckler, Greg van Avermaet, Ion Izagirre, Jose Serpa and Rogers himself. Thomas Voeckler tried attacking but was soon caught.

In the main field the relentless pace of Benat Intxausti (Movistar) saw the bunch thinned right down, with Richie Porte (Sky) just one of many to get dropped.

Back in the lead group Voeckler attacked again and was again caught. Then it was Voeckler’s teammate Cyril Gautier who tried to get clear, twice, failing to make a move stick, but his efforts had reduced the lead group to just four riders.

Gautier himself was soon dropped from the leading quartet, clearly paying for his efforts, leaving just Serpa, Rogers and Voeckler at the front.

In the main field the group of race leader Vincenzo Nibali had been whittled down to just 14 riders, with Tejay van Garderen dropped and later Bauke Mollema distanced as well. With 22.7km to the finish, Thibaut Pinot (FDj.fr) attacked from the Nibali group, dragging the maillot jaune with him, with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) still in contention as well. Best young rider Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale), meanwhile, couldn’t handle the pace and dropped off the back, and off the overall podium.

Jose Serpa attacked the lead group of three at the summit of the hors categorie Port de Bales climb, taking the maximum points on offer while Kiryienka and Gautier joined forces just before the descent began.

Serpa, Rogers and Voeckler were still together with 16km of descending remaining and 6km later they were joined by Kiryenka and Gautier. With two Europcar riders in the lead, the Frenchmen very much had the advantage.

In what was left of the peloton, Pinot attacked again just before the summit, distancing everyone including Vincenzo Nibali. But the descent was just about to begin and soon a six-rider group would form on the descent.

At the head of the race, Rogers attacked with 9.4km to go but was soon marked and with roughly 5km to go, Gautier tried his luck. Rogers rode clear of the other three in the group and caught up to Gautier before punching past just 4.8km from the finish.

The run-in to the line was mostly downhill with some flat roads into Bagneres-de-Luchon and Rogers was able to open a slight gap and maintain it on the run to the finish. With 1.8km to go Kiryienka tried to bridge across to Rogers but couldn’t and from there it was left to Gautier.

It looked as if the group of four might have caught Rogers in the final kilometre but the Australian three-time world ITT champion held on with enough time to bow and punch the air as he crossed the line. Thomas Voeckler, two-time winner into Bagneres-de-Luchon, took second in the sprint for the line, nine second behind Rogers and just ahead of Kiryienka.

Overall leader Vincenzo Nibali crossed the line 8:32 behind Rogers in a six-rider group that also contained Jeremy Roy, Thibaut Pinot, Leopold Konig, Alejandro Valverde and Jean-Christophe Peraud. The result sees Nibali maintain his lead of 4:37 over Valverde in the general classification, with Pinot moving into third place, 29 seconds further behind, after Romain Bardet finished nearly two minutes behind the yellow jersey group.

Bardet loses his lead in the best young rider classification as well, with Pinot taking the lead in that competition, while Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) now leads the KOM classification. Peter Sagan (Cannondale) continues to dominate the points classification and, barring a crash or illness, will win the green jersey come Paris.

Before then though the riders have another two days in the Pyrenees, including tomorrow’s 125km stage from Saint-Gaudens to Pla d’Adet, which features three first-category climbs and a hors categorie ascent to finish the day.

Previous stage reports

– Stage 1: Marcel Kittel takes Tour opener as Cavendish and Gerrans crash
– Stage 2: Vincenzo Nibali wins in Sheffield and takes Tour lead overall
– Stage 3: Marcel Kittel doubles up in London, Nibali holds on to yellow
– Stage 4: Marcel Kittel claims his third stage as Vincenzo Nibali defends yellow
– Stage 5: Lars Boom wins on the cobbles of stage 5 as Chris Froome crashes out
– Stage 6: Andre Greipel sprints to victory on stage 6, Nibali holds steady in yellow
– Stage 7: Matteo Trentin wins in a photo finish, Nibali secures a sixth day in yellow
– Stage 8: Blel Kadri solos to stage 8 victory, Nibali holds lead after GC shakeup
– Stage 9: Tony Martin takes solo win as Tony Gallopin rides into yellow
– Stage 10: Nibali takes back yellow as Contador crashes out of the Tour de France
– Stage 11: Gallopin wins stage 11 of Le Tour after a perfectly timed late attack
– Stage 12: Kristoff sprints to his first Tour de France stage win into Saint-Etienne
– Stage 13: Nibali climbs to a third stage win and stamps his authority on Le Tour
– Stage 14: Rafal Majka claims to stage 14 win in his first Tour de France
– Stage 15: Kristoff wins again as Bauer and Elmiger fall agonisingly short

Stage results

Rnk Rider Team Time
1
ROGERS Michael ROGERS Michael Tinkoff - Saxo
Tinkoff - Saxo 06:07:10
2
VOECKLER Thomas VOECKLER Thomas Team Europcar
Team Europcar 0:09
3
KIRYIENKA Vasil KIRYIENKA Vasil Team Sky
Team Sky ,,
Rnk Rider Team Time
1
NIBALI Vincenzo NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team
Astana Pro Team 73:05:19
2
VALVERDE Alejandro VALVERDE Alejandro Movistar Team
Movistar Team 4:37
3
PINOT Thibaut PINOT Thibaut FDJ.fr
FDJ.fr 5:06
Rnk Rider Team Points
1
SAGAN Peter SAGAN Peter Cannondale
Cannondale 402
2
COQUARD Bryan COQUARD Bryan Team Europcar
Team Europcar 226
3
KRISTOFF Alexander KRISTOFF Alexander Team Katusha
Team Katusha 217
Rnk Rider Team Time
1
PINOT Thibaut PINOT Thibaut FDJ.fr
FDJ.fr 73:10:25
2
BARDET Romain BARDET Romain AG2R La Mondiale
AG2R La Mondiale 1:34
3
KWIATKOWSKI Michał KWIATKOWSKI Michał Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step 6:22
Rnk Rider Team Points
1
MAJKA Rafał MAJKA Rafał Tinkoff - Saxo
Tinkoff - Saxo 89
2
RODRÍGUEZ Joaquim RODRÍGUEZ Joaquim Team Katusha
Team Katusha 88
3
NIBALI Vincenzo NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team
Astana Pro Team 86
Rnk Team Time
1
AG2R La Mondiale
219:28:01
2
Belkin-Pro Cycling Team
26:21
3
Team Sky
39:19

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