The two riders at the top of the general classifiicaiton finished side-by-side in the sprint to the line, 6’45" behind Fedrigo. There is no change to the top 13 but Chris Horner moves from 21st to 13th with his fifth place in stage 16.
There is no change to the top 10 overall, even though Horner and his escape group finished 6’45" ahead of the peloton. The American did rise up the rankings but not into the top 10...
The Cervelo team is leading the peloton around the final turn in Pau. It is going to finish less than seven minutes behind the stage winner and Hushovd has taken 10th place. The Norwegian will be back in the green jersey again tomorrow.
Pierrick Fedrigo has won his third Tour de France stage. The top nine in the 16th stage is: 1. Pierrick Fedrigo (FRA) BTL - 199.5km in 5h31’43 2. Sandy Casar (FRA) FDJ 3. Ruben Plaza (ESP) GCE 4. Damiano Cunego (ITA) LAM 5. Chris Horner (USA) RSH 6. Lance Armstrong (USA) RSH 7. Jurgen van de Walle (BEL) QST 8. Christophe Moreau (FRA) GCE 9. Carlos Barredo (ESP) QST at 28"
Fedrigo has given France it’s sixth stage win of the 2010 Tour de France. He has outsprinted Sandy Casar in Pau.
Van de Walle will be the freshest but the sprint is starting and the Caisse d’Epargne guys are leading it out... here comes Fedrigo!
Just before the ’Flamme Rouge’, Barredo has been caught by the eight others...
Barredo is holding off the chasers who are nine seconds behind at the 2km to go sign. Could this be the Spaniard’s first stage victory in the Tour de France? He’s not slowing down but the chasers are cooperating to reel him in.
With 3km to go, the chase group is 14" behind Barredo who doesn’t appear to be getting tired despite being on his own at the front of the stage since the 45km to go mark...
Armstrong has been seen stretching his back in the final 5km. The last time he won a stage of the Tour was in 2009 when he and his Astana mates claimed the victory in Montpellier in the team time trial. Before that, the Texan’s last victory was in 2005 when he won a time trial in St-Etienne while John Kerry sat in the Discovery Channel team car watching on...
With 5km to go, Barredo has a lead of 20" on the Armstrong group. The Spaniard has just been voted the winner of the ’Fighting Spirit’ award for the 16th stage.
As Barredo passes under the 5km to go mark, Gesink has punctured in the peloton.
Carlos Barredo was part of a day-long escape in stage 18 of the 2008 Tour. There was an escape group of 11 riders ahead of the peloton at the 68km mark on the day when the average speed for the first hour was 55.7km/h. Barredo hit out from the bunch, catching the escapees at 78km. Near the end only he and Marcus Burghardt were in contention for the win. The two started their sprint in the final 500m and the German got the better of the Spaniard.
Barredo is now looking behind to see where the other escapees are. He attacked with 45km to go, worked up a maximum gain of 50" but the group with Armstrong et al in it is now just 20" behind.
The peloton has just ridden under the 20km to go sign. It is 8’25" behind Barredo.
1. Carlos Barredo (QST) 6pts 2. Christophe Moreau (GCE) 4pts 3. Jurgen van de Walle (QST) 2pts
After Barredo has been on the attack, Jurgen van de Walle barely did a turn at the front of the chase group. Actually, he’s just rolled through to second place and has then retreated before putting his head in the wind. With Barredo about to be swallowed up, it’s time for van de Walle to test his "rested" legs.
The eight other escapees are just 15" behind Barredo with about 16km to go. Armstrong is plotting something with Bruyneel... chatting to the team manager through the car window and over the radio. They appear happy to let Barredo cook himself at the front of the stage...
The Garmin and Omega Pharma teams are at the front of the peloton which is now 8’45" behind Barredo as it passes under the 25km to go sign.
Barredo is 26" ahead of Armstrong’s group with 20km to go. He has been on the attack for 25km already and was one of the more aggressive riders on the approach to the Col du Soulor.
Thor Hushovd began today’s stage just two points shy of the green jersey. He tried an attack on the second climb of the day but then retreated to the peloton. He is the only sprinter who has been able to maintain contact with the yellow jersey’s group. If he wins the sprint for 10th place, he will take five points and regain the green jersey.
Armstrong’s group of eight is now toying with Barredo who is just 30" ahead with 30km to go.
Zabriskie - the first rider to attack today - has come to the front of the peloton. It seems Garmin-Transitions has decided to try and defend the top 10 place of Hesjedal that’s under threat from Horner who is part of the group that’s about 8’20" ahead of the yellow jersey’s peloton. Barredo is still 40" ahead of the eight other escapees...
Plenty of riders were dropped on the first climb of the stage. The current deficit of the grupetto - the group of riders at the back of the stage - is 32 minutes.
Andy Schleck has just returned to the Saxo Bank team car. He has taken a water bottle from Bjarne Riis and had a chat with the team owner. A shrug of the shoulders followed a brief discussion... is there a plan being plotted to take back eight seconds? We have about 35km to find out if Andy can take the yellow jersey back from Alberto...
With the peloton - led by three Omega Pharma riders - at the 158km mark, it is 9’20" behind Barredo who is 45" ahead of Armstrong’s group of eight.
The points for the sprint in Beille were won by: 1. Carlos Barredo (QST) 6pts 2. Christophe Moreau (GCE) 4pts 3. Lance Armstrong (RSH) 2pts
The stage leaders is about to take the six points for first place at the intermediate sprint in Bielle (35km from the finish). He has been on the attack for 10km and his advantage over Armstrong, Horner, Casar, Van de Walle, Fedrigo, Moreau and Plaza is 42" behind.
Barredo is chasing his first stage win in the Tour de France. He was second in a stage at the end of the 2008 Tour (won by Marcus Burghardt). He now has an advantage of 40" on the eight other escapees and is less than 40km to the finish. His front wheel is firmly attached to the fork and his frustration of the first week - when he attacked Rui Costa at the end of a stage, trying to use his wheel as a weapon - is being transformed into positive energy in the race.
Barredo is insisting with his solo attack. He is 20" ahead of the eight other escapees with 42km to go.
Barredo is doing all he can to get rid of his escape companions. He has attacked with 45km to go and none of the eight others are interested in trying to chase him down...
There are now nine in the lead group as Casar has caught Armstrong, Horner, Barredo, Van de Walle, Fedrigo, Moreau, Plaza and Cunego.
The eight stage leaders are inside the final 50km of stage 16. Moreau leads on the descent (which is about 25km long).
With his current gain of 9’50" on the peloton, Horner stands to move up to eighth place overall...
The 10th place for the final climb was taken by Ignatas Konovalovas - 3’40" behind Moreau.
The points for the Col d’Aubisque were won by: 1. Moreau (GCE) 40pts 2. Fedrigo (BTL) 36pts 3. Horner (RSH) 32pts 4. Plaza (GCE) 28 - at 15" 5. Armstrong (RSH) 24pts 6. Cunego (LAM) 20pts 7. Barredo (QST) 16pts 8. Van de Walle (QST) 14pts 9. Casar (FDJ) 12pts - at 1’35" 10. Konovalovas (CTT) 10pts - at...
With 300m to go, Moreau has attacked the lead group on the way to the summit but Fedrigo is trying to reel him in...
With 1km to go to the top of the fourth and final climb of the stage, the advantage of the eight leaders to the yellow jersey is over nine minutes. Horner is going to put himself into the top 10 overall (if they maintain this advantage). He is one of the two RadioShackers in the lead. There are three teams with two riders in the escape: The Shack, Quickstep and Caisse d’Epargne.
With the peloton 9’10" behind the escapees, we can report that the most work is being done up front by Carlos Barredo. He has spent 22 per cent of the last 10 minutes at the front of the stage...
The peloton is now 9’10" behind the escape and two Astana riders are still on the front of the bunch, ahead of four Omega Pharma riders...
The stage is led by eight riders:
van de Walle (QST)
Moreau (GCE) They are 9’05" ahead of the peloton as the bunch reaches the 127km mark.
The leading five have been caught by Horner, Van De Walle and Cunego with 67km to go.
The leaders are climbing again. They have 5km to go before reaching the top of the col d’Aubisque. They are almost nine minutes ahead of the yellow jersey...
With 2km to climb before the top of the Soulor, the peloton with Contador and Schleck in it is 8’35" behind. Casar is behind the five leaders by 1’30" and Konovalovas is at 2’00".
The leaders are over the Soulor pass and now on the brief descent before the road rises again for the Aubisque. Barredo is on the attack and he’s been marked by Fedrigo.
There has been some talk between Fedrigo and Armstrong. When Barredo recently attacked, the Frenchman chased him down, then sat at the front and he now looks behind to see where the other escapees are... what’s it all mean?
There are crazed fans now taunting and cheering Armstrong as he leads the escape that is 7’55" ahead of the yellow jersey’s peloton.
Just as Armstrong was trying to talk to Fedrigo, Barredo has surged ahead again but he has been matched by the other four in the lead of the stage.
Armstrong and Cunego are back on terms with Barredo, Fedrigo and Plaza.
After setting the pace for over a kilometer, Armstrong plonked himself back in the saddle and, at that moment, Barredo attacked. There are now four riders ahead of the Texan who is fighting his way back to the stage leaders.
Barredo has attacked and put space between him and the four other stage leaders. He began this move with 12km to climb. Fedrigo follows Barredo and this pair now has 10" on Armstrong.
The surge by Armstrong was with 13km to go before they reach the top of the Aubisque. He has been out of the saddle for the last two or three minutes and is not interested in what the others are doing as he’s determined to show that age will not weary him...
There are four riders on terms with Armstrong: Barredo, Cunego, Plaza and Fedrigo.
Armstrong is driving the escape now and his surge has dropped Moreau, Horner, Casar and Konovalovas.
The action has sparked up in the race and Armstrong is now on the attack with Barredo and Plaza...
The 10th stage of the 2002 Tour was from Bazas to Pau. It was a 147km stage a day before the race’s rendezvous with the climbs of the Pyrenees. The winner was Patrice Halgand of France who beat his compatriot - and one-time leader of this year’s climbing classification, Jerome Pineau who was riding the Tour for the first time that year...
The first time that Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France, the 16th stage concluded in Pau. The winner that day was David Etxebarria. Armstrong was 11th - one place behind the overall runner-up that year, Alex Zulle.
The escapees have increased their advantage early on the col d’Aubisque. They are now 7’20" ahead of the peloton that’s led by Paolo Tiralongo (AST). At the front of the lead group is Ruben Plaza, the champion of Spain in 2009.
Of the 10 escapees, there are three men born in 1971. Christophe Moreau is riding his 15th Tour... he is the oldest in the break (at 39 - born: 12 April 1971). Chris Horner is 38 (born 23 October 1971) and his team-mate Lance Armstrong is a little over a month older, 38 (born 18 September 1971).
The 10 escapees are 6’35" ahead of the peloton. The leaders are at the 120km mark. With the gain Horner has at the moment, he has moved up to 11th place in the general classification. He is the best placed of the escape group in the GC, 21st overall after 15 stages - 15’37" behind Contador.
The rider who finished 11th in the 13th stage of the 1987 Tour de France, Federico Echave (ESP) turns 50 today. The stage from Bayonne was won by Erik Breukink, ahead of Jean-Francois Bernard. The director of the Bbox team, Jean-René Bernaudeau finished 12th that day in 1987.
Of the 10 in the lead of stage 16, four have previously won at least one stage of the Tour de France.
Lance Armstrong (RSH) has won 24 times at the Tour - including team time trials... his first victory was in 1994 in Verdun (as the world champion), and his last was in the 20th stage time trial at the end of the 2005 Tour.
Casar (FDJ) has won three, including the ninth stage this year.
Fedrigo (BTL) has won twice - in Gap (2006) and Tarbes (2009).
Moreau (GCE) won the prologue in 2001.
At the base of the col d’Aubisque the peloton is led by two Astana riders, followed by four from Omega Pharma-Lotto. The peloton is 6’25" behind the stage leaders at the 108km mark.
Of the 10 in the lead, the rider spending the most time at the front is Lance Armstrong. in the last 10 minutes he has been at the front of the escape for 15 per cent of the time.
The escapees are currently 6’30" ahead of the peloton as they make their way up the fourth climb of the day. The road is uphill until the Soulor pass, then there’s a brief downhill before the road rises again on the way to the top of the col d’Aubisque which is at the 138km mark of today’s 199.5km stage.
The last time that the Tour visited the Col d’Aubisque was in 2007, that was when the stage concluded at the top of the 1,709m climb. The winner was Michael Rasmussen, 26" ahead of Leipheimer, 35" ahead of Contador and 43" ahead of Evans. It would be the last time that we saw Rasmussen in the Tour. He was the yellow jersey at the time but his team withdrew him from the race because of issues with his Athletes Whereabouts Form before the Tour...
After his attack in stage 16 of the 2005 race, Evans put himself in the top 10 of the general classification of the Tour for the first time. The rider who would finish as runner-up in 2007 and 2008 led his escape group of four for the final 40km and eventually finished fourth in the stage that was won by Oscar Pereiro (who would win the ’Fighting Spirit’ prize a year before he won the overall title).
In 2005, when the 16th stage of the Tour concluded in Pau and had the col d’Aubisque as the last climb, the rider who led over the summit was Cadel Evans - riding his first Tour. He chased down a move that included Philippe Gilbert and Oscar Pereiro and, just as he agreed not to attack them, he received orders from DS Hendrik Redant: "You’ve got to attack now!" He did. He forged a good gain at the top and was caught on the descent by three others: Pereiro, Mazzoleni and Zandio... (Continued...)
The peloton is being led by the Astana team as it makes its way towards the final climb(s) of stage 16. The Col du Solour is at the 128.5km mark - but doesn’t include climbing points today - while the Col d’Aubisque is at the 138km mark. As the peloton passed the 94km mark, it was 3’25" behind the 10 escapees who are now in the feedzone.
Charteau is now waiting for the peloton that is 4’00" behind the 10 escapees.
“I think, if anything, what will happen is that we’ll see Andy be even more aggressive and more angry to inspire him to even better things than what he’s done in previous stages," concluded Sunderland in his chat to LeTour.fr earlier today. "It could be enough to fire him up to really take over Contador.”
"He had a couple of lengths and Contador was coming up to him and then he dropped the chain. There’s also some stress in moments like that – you’re over the threshold, your heart-rate is pumping waves of adrenaline and then you have to remedy a mechanical," said Sunderland about Schleck’s hiccup in stage 15. "After all that, you’ve got to chase the best bike rider in the world. “All Andy could have been thinking was, ‘Oh man, the yellow jersey! The Tour de France is riding away from me…’"
Scott Sunderland worked with the CSC team when Sastre won the Tour in 2008. LeTour.fr caught up with the former directeur sportif to talk about yesterday’s stage. “Knowing how Bjarne Riis, I know he would have set yesterday’s stage as one to put Contador under pressure. You can imagine the situation, having the drive and motivation and form to be ready to go… and just when the mechanical happened, he had launched from the middle of the group to try and catch Contador by surprise..."
The 10 leaders have an advantage of 3’00" on Charteau and 3’40" on the peloton.
Before the top of the third climb, Konovalovas was dropped by the lead group but he has returned to the Armstrong group. The riders at the front of stage 16 are: Armstrong, Horner, Casar, Barredo, Van de Walle, Fedrigo, Moreau, Plaza, Cunego and Konovalovas.
The peloton faces 30km of downhill now. Fedrigo is leading Moreau and Cunego at the front of the breakaway, following them is Armstrong and six others...
The peloton has been led over the top of the Tourmalet by an Astana rider, 3’40" behind Moreau.
Charteau is still between the lead group and the peloton. He got not points and is 2’45" behind the stage leaders at the 72km mark.
1. Moreau (GCE) 20pts 2. Fedrigo (BTL) 18pts 3. Cunego (LAM) 16pts 4. Armstrong (RSH) 14pts 5. Casar (FDJ) 12pts 6. Barredo (QST) 10pts 7. Plaza (GCE) 8pts 8. Horner (RSH) 7pts 9. Van de Walle (QST) 6pts 10. Konovalovas (CTT) 5pts
Moreau has led Fedrigo over the top of the col du Tourmalet... (Full results to follow.)
“It was ridiculous but you’ve got to understand the situation. It was the heat of the moment at a key time in the Tour de France. It could be the tell-tale moment – for the win or the loss – and we were the first car yet it took us so long to get there. I was basically driving over toes of the spectators and shunting motorbikes with the car to get there as quickly as I could. But that’s the folly of what you get in the mountains.”
“You’ve got to understand the situation," McGee said of the moment Schleck dropped his his chain. "There are helicopters overhead, there are thousands of people spilling onto the road cheering and shouting, there are commissaire cars all around, there are motorbikes speeding past and photographers doing their jobs… there are a million things all going on at once. It’s an absolute circus. It all happened so fast and by the time we got back up to him, he was on top of the bike and riding again..."
The 10 leaders are inside the final kilometer of the Tourmalet climb. They are 3’30" ahead of the Contador group.
Of the 10 in the lead of stage 16, the highest in the general classification at the start of the day is Horner (RSH) who was 21st overall, 15’37" behind Contador.
After a significant dose of work by the Omega boys, one rider from the Astana team has come to the front to set the pace for the peloton that’s inside the final 4km of the Tourmalet climb.
Hushovd’s move lasted about 4km but he is now back in the yellow jersey’s peloton.
The escapees have just ridden through La Mongie, this is where Armstrong has won a stage in the past. He is currently in a group of 10 riders which now includes Konovalovas (CTT) that is 3’40" ahead of the peloton.
There are two special prizes which are a traditional feature of the Tour de France, the Souvenir Henri Desgrange - awarded to the rider who is first over the highest summit, and the Souvenir Jacques Goddet, who was the second Tour director (after Desgrange). Both prizes this year are awarded on the col du Tourmalet. Jacques’ souvenir is awarded today, and Henri’s on Thursday. Both are worth 5,000 euros for the winner.
The nine stage leaders are 5km from the top of the climb. They are 19" ahead of Konovalovas (CTT) and then comes Charteau in 11th place... Omega Pharma-Lotto are setting the pace of the peloton.
The most recent riders to lead a stage over the col du Tourmalet during the Tour de France are: 1998: Alberto Elli (ITA) 1999: Alberto Elli (ITA) 2001: Sven Montgomery (SUI) 2003: Sylvain Chavanel (FRA) 2006: David De La Fuente (ESP) 2008: Remi Di Grégorio (FRA)
Cunego is calling for the team car at the front of the stage. He is riding at the back of the Armstrong group that is now 3’45" ahead of the yellow jersey’s group which is 7km from the top of the Tourmalet.
With 8km to climb on the col du Tourmalet, there are nine in the lead (3’00" ahead of the yellow jersey). The lead group is:
Van de Walle (QST)
The six stage leaders look like they’ll soon be caught by Horner, Barredo and Plaza.
Thor Hushovd has attacked the yellow jersey’s peloton with 8km to climb.
At the front of the peloton, Astana’s Paolo Tiralongo and Omega’s van den Broeck are having a chat. They’re all smiles as they ride along 3’00" behind Armstrong’s group.
Armstrong group is now 3’00" ahead of the yellow jersey’s peloton. Recently Contador and Schleck were seen talking near the back of their group that continues to be led by four Omega Pharma-Lotto riders.
Casar, Moreau, Fedrigo, Cunego, Van de Walle are now with Armstrong at the front of the stage.
The peloton was 2’50" behind Armstrong’s trio with 10km to climb.
Armstrong has been caught by Fedrigo and Cunego at the 63km mark.
Contador has dropped behind the peloton to gets some assistance from Faustino Munoz, the Astana team’s mechanic who has adjusted and tightened the yellow jersey’s front derailleur.
Armstrong is now pacing himself just ahead of Cunego and Fedrigo.
One (Armstrong) leads two (Fedrigo and Cunego) by 18". Then comes Casar, Van de Walle and Moreau at 30". Then comes Horner, Konovalovas, Barredo, Charteau and Plaza at 50"... then the yellow jersey’s peloton at 2’15".
Aerts, Moreni, Lloyd and Van den Broeck are leading the yellow jersey’s peloton that’s 1’40" behind Armstrong.
Cunego and Fedrigo are second and third in the stage. They have caught and dropped Casar who is now riding with Moreau and Van de Walle.
Casar is 10" behind Armstrong and the four chasers - Fedrigo, Cunego, Moreau and van de Walle - are a further five seconds behind.
Armstrong has dropped Casar at the 55km mark. Immediately he opened up a solid lead.
Armstrong caught Casar at 51km and the other escapees retreated to the peloton that was 50” behind. Fedrigo, Cunego, Moreau and van de Walle formed a counter-attack at the base of the third climb. They are 15” at 53km and the peloton is at 1’10”.
Casar has seen Armstrong closing in on him and the Texan has been able to catch up to the Frenchman. These two are now in the lead of the stage at the 51km mark.
Armstrong is second on the stage. He is 10" behind Casar but the others from his escape have retreated to the peloton. Cunego, Moreau and Van de Walle are 30" behind the stage leader. Fedrigo is now attacking the peloton.
Vinokourov, Armstrong, Wiggins, Kreuziger, Hesjedal, Sastre, Charteau, Costa, Cunego and Capecchi are the riders in the Armstrong group... they are 20" behind Casar.
The winner of stage nine, Casar (FDJ) is now on his own at the front of the stage. He has begun the ascent of the col du Tourmalet. At the top is a special prize: the Souvenir Jacques Goddet.
Gesink has punctured and is now back on his bike after getting a new wheel from his Rabobank team car. He is in pursuit of the yellow jersey’s group that’s 38" behind Armstrong’s group.
At the top of the second climb, two who have worn the yellow jersey in the 2010 Tour - Evans (BMC) and Chavanel (QST) - were 4’00" behind the Armstrong group. Ivan Basso has just made it over the top 9’50" behind the stage leaders.
Speaking to LeTour.fr earlier today, Brad McGee explained his take on the incident that cost Schleck the yellow jersey yesterday. Going into the technicalities, we asked the directeur sportif, can you explain what happened? Did Andy shift from the big chainring to the little one…? “We had a few discussions about it," said McGee, "and we don’t’ believe it was a fault of the material. It was maybe a combination of a few things but at the end of the day it was just bad luck and that’s it.”
The yellow jersey’s peloton is 25" behind the stage leaders and Samuel Sanchez and Gesink have caught up wtih Contador et al.
Early on the descent, Cunego has caught the Armstrong group which is being attacked by Sandy Casar...
Contador’s group crested the Aspin climb 30" behind the Armstrong group and the Sanchez/Sanchez/Gesink group was at 50".
The points at the top of the second climb of stage 16 were won by: 1. Charteau (BTL) 15pts 2. Casar (FDJ) 13pts 3. Kreuziger (LIQ) 11pts 4. Hesjedal (GRM) 9pts 5. Sastre (CTT) 8pts 6. Costa (GCE) 7pts 7. Capecchi (FOT) 6pts 8. Armstrong (RSH) 5pts
Cunego has attacked the Omega-led peloton in the final kilometer of the Col d’Aspin. There has been no reaction from the other riders...
The escapees are ahead of the yellow jersey by 25" at the 1km to climb sign.
The riders at the front of the stage with 2km to climb on the col d’Aspin are:
Casar (FDJ) They are 28" ahead of the yellow jersey’s group of 18 riders.
"’Today was a big day and there’s still a while to go to Paris… for the sake of the rest of the Tour, it’s in our benefit to just say that it’s back luck’," McGee told LeTour.fr this morning about the speech by Riis after yesterday’s stage. "’We’ll let the media and spectators and commentators say what they want but we don’t want to get caught up in the whole controversy of whatever happens’.”
“By the time we got back to the hotel we pretty much got back on top of things. Obviously, immediately after the stage, there was a lot of energy. The stage was still already hard enough but given the way that it finished, it brought out a few emotions. I think Bjarne hit it on the head by calling a little meeting in the bus; he casually asked the guys to gather around as we drove back to the hotel and he told them, ‘Whatever has happened, there’s not point in losing time or energy over it."
Some of the riders in the yellow jersey’s peloton are:
Van den Broeck
Navarro There are actually 18 in this group that is now 25" behind the Armstrong/Sastre escape.
The escape group is being led by Sastre and Kreuziger with Armstrong right behind. They are 20" ahead of the Contador peloton which includes 17 riders - and they are 20" ahead of the Gesink/Sanchez group...
The leaders are now 5km from the top second climb. Lloyd is now waiting for the group that is being led by two of his team-mates including the rider in fifth overall, Van den Broeck.
The riders in third and sixth overall - Sanchez and Gesink - have been dropped by the yellow jersey’s peloton.
Aerts and Van den Broeck are leading the peloton that’s about to catch up with the escapees and, as they get close, there are a number of riders including Roche and Gadret (ALM) being dropped... Also losing contact with the yellow jersey’s peloton are Rodriguez (KAT) and Sanchez (EUS) - the rider in third overall!
The lead group is now just 15" ahead of the yellow jersey’s peloton.
He fought his way back to the yellow jersey group between the Peyresourde and the Aspin but Cadel Evans has been dropped again.
The col d’Aspin made its debut on the Tour itinerary in 1910. The riders who have led over this category-one pass in recent years are: 1998: Rodolfo Massi (ITA) 1999: Mariano Piccoli (ITA) 2001: Bobby Julich (USA) 2003: Sylvain Chavanel (FRA) 2004: Michael Rasmussen (DEN) 2006: Fabian Wegmann (GER) 2008: Sebastian Lang (GER)
Rogers had rejoined the peloton but has been dropped again as the chase by Rabobank riders reduces the composition of the yellow jersey group and reels in the advantage of Armstrong’s escape group that is now just 20" ahead of Contador et al.
The peloton is now climbing the 12.3km long category-one col d’Aspin. It has an average gradient of 6.3 per cent and peaks at an altitude of 1,490m. The top is at the 42.5km mark of today’s stage.
The peloton is 33" behind the 14 escapees at the 32km mark.
The 14 escapees are now 30" ahead of the peloton that is being led by Rabobank’s Juan Manuel Garate and Lars Boom.
Horner is leading the escape group in Arreau (at 28.5km) but the advantage has come back to 38". The escapees are now climbing the col d’Aspin.
At the top of the Peyresourde there was a crash involving a Saxo Bank rider. We now know it was Voigt. He has a new bike and is riding again.
The lead group is now composed of the following riders:
Armstrong and Horner (RSH)
Kreuziger and Szymd (LIQ)
Capecchi (FOT) They are 45" ahead of the peloton.
Van den Broeck has been squeezing his right thigh and it seems that he could have cramp. He is now back with the peloton that’s now being led by Sebastian Lang of the Omega Pharma team. At the 23km mark, the yellow jersey’s peloton is 53" behind Armstrong’s group.
Van den Broeck has accepted that catching the lead group - 1’05" ahead at the 21km mark - and he’s now waiting for the peloton.
The yellow jersey is over a minute behind the Armstrong group and VDB is 35" behind the stage leaders.
The rider in fifth overall is closing in on the stage leaders. VDB (OLO) is 30" behind Lloyd and Capecchi. The peloton is at 50" and led by three Astana riders including Alberto Contador.
The yellow jersey’s peloton is 50" behind the stage leader.
Lloyd is attacking the escape group on the descent and prompting Capecchi to join him in the lead.
A Saxo Bank rider has crashed in the peloton but that’s all we know. We don’t have the name of the rider involved. (Clearly, however, it’s not Schleck.)
Van den Broeck is closing in on the stage leaders. He is 20" away from Armstrong and the peloton is at 55"
The peloton has arrived at the top of the first climb 45" ehad of the peloton. The points allocation for this category-one climb is: 1. Szmyd (LIQ) 15pts 2. Charteau (BTL) 13pts 3. Kreuziger (LIQ) 11pts 4. Lloyd (OLO) 9pts 5. Capecchi (FOT) 8pts 6. Hesjedal (GRM) 7pts 7. Wiggins (SKY) 6pts 8. Armstrong (RSH) 5pts Van den Broeck was 30" behind the stage leaders.
Jurgen van den Broeck has attacked the peloton. He is fifth overall after 15 stage, 3’39" behind Contador.
One of the teams with two in the lead of the stage, Liquigas, is setting the pace in the final kilometer of the first climb. They are 40" ahead of the peloton with the yellow jersey.
The latest to be left behind by the yellow jersey’s peloton that is now 1km from the top of the Peyresourde are O’Grady (SAX) and Gadret (ALM).
There are 30 riders in the Contador group, including two Astana team-mates who are leading the pursuit of the 12 escapees who are 10" ahead of the four counter-attackers, 20" ahead of Roche and Kiryienka and 30" ahead of the peloton.
Casar has joined the 11 leaders... which obviously means there are 12 at the front of the stage. Simple maths, difficult climb.
Roche has dropped out of the lead group and is now with the five including Sastre and Vinokourov.
The men in pursuit of the stage leaders are:
The world champion is linger behind the yellow jersey’s peloton. Evans is officially dropped by the Contador group which is 25" behind five counter-attackers and 35" behind Armstrong’s 11-man escape.
Armstrong, Wiggins, Kreuziger, Szmyd, Hesjedal, Lloyd, Barredo, Costa, Verdugo and Capecchi are in the lead of stage 16. Charteau is attempting to bridge the gap to the group including the seven-time Tour champion. The king of the mountains from Bbox is being followed by Kiryienka.
There has been an error in call of the composition of the lead group. It was reported that Gutierrez was in the escape but the Spanish champion’s jersey has been spied near the front of the yellow jersey’s peloton. There are now 11 in the lead group.
With 13 riders in the lead group and a number switching into survival mode, the peloton with the yellow jersey is composed of about 40 riders. Rogers (THR) is the latest to lose contact because of the pace set by the Astana squad.
Morabito (BMC) has been dropped by the lead group.
Moinard, Sivstov and Martinez are losing contact with the lead group which means there are now 14 at the front of the stage. They are:
Armstrong and Horner (RSH)
Kreuziger and Szmyd (LIQ)
Costa and Gutierrez (GCE)
Capecchi (FOT) Their gain on the yello jersey bunch is 28" at the 6km mark.
Basso has not been able to show the form he had at the Giro d’Italia in May. With the 17 leaders 18" ahead of the peloton, the Giro winner has been dropped.
There are now 17 in the lead as Hesjedal has chased down Armstrong’s group.
The 16 escapees are 30" ahead of the peloton which has recently dropped Petacchi (LAM).
At the 4km mark, Wiggins has jumped across to the lead group which means there are now 16 in the lead group which is 18" ahead of the yellow jersey’s peloton.
The winner of stage 15 is slipping behind the peloton early on the Peyresourde climb.
There are now 15 in the lead by 15". The latest to join the escape group are:
Three others have bridged to the lead group:
The 10 men in the lead of stage 11 are:
Kreuziger and Szmyd (LIQ)
Capecchi (FOT) - who started the move along with Lloyd.
Armstrong is back to being an "opportunist". He began the day ranked 31st overall, 40’31" behind former team-mate Contador. He is now pushing the pace as part of an eight-man escape group.
Iban Mayoz (FOT) was involved in a crash in yesterday’s stage. He finished 30’37" behind Voeckler in Luchon and has decided not to continue the Tour. There are now 172 riders in the peloton.
As soon as racing began, McEwen (KAT) was dropped. Cavendish is now drifting behind the peloton...
There are now eight riders in the lead including Roche (ALM) and Armstrong (RSH).
There are a number of riders trying to ’snap the elastic’ that holds the peloton together. Lloyd (OLO) is at the front along with a Footon-Servetto and Euskaltel-Euskadi rider. They have been chased down by Barredo (QST).
In the first kilometer Zabriskie (GRM) rode ahead of the peloton. He was joined by Remi Di Gregorio (FDJ). They are now back in the bunch but there are several others out of the saddle at the front including Lloyd (OLO) and Martinez (EUS).
The official start time for today’s stage ws 11.43am. There are 173 riders in the peloton with Bram Tankink (RAB) not at the sign on this morning.
The col du Peyresourde made its debut in the Tour de France back in 1910. The winner then was Octave Lapize... In recent years the first men to the top of the 1,569m high climb were: 1998: Rodolfo Massi (ITA) 1999: Alberto Elli (ITA) 2001: Laurent Jalabert (FRA) 2003: Gilberto Simoni (ITA) 2005: Laurent Brochard (FRA) 2007: Haimar Zubeldia (ESP) 2008: Sebastian Lang (GER)
The first climb of stage 16 is the col de Peyresourde. This is 11km long with an average gradient of 7.4 per cent. The top is at the 11km mark of the stage, meaning that - as soon as the flag falls to signal the start - the peloton will be on the climb.
The last time that a stage of the Tour has included each of the passes that are part of the itinerary today was in 1998 when a stage like today’s was contested, albeit in the opposite direction. On that day, it was a 196.5km stage from Pau to Luchon and the winner of the stage over the Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin and Peyresourde passes was won by Rodolfo Massi who beat the champion of that edition, Marco Pantani by 36". Michael Boogerd was third and Bobby Julich fourth.
As the bunch makes its way to the site of the official start, the winner of three stages this year - Mark Cavendish - is at the front alongside the champion of Belorussia, Aliaksandr Kuchynski (LIQ).
Andy Schleck has been in the lead of the youth classification since the third stage. He has, however, worn the yellow jersey since the stage to St-Jean-de-Maurienne at the start of the second week, and Robert Gesink (RAB) - the rider ranked second in the category open to riders born after 1 January 1985 - has been clad in white during the time that last year’s runner-up has worn yellow. Andy looks certain to become the second rider to win the youth prize three times but yellow is his ambition...
The intermediate sprints for stage 16 are in Beille (at 164.5km) and Gan (185.5km).
The peloton has begun to roll through the neutral zone. Big crowds are on hand to watch the Tour in Luchon on a day when Alberto Contador is back in the lead of the general classification. In the two editions of the Tour that the Spaniard has worn the yellow jersey, he has gone on to win the title (2007 and 2009). He leads Andy Schleck by eight seconds after 2,915.9km of racing this year.
The highly anticipated second stage in the Pyrenees of the 2010 Tour de France is due to begin at 11.30am. The peloton is assembling at the start in Luchon and is about to start rolling through the 3.7km neutral zone. The stage is 199.5km long and features four giant mountain passes: the cat-1 col de Peyresourde (11km), the cat-1 col d’Apsin (42.5km), the ‘Hors Category’ col du Tourmalet (72km), followed by another ‘HC’ climb, the col d’Aubisque (138km). Live coverage will commence shortly.