Wednesday July 18th, 2012

Stage 16Pau / Bagnères-de-Luchon

Start 11h20 GMT 2+

Key moments

video18.07.2012 in 23:00Summary of the race

video18/07/2012 

Summary of the race

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Stage summary18.07.2012 in 17:14Voeckler: the prince becomes King of the Climbs

Thomas Voeckler began his making a name for himself at the Tour de France during the reign of Richard Virenque who raced with one thing in mind in the twilight years of his career, winning the polka-dot jersey. Back in 2004, Voeckler was the French champion but he would become a leader of the Tour with a long stint in the yellow jersey. Eight years later he is still making a name for himself. He likes to put on a show. He likes to attack. He likes to chase points. He likes to win! He did all...

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video18.07.2012 in 16:00Interview - Stage Winner

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Interview - Stage Winner

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Sporting stakes19.07.2012 in 11:00One last opportunity...

There are two crucial stages yet to come in the 2012 Tour de France: the third high mountaintop finish of this year's edition and the time trial on the final Saturday. After stage 16, Bradley Wiggins was asked if he believed the psychological blows he had already delivered to his main overall rivals was enough to make them consider racing for a place on the podium rather than the victory. “Not yet,” said the race leader. “They gave us a good go over on the climbs today and tomorrow is...

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interview18.07.2012 in 18:26Thomas Voeckler: I felt I had good legs

He was fourth overall in 2011 and the Parisian podium became a dream for Thomas Voeckler. He won't stand in the middle of the Champs-Elysées by improving on his position in the overall rankings but now he's in contention for the King of the Mountains crown...

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interview18.07.2012 in 18:14Europcar and FDJ-Big-Mat in a battle of French pride

Two French teams are yielded plenty of rewards for their aggression in the Tour de France this July. Both Europcar and FDJ-BigMat have won two stages a piece and now they've also claimed the daily prize in the team classification. In Pau, in the stage before the rest day, it was Pierrick Fedrigo who won the stage and helped his squad to the collective prize. In Luchon-de-Bagnères it was Thomas Voeckler leading the way once again. Pierre Rolland lost some time to Bradley Wiggins but he...

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interview18.07.2012 in 18:03Sagan: We will see what happens tomorrow

With the leader of the points classification finishing over 22 minutes behind the stage winner, one interviewer decided to ask Peter Sagan about the approach of his team's true leader, Vincenzo Nibali instead... «He tried everything to crack Bradley Wiggins, it's true panache isn't it?»

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interview18.07.2012 in 17:56Wiggins: We've got a good scenario

The race leader was put under pressure by Vincenzo Nibali on the final two climbs of the 16th stage but Bradley Wiggins was always able to respond. The Italian didn't gain any time with his attacks, but he didn't lose any either. It's is, however, a different story for the defending champion of the Tour.

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video18.07.2012 in 11:45Analysis of the stage

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Analysis of the stage

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video18.07.2012 in 10:30The day's route

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The day's route

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video18.07.2012 in 10:00Jean-François Pescheux's analysis of the course

video18/07/2012 

Jean-François Pescheux's analysis of the course

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Newsflashes

17:04The new top five overall...

The defending champion Cadel Evans is yet to finish the stage but we can already report that he's out of the top six. The new top five in the 2012 Tour de France is:

1. Bradley Wiggins (GBR) SKY

2. Christopher Froome (GBR) SKY at 2'05"

3. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) EUC at 2'23"

4. Jurgen van den Broeck (LTB) at 5'46"

5. Haimar Zubeldia (ESP) RNT at 7'13"

The best young rider, Tejay van Garderen, is ranked sixth overall and is now ahead of his team leader...

16:57The top five of stage 16

With the Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin and Peyresourde climbs, this was a day that begged for an attack. And Thomas Voeckler duly delivered. He led over every pass and claimed his second stage victory in a week. The top five of stage 16 is:

1. Thomas Voeckler (FRA) EUC 197km in 5h35'01" (35.3km/h)

2. Chris Anker Sorensen (DEN) STB at 1'40"

3. Gorka Izaguirre (ESP) EUS at 3'22"

4. Alexandre Vinokouorv (KAZ) AST at 3'22"

5. Brice Feillu (FRA) SAU at...

16:54Voeckler gets his fourth Tour stage win!

Voeckler has led over every mountain in stage 16 and he's reached the finish with a health lead over the rider in second place. It's his second victory in the 2012 Tour and the fourth of his career. He's the winner of both stages that have followed a rest day in the 99th Tour.

16:52The celebrations can begin

Two times in a row, Voeckler will be the winner of the Tour stage that concludes in Luchon. He did so in 2010 on the day that Andy Schleck lost the yellow jersey because of a dropped chain. And he's inside the final kilometre of stage 16 with a healthy advantage on Chris Sorensen.

16:512km to go

Voeckler is going to win the stage and the 'Fighting Spirit' award (again). His most recent victory in the Tour de France was in stage 10 this year. He is inside the final 2km and it is going to be his fourth Tour stage win for his career.

16:485km to go

Voeckler is looking likely to win another stage. He was the winner the last time a stage of the Tour finished in Luchon (2010) and he's now inside the final 5km with a lead of 1'50" on Sorensen.

16:47Van Garderen over the top 50" behind Wiggins

Van den Broeck (LTB), Valverde (MOV), Zubeldia (RNT), Horner (RNT) and van Garderen (BMC) are in a group that's 50" behind Wiggins at the top of the Peyresourde.

16:46Yellow jersey at the top

Nibali, Wiggins and Froome have reached the top of the final climb 7'45" behind Voeckler.

16:45Nibali attacks again...!

Nibali has attacked Froome and Wiggins but the Brits have ridden back up to the Italian in the final kilometre of the col de Peyresourde.

16:44VDB & Zubeldia at 45" to Wiggins

At this stage, it would seem that Evans is going to slip down from fourth overall to around seventh. He is well behind the group that includes Van Garderen, VDB and Zubeldia.

16:433'20" between Evans and Wiggins

Wiggins is still riding with Froome and Nibali. They are extracting a lot of time out of Cadel Evans who, at the last check was over three minutes behind the yellow jersey.

16:42Result of Col de Peyresourde

The points for the final climb of the stage have been won by:

1. Thomas Voeckler (EUC) 10pts

2. Chris Sorensen (STB) 8pts

3. Vinokourov (AST) 6pts - at 2'45"

4. Gorka Izaguirre (EUS) 4pts

5. Brice Feillu (SAU) 2pts - at 3'25"

6. Jens Voigt (RNT) 1pt - at 4'05"

16:39Voeckler leads over every climb

Voeckler has reached the top of the col de Peyresourde. He was first over every climb in stage 16. He now has 15km to go in the stage.

16:38Nibali caught by Wiggins...

Froome has successfully led Wiggins back up to Nibali. The Italian's advantage was never more than 100m.

16:37Froome leading the pursuit

Nibali is insisting with his attack and although Froome is setting the pace for Wiggins it seems as though the ITalian was gaining time. When the Sky pair got close to him, he got out of the saddle and surged again...

16:36NIbali attacks

The rider ranked third overall has attacked the yellow jersey with 4km to climb. There are just two men now in pursuit of hte Italian: Wiggins and Froome.

16:35Rolland dropped

Rolland has been unable to match the pace that's being set by Basso.

16:34Valverde and Roche also with Wiggins...

Other riders with the yellow jersey group - which is putting time into Evans - are Roche (ALM), Valverde (MOV) and Cobo (MOV).

16:3215 riders in yellow jersey group

There are about 15 men with Wiggins. Brajkovic (AST), Basso (LIQ), Wiggins (SKY), Froome (SKY), Porte (SKY), Rolland (EUC), Van Garderen (BMC), Kruiswijk (RAB), Nibali (LIQ), van den Broeck (LTB)... are some of the men in this group.

16:304km to climb

Voeckler is still well in the lead of the stage. With 4km to go to the top of the Aspin climb, he has 1'00" on Sorensen. Vinokourov is at 1'40".

16:29Pinot dropped

The yellow jersey's peloton is thinning quickly now. Pinot is the last from the top 10 to lose contact with Wiggins' group that continues to be led by Basso.

16:28Lotto on the front of yellow jersey group

Vanendert (LTB) is setting the pace of the yellow jersey's group which has just spat Evans (BMC) on the back... again.

Moinard (BMC) is waiting for his team leader but there's no sign of Van Garderen doing the same...

16:28Basso now leading

Basso is at the front of the yellow jersey group which has just caught and passed Hoogerland and Kessiakoff.

16:26Sorensen closing in on Voeckler

Sorensen has caught and passed Feillu. The Dane is inside the final 20km of the stage and is about 45" behind Voeckler.

16:2550" lead for Voeckler

With 5km to climb on the Peyresourde, Feillu is 50" behind Voeckler and Sorensen is at 57".

16:2320km to go

Voeckler is inside the final 20km of the stage.

Vinokourov has been caught by Izaguirre at the same time that Sorensen has attacked and set off in pursuit of Feillu.

16:22Voeckler leads by 10"

Voeckler has already put 10" into Feillu. The rider who was fourth overall in 2011 began the stage ranked 27th overall. He began the stage 44'28" behind Wiggins.

The difference between Voeckler and the peloton with 25km to go in stage 16 is 9'30".

16:19Voeckler goes alone

With 7km to climb on the col de Peyresourde, Voeckler has dropped Feillu.

16:15Two chase two chasing two...

We have three pairs of riders at the front of the race:

- Feillu and Voeckler at the front...

- Vinokourov and Sorensen at 32"

- Voigt and Izaguirre at 45".

Martin's group of five is at 3'00".

16:11Evans catches the Wiggins group

Evans has returned to the yellow jersey group that is 8'40" behind the stage leaders.

16:10Van Garderen stayed with yellow jersey group

Although his team leader was suffering on the col d'Aspin, the leader of the youth classification remained with the group that included the yellow jersey. Evans now has three other team-mates with him as he chases and tries to get back on terms with the Wiggins' group.

BMC's objectives seem to have shifted from the yellow jersey for Evans, to the white jersey for van Garderen.

16:08Sky leading peloton

Liquigas was at the front of the yellow jersey group - with Basso and Nibali doing the work - when Evans cracked. Now there are Sky men at the front of the group that is being chased by Evans.

16:07Evans 25" behind Wiggins

Evans was 45" behind Wiggins' peloton at the top of the Aspin. Near Arreau, the Australia is 25" behind the yellow jersey.

16:05Four in the first chase group

Vinokourov, Izaguirre, Sorensen and Voigt are together in their pursuit of the two stage leaders. Voeckler and Feillu are ahead by 50".

16:03Two team-mates with Evans

Wiggins, Froome and Nibali had an advantage of 45" on Evans at the top. The defending Tour champion is still trying to get back on terms with Wiggins but the Australian has a chase on his hands. He has the support of two BMC team-mates on the descent of the col d'Aspin.

16:02Martin's group is now 2'20" behind

Voeckler and Feillu have a lead of 2'20" on the Martin group which also includes Stortoni, Caruso, Ten Dam and Kiryienka.

15:56Izaguirre leads the chase

Izaguirre (EUS) and Sorensen (STB) are attacking the descent and they are well ahead of Voigt and Vinokourov who they had ridden over the top of the Aspin with.

The pair in the lead are in Arreau which is the town in the valley between the third and fourth climbs of the 16th stage.

15:54Basso leads Nibali over top

At the top of the Col d'Aspin, the yellow jersey is 9'20" behind the stage leaders and 45" ahead of Evans.

15:52Evans left stranded in final kilometre of Col d'Aspin

Evans appears to be over his momentary crisis but he did have to ride back to the Kloden group without the support of a team-mate, Cummings.

15:50Four Sky riders still with Basso and Nibali

Wiggins still has the support of three team-mates: Roger, Froome and Porte and maybe some more but these four Sky riders are just on the wheel of Nibali who is following the strong turn by Basso. It's hard to tell if Van Garderen is still with the white jersey is in the group with the yellow jersey but we can confirm that Evans has the support of one more team-mate but the Australian is losing considerable time to the yellow jersey.

15:48Evans and Kloden in difficulty

Evans and Kloden are at the back of the yellow jersey's group and, although still in contact, it seems that they are about to be dropped...

15:48Evans dropped

Evans cannot maintain the pace that's being set by Basso and Nibali at the front of the yellow jersey's group.

15:47Basso & Nibali lead peloton

Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali are the men at the from of the peloton. It was Nerz who had set the pace for a little over a kilometre near the top of the col d'Aspin but his job is done and now the speed set by Basso is too much for Coppel who has been dropped along with Nerz.

15:45Voeckler takes another 10 points

At the top of the Col d'Aspin the Europcar leader has led Feillu over the line. The points for the third climb today have been won by:

1. Voeckler (EUC) 10pts

2. Feillu (SAU) 8pts

3. Vinokourov (AST) 6pts - at 1'10"

4. Sorensen (STB) 4pts

5. Voigt (RNT) 2pts

6. Izaguirre (EUS) 1pts - at 1'30"

15:43Nibali shaping up for an attack...?

The peloton has shed a number of riders quickly, including Boasson Hagen who is not able to respond to the speed set by the three Liquigas riders.

15:42Liquigas put three on the front...

There are now three Liquigas riders at the front of the peloton that had, until now, only been led by Sky.

15:405km to climb for Wiggins' group

The yellow jersey's peloton is inside the final 5km of the Aspin ascent. At the same time, the two leaders are inside the last 1,500m of the climb.

Voeckler and Feillu are 1'10" ahead of Sorensen and Voigt.

Vinokourov is at 1'17".

Izaguirre is at 1'30".

Martin is at 1'43".

15:38Voigt and Sorensen together

Chris Anker Sorensen (STB) and Jens Voigt (RNT) have dropped Vinokourov. The Dane and the German are the second and third riders in the stage. They are 1'15" behind Voeckler and Feillu.

Vinokourov is on his own 1'20".

Izaguirre is at 1'30".

15:35Fedrigo caught by peloton

Knees is still there for the yellow jersey but the peloton is now being led by his team-mate Boasson Hagen. This group is 10'25" behind the stage leaders and it has just reeled in an early escapee, Fedrigo (the winner in Pau two days ago).

15:33Kessiakoff at 3'25"

With 5km to climb on the Aspin, Kessiakoff is 3'25" behind Feillu and Voeckler.

Soresen is now attacking his group and only Vinokourov is able to respond. Martin and Voigt are now far behind and the German is determined to catch Vinokourov.

15:31The chase group

Hincapie has crashed but he's still in the second group with 5km to go to the top of the Col d'Aspin. The chase group is composed of: Hincapie (BMC), Voigt (RNT), Martin (GRS), Ten Dam (RAB), Kiryienka (MOV), Sorensen (STB), Vinokourov (AST).

15:28Peloton at 136km: 10'25" behind

At the 136km mark, the peloton is 10'25" behind Voeckler and Feillu who are now 5km from the top of the col d'Aspin.

15:21Vinokourov attacks, Kessiakoff gets dropped

It seems as though Kessiakoff has given up on trying to stay on the attack in stage 16. He has slumped his head and is off the back of his group of seven. At the same time, Vinokourov went on the attack. The plan, it would seem, is for Vino to take as many climbing points as possible and, perhaps even steal them from Voeckler who is closing in on the polka-dot jersey that Astana has had for over a week now.

15:20Kiryienka joins Martin

There are now two men together to chase down the two leaders. Martin (GRS) has been joined by Kiryienka. This pair is at 35" (to Voeckler and Feillu).

15:16Kessiakoff's group at 1'50"

The polka-dot jersey's group that includes a wounded Hinapie, is now 1'50" behind Voeckler and Feillu.

15:15Martin at 38"

Martin is in pursuit of the two stage leaders. He is just 38" behind Voeckler and Feillu.

15:14Hincapie racing again...

It seems that George Hincapie (BMC) has had an accident on the descent but he's back on his bike and racing again after getting someone in the team car to clean up a nasty wound on his left shoulder.

15:13Racing through La Mongie

The leaders have just ridden through La Mongie, a small village on the slopes of the Tourmalet which has hosted a couple of stage finishes of the Tour in the past. Feillu is taking a feed from the Saur team car and Voeckler is happy to work with the rider who is the brother of another Frenchman to have worn the yellow jersey (Roman).

15:08Peloton at top of Tourmalet at 10'10"

Knees has led the yellow jersey's group over the top of the second pass in stage 16, 10'10" behind the stage leaders.

15:07Kern's group at 7'35"

Kern is now with the group that includes Arashiro... it is 7'35" behind at the top of the Tourmalet.

15:06Still Knees...

Knees has led the yellow jersey's peloton all the way up the Tourmalet. It is likely to be over 10 minutes behind at the top of the second climb of stage 16.

15:03Kessiakoff still leading climbing classification

With the leaders over the top of two of today's four climbs, Voeckler has narrowed the gap to the leader of the climbing classification but Kessiakoff is still in the lead. He now has 103 points, and the Frenchman has 87 points after the Tourmalet.

15:01Karpets at 3'05"

Karpets is over the top of the Tourmalet 3'05" behind Voeckler.

15:00Voeckler grabs another 25 points

Voeckler has led Feillu over the top of the Tourmalet to add another 25 points to his tally. The top positions of the Tourmalet are:

1. Voeckler 25pts

2. Feillu 20pts

3. Martin 16pts - at 1'08"

4. Kessiakoff 14pts - at 1'30"

5. Sorensen 12pts

6. Voigt 10pts

7. Ten Dam 8pts

8. Hincapie 6pts

9. Stortoni 4pts

10. Vinokourov 2pts

14:57Voigt and Vinokourov join Kessiakoff's group

There are now seven men together in the second chase group. This includes: Hincapie, Voigt, Stortoni, Ten Dam, Sorensen, Kessiakoff and Vinokourov.

14:55Hondo and Trofimov caught by Kern

Kern has caught and passed two men who were part of the early escape: Hondo (LAM) and Trofimov (KAT).

14:541km to climb

The two leaders are inside the final kilometre of the Tourmalet. The approach today is the same as in the 17th stage of 2010 when Andy Schleck beat Alberto Contador to win the stage at the top of this climb.

14:52Martin at 35"

With 2km to climb, Martin (GRS) is 35" behind the stage leaders.

There are five in the next group: Ten Dam, Izaguirre, Sorensen, Kessiakoff and Stortoni... they are 1'15" behind with 2km to climb.

Vinokourov and Hincapie at in a group that's behind by 1'30".

14:51Peloton at 9'10"

With 5km to climb to the top of the Tourmalet, the peloton is 9'10" behind Feillu and Voeckler.

14:49Kern at 7'15"

Kern (EUC), who attacked the peloton early on the Tourmalet, is 7'15" behind Feillu and Voeckler with 5km to go to the top of the second mountain of stage 16.

14:47Two Frenchman continue ahead

Feillu and Voeckler - who have both won stages in the mountains of the Tour in the past - are still at the front of the 16th stage. In hot pursuit on this warm day in the Pyrenees are Ten Dam, Sorensen and Kessiakoff. This trio is at 1'00".

Martin was the last to drop out of the lead group; he is now 23" behind the stage leaders.

14:43Only 30 riders in yellow jersey group

Boasson Hagen (SKY) is now at the head of the yellow jersey's peloton which is down to about 30 men.

14:42Only two up front now...

Only Voeckler and Feillu are at the front. Martin was arguably the most aggressive of the lead group early on the Tourmalet but the Irishman is now in pursuit of the two French leaders.

14:39Three lead peloton by 7'25"

Voeckler, Martin and Feillu are 7'25" ahead of the yellow jersey. There are 17 in the first chase group and 13 in the second group.

14:37Popovych caught by peloton

The Ukrainian who had been in the lead group, Popovych (RNT) has been caught by the peloton. Kern is still between the early escapees and the yellow jersey's bunch.

14:36Voeckler pushing the pace

With Kessiakoff just behind the lead group, Voeckler is setting the pace and trying to drop the Swede who is wearing the polka-dot jersey.

14:35Martin the real aggressor

Martin is attacking the Tourmalet and it's causing the lead group to splinter once more. Voeckler and Feillu are the most attentive and they were first to respond to the acceleration by the Garmin rider.

Kessiakoff is also able to react and reach the front group.

14:33Kern attacks the peloton; three attack up front

Kern (EUC) has just ridden ahead of the peloton at the same time that Feillu, Voeckler and Martin are attacking the lead group.

14:3120 in the lead group now

At the 107km mark, the peloton is 7'30" behind a group of 20 who are now working together at the front of hte stage.

14:27The 13 leaders

Sorensen (STB) is now at the front of the stage. In his group of 13 are: Hincapie, Voigt, Voeckler, Izaguirre, Martinez, Stortoni, Martin, Feilu, Caruso, Ten Dam, Karpets, Kiryienka, Paulinho, Kessiakoff and Vinokourov. They are 12" ahead of the other escapees...

14:2412 in the lead

Voigt, Stortoni and Vinokourov are about to catch the stage leaders. That means there are now 12 at the front. Kiryienka doesn't look like he's finished with yet either...

14:22Sorensen joins leaders

Sorensen is now in the group that continues to be led by Martin who is closely marked by Kessiakoff.

14:22Nine in the leads

Martinez and Izaguirre of the Euskaltel team have joined the Martin group.

14:20Three chasing three

There are three men closing in on the three stage leaders. Martin continues to do most of hte work at the front and he has Ten Dam and Kessiakoff along for the ride. They are about to be joined by Feillu, Hincapie and Voeckler.

14:19Half of Rabobank team in break...

With Kruiswijk and Ten Dam in the early escape, half the Rabobank team is represented at the front of the stage.

14:16Kessiakoff chases Martin down...

Martin (GRS), Kessiakoff (AST) and Ten Dam (RAB) are at the front of the stage with a lead of 8" on the other escapees. This move was started by the Irishman at the 107km mark.

14:15Dan Martin accelerating...

Dan Martin is at the front of the escape group. He has lifted the pace and it's causing a number of others to be dropped... Azanza, Cummings and a number of others have recently lost contact with the group that's now being led by the Garmin rider who is closely marked by Hoogerland, Vinokourov and Ten Dam.

14:13Knees leads the peloton

Eisel set the pace for Sky on the Aubisque and he has been dropped by the peloton early on the Tourmalet. Now it's Christian Knees who is at the front of the bunch...

14:11Ladagnous dropped

There are now two FDJ riders in the group that's behind Hondo by 12". Ladagnous was part of the early move but he's been dropped in the opening kilometres of the Tourmalet climb.

14:07Hondo leads by 12"

Hondo is 12" ahead of the other escapees. The peloton has reached the bottom of the Tourmalet and it is 5'35" behind.

14:06Popo pops...

Yaroslav Popovych (RNT) is no longer with the lead group. The first to be dropped was Dumoulin and now the rider who won the youth classification in 2005 is joining the Cofidis rider...

14:05Hondo goes ahead...

Hondo (LAM) has attacked the lead group... or rather, he's riding ahead of the escapees early on the Tourmalet.

14:03Leaders begin the Tourmalet climb

The escapees have just ridden through the town of Luz-Saint-Sauveur and the road is now going up. The Casar/Vino/Hoogerland group is 5'25" ahead of the peloton as they begin the ascent of the col du Tourmalet.

13:56Wiggins: it's nice to be recognised for achieving something in life

"I'm just determined to go back to normal life," Wiggins said about how he expects things to be should he win the Tour in 2012. "I hope things stay relatively the same. I understand some things will be different, but it's nice to be recognised for achieving something in life. So much of British culture is built up on people being famous for not achieving anything. It's nice in sport when people stop you in the street and respect you for something you've achieved - that's a nice feeling."

13:54Wiggins' big insight into the Tourmalet...

When asked about the challenge that the Tourmalet represents, the race leader Bradley Wiggins offered his appraisal. "It goes uphill like all of them, it's very difficult."

13:50Escapees near base of Tourmalet

The 38 leaders will soon begin the ascent of the Tourmalet. Coming from the east, the climb is 19km long with an average gradient of 7.4 per cent. The top is at an altitude of 2,115m. The special prize, the 'Souvenir Jacques Goddet', is on offer at the top as this is the highest pass in the Pyrenees. There is an extra 5,000 euros awarded to the first over the line of this climb.

The high point of the Tourmalet pass is 76.5km from the finish of today's stage.

13:45Zingle back in peloton

The bunch has arrived in the feedzone and we can report that Zingle (COF) has rejoined this group (that's 5'40" behind the escapees) after his crash at the 64km mark.

13:40Leaders in feedzone

The 38 escapees are in Adast (87km) which is where the feedzone of the 16th stage is located. The second climb is due to start soon.

13:3815 teams with more than one in the escape

There are 17 teams represented in the escape today and 15 have more than one in the move. The squads with multiple riders in the move that's currently 5'30" ahead of the bunch are:

BMC (Cummings and Hincapie), RadioShack-Nissan (Voigt and Popovych), Europcar (Arashiro and Voeckler), Euskaltel-Euskadi (Azanza, Izaguirre and Martinez), Lampre (Marzano and Stortoni), AG2R (Bouet and Minard), Cofidis (Taaramae and Dumoulin), Saur-Sojasun (Feillu, Levarlet and Marino), Vacansoleil-VCD...

13:29Gusev our of the Tour...

There 154 men still racing the 2012 Tour de France. Vladimir Gusev crashed at the 64km mark and he's been diagnosed with a broken collarbone. Katusha is now down to seven men as the Russian has been forced to quit the race.

13:25Zingle racing again...

Zingle is back on his bike and racing but Gusev has a suspected broken collarbone. He is waiting for the race doctor and is not yet on the bike after his crash around the 64km mark.

13:24Gusev and a Cofidis rider crash

There has been an accident involving Zingle and Gusev in the peloton. They have landed on a barbed wire fence and Gusev is having his shoulder looked at by Valerio Piva...

13:23Peloton five minutes behind...

Although the escapees are five minutes ahead of the peloton, the yellow jersey is not under threat from any of the riders in the break. The best placed on GC after 2,597km of racing in the 99th Tour is Chris Anker Sorensen (STB).

13:22Four go clear...

Four of the escape group have opened up a little gap on the others at the front of the stage but it doesn't appear to be an attack... and they should be together again soon.

13:17Peloton at 4'35"

As the peloton crests the col du Soulor, it is still led by Mr Eisel (SKY). The bunch is 4'35" behind the 38 escapees.

13:15Reminder of the escapees

The 38 riders are past the Soulor and on their way down the valley to the feedzone that is located in Adast (at 87km). The men in the lead since 22km are:

Cummings, Hincapie, Popovych, Voigt, Voeckler, Arashiro, Azanza, Martinez, Izaguirre, Hondo, Manzano, Stortoni, Martin, Bouet, Minard, Taaramae, Dumoulin, Feillu, Levarlet, Marino, Hoogerland, Valls Ferri, Caruso, Trofimov, Vorganov, Casar, Fedrigo, Ladagnous, Kruiswijk, Ten Dam, Costa, Karpets, Kiryienka, Paulinho, C. Sorensen,...

13:12Kruiswijk punctures

One of the riders in the lead, Steven Kruiswijk (RAB) has just raised his arm to call for the team car. It seems he has copped a front tyre puncture.

He was near the front of the escape but now we see Fedrigo (FDJ) at the front.

13:10Leaders at Soulor

After a fast few kilometres downhill, the escapees have a litte pinch that's uphill at the col du Soulor. Although it's been categorised in the past, this climb that reaches its high point around the 61km mark offer no points today.

Once they get over the incling it's effectively downhill for 26km.

13:07Two Euskaltel riders lead escape

Jorge Azanza and Gorka Izaguirre are at the front of the escape. They are marked closely by the rider Jonathan Vaughters has said will win today, Dan Martin (GRS).

13:06Brief attack over

Voeckler and Kessiakoff have been reeled in by the other 36 escapees.

13:04Voeckler and Kessiakoff continue their move

After sprinting each other at the top of the climb to gain maximum points, Voeckler and Kessiakoff are insisting with their attack. They have a slight advantage over the 36 other escapees.

13:03Gilbert attacks peloton...

Just as he did in the 2005 Tour, Gilbert (BMC) has gone on the attack on the day that the race includes the Col d'Aubisque. He has just collected a drink and is now sitting up to wait for the peloton. Ah yes, it looks like Lelangue has a plan in place for today. Burghardt is now also near the front of the peloton that crested the Aubisque 3'40" behind the 38 escapees.

13:01Result of the col d'Aubisque

1. Voeckler (EUC) 25pts

2. Kessiakoff (AST) 20pts

3. Arashiro (EUC) 16pts

4. Sorensen (STB) 14pts

5. Vinokourov (AST) 12pts

6. Martin (GRS) 10pts

7. Karpets (MOV) 8pts - at 12"

8. Martinez (EUS) 6pts

9. Vorganov (KAT) 4pts

10. Izaguirre (EUS) 2pts

12:59Voeckler claims 25 points

After a stunning lead-out by Arashiro, Voeckler has led the escapees over the line at the top of the col d'Aubisque.

12:57Arashiro leading Voeckler

Voeckler did wear the polka-dot jersey for a day earlier in this year's Tour. He's made it clear that he would like to win it and now he has support from his Japanese colleague who is leading the escape just ahead of the stage 10 winner in the final kilometre of the first climb.

12:56Eisel leading peloton

Bernhard Eisel (SKY) has been at the front of the bunch since the escape was established at the 22km mark. The leaders are at 52km now and have less than 1,500m to go before reaching the line of the Aubisque... there are 25 points on offer for first to the top.

Let's watch as Voeckler tries to jump ahead... but he's sure to have a spotted shadow.

12:54Karpets at the front

There are three Movistars in the lead group and both Kiryienka and Karpets have been prepared to set the pace on the first climb today. They are near the top of the col d'Aubisque and now we see Karpets at the front with Ladagnous and Martin nearby.

12:50Two former youth classification winners in lead group

There are two riders in the break today who won the white jersey earlier in their careers. Vladimir Karpets (MOV) was the winner of the youth classification in 2004 and Yaroslav Popovych (RNT) was the white jersey winner in 2005.

12:4638 maintain their advantage

The peloton is still 3'45" behind the 38 at the front of the stage. Kiriyenka continues to lead the break with Kessiakoff also happy to contribute turns at the front along with Casar.

12:43Evans first over Aubisque in his debut Tour

When the winner of the 2011 Tour first contested the race, he went on the attack for the first time in the stage that finished in Pau (where the start was today). That was in 2005 when Oscar Pereiro won the stage and Evans finished fourth out of a move involving four men.

At the end of that stage, Evans was in the top 10 on GC for the first time.

Evans wore black tape around his arm that day to honour Amy Gillett, a compatriot who died after an accident that involved many...

12:38Moreau the last to score points in the Tour on Aubisque

The most recent time that the Tour visited the col d'Aubisque was in the 2010 Tour as part of the celebrations of the centenary if the Pyrenees being part of the route. In that stage (won by Fedrigo, the winner of stage 15 this year), there was an escape group of nine including the seven-time champion Lance Armstrong.

The first over the Aubisque was the soon-to-be-retired Christophe Moreau, followed by Fedrigo, Horner, Plaza and Armstrong.

12:328km to the top of the Aubisque

The 38 escapees are halfway up the first climb. Kiryienka (MOV) is at the front and sharing the pace setting on the steep incline with Ladagnous and Arashiro.

12:25Pineau back in peloton

Pineau has been caught by the peloton at the 41km mark. Eisel (SKY) sets the pace for the pack that is 3'45" behind the 38-man escape group.

12:24Horner returns...

Horner had punctured earlier in the stage, chased back to the peloton and then - at 38km - he was involved in an incident that forced him off the road just before a roadside barrier was in place... he tumbled down into the bushes but climb back up the steep hill, got another new bike and set off again.

The second oldest in the peloton of the 99th Tour, is back with the peloton now.

His group is 3'45" behind the escape group that includes the oldest in the race, Voigt (RNT).

12:1938 escapees from 17 teams

Here is a reminder of the riders who are in the front group and currently climbing the Aubisque with an advantage of 3'30" on the peloton.

Cummings, Hincapie (BMC), Popovych, Voigt (RNT), Voeckler, Arashiro (EUC), Azanza, Martinez and Izaguirre (EUS), Hondo, Manzano, Stortoni (LAM), Martin (GRS), Bouet, Minard (ALM), Taaramae, Dumoulin (COF), Feillu, Levarlet, Marino (SAU), Hoogerland, Valls Ferri (VCD), Caruso, Trofimov, Vorganov (KAT), Casar, Fedrigo, Ladagnous (FDJ), Kruiswijk, Ten...

12:18RadioShack rider off side of road

One of the riders from RadioShack has crashed off the side of the road at the 39km mark. Horner has had to climb back up out of the bushes but he doesn't seem to be too hurt while he waits for a new bike following his incident.

12:15Pineau continues with his counter-attack

Pineau (OPQ) is still trying to bridge the gap to the stage leaders. It's not the first time that the Frenchman has been the Johnny-come-lately of the escape. He tends to be the last to decide to join the lead group. He is currently 3'00" behind Martinez's group of 38 and 40" ahead of the peloton.

12:1210 former stage winners in escape group

Of the 38 in the lead of the stage, 10 have previously won at least one stage of the Tour de France in the past. Those men are:

Hincapie, Popovych, Voigt, Voeckler, Dumoulin, Feillu, Paulinho, Casar, Fedrigo and Vinokourov.

The most recent were, of course, Fedrigo (in Pau - stage 15) and Voeckler (in Bellegarde-sur-Valserine - stage 10).

12:09Riders in 18th, 19th and 20th overall in escape

The best placed on GC of the 38 in the lead is Egoi Martinez (EUS). He is 18th overall, 18'04" behind Wiggins. Also in the move is the rider ranked 19th - Rui Costa (MOV) - is also present in the escape group that is now 3'45" ahead of the peloton. And Chris Sorensen (20th overall) is the next best of the men in the break.

12:07Leaders on col d'Aubisque

The escapees are on the early slopes of the first of four mountains in the 16th stage. The Col d'Aubisque is 16.4km long when approached from Gourette. It has an average gradient of 7.1 per cent and the high point is at an altitude of 1,709m. That is at the 53.5km mark of the stage.

12:0338 lead by 3'45"

At the 31km mark, the 38 are 3'45" ahead of the peoloton that is being led by Sky.

12:02The 38 stage leaders

Cummings, Hincapie (BMC)

Popovych, Voigt (RNT)

Voeckler, Arashiro (EUC)

Azanza, Martinez and Izaguirre (EUS)

Hondo, Manzano, Stortoni (LAM)

Martin (GRS)

Bouet, Minard (ALM)

Taaramae, Dumoulin (COF)

Feillu, Levarlet, Marino (SAU)

Hoogerland, Valls Ferri (VCD)

Caruso, Trofimov, Vorganov (KAT)

Casar, Fedrigo, Ladagnous (FDJ)

Kruiswijk, Ten Dam (RAB)

Costa, Karpets, Kiryienka (MOV)

Paulinho, C....

11:56Riders in the escape...

Arashiro (EUC), Voeckler (EUC), Vinokourov (AST), Kessiakoff (AST), Taaramae (COF), Dumoulin (COF), Cummings (BMC), Paulinho (STB), C. Sorensen (STB), Carusa (KAT), Fedrigo (FDJ), Kiryienka (MOV), Karpets (MOV), Hoogerland (VCD), Popovych (RNT), Voigt (RNT)... are some of the men in the 38-strong group that is now almost three minutes ahead of the peloton.

The peloton was 2'10" behind at the 26km mark.

11:55Result of intermediate sprint

1. Paulinho (STB) 20pts

2. Casar (FDJ) 17pts

3. Kruiswijk (RAB) 15pts

4. Arashiro (EUC) 13pts

5. Vorganov (KAT) 11pts

6. Cummings (BMC) 10pts

7. Marzano ( 9pts

8. Vals Ferri (VCD) 8pts

9. Voigt (RNT) 7pts

10. Martin (GRS) 6pts

11. Azanza (EUS) 5pts

12. Ladagnous (FDJ) 4pts

13. Kiryienka (MOV) 3pts

14. Levarlet (SAU) 2pts

15. Costa (MOV) 1pt

11:51Pineau a long chaser

There are 39 men ahead of the peloton. Pineau (OPQ) is the rider who is stuck between the peloton and the 38 in the lead group.

11:50Wiggins call a truce in the chase

Paulinho has led the escapees to the 1km to the sprint sign at the same time that Wiggins (SKY) has pulled over to the side of the road to answer the call of nature. The 38 man escape seems to be composed of a selection the yellow jersey and his team are happy with.

11:481'00" for lead group...

The 38 riders who have made the best real break of the day are now 1'00" ahead of the bunch. Full list of the riders involved to follow shortly...

11:4622km raced

Paulinho, Kiryienka, Kessiakoff, Dumoulin, Voigt, Cummings, Vorganov, Popovych, Ten Dam are some of the riders in the 38-man move at the 22km mark.

11:45Taaramae also in the mix

The lead group is composed of around 25 riders but we wait to see if they can gain ground on the bunch before announcing the full list of riders. We can confirm that Taaramae (COF) is one of the men in the move that began at the 20km mark.

11:43Strong group forming

Chris Sorensen, Voigt, Martin, Gusev, Vinokourov are some riders who are joining forces at the front of the stage.

11:4219km raced...

The intermediate sprint is 7km away with the bunch all together after 19km of racing.

11:41Casar the latest to try

Sandy Casar (FDJ) can't resist an attack in the mountains. He's set off again and has been joined by one from Euskaltel and one from Lampre but, once again, the bunch is right on the move and it's not going to happen.

11:41Schmidt: preparing for a day in the mountains...

When it's a profile like the one for stage 16, does a team do anything different in the evening or morning before to prepare for the mountains that await? “Every stage is important,” said Torsten Schmidt from Katusha this morning. “We always have to be focussed but that become more difficult as the race progresses before the riders are tired – physically and mentally – but they have the support of many staff and we all try to create the right situation. The mechanics discuss what...

11:38Two men gain a little advantage

Zabriskie (GRS) and Paolini (KAT) had a lead of about 100m on the peloton. THey are now back in the peloton and Timmer (ARG) is currently trying to tempt a few others to join him with his attack.

So far none of the attacks have been very successful. No time gaps have been given for any of the moves in the first 15km.

11:32Hoogerland hopeful...

Hoogerland (VCD) is showing himself at the front of the peloton and he is closely marked by two riders from Saur-Sojasun but, so far, no move has been allowed to gain much ground.

Fofonov (AST) is the latest to try his luck.

11:29Seven in the lead

There are seven riders at the front of the peloton but they aren't given much leeway... the composition of this early attack (around the 8km mark) is:

Izaguirre (EUS), Koren (LIQ), Paulini (KAT), Gusev (KAT), Roy (FDJ), Ten Dam (RAB) and Cobo (MOV)... but already they've been caught.

11:26Gusev and early aggressor

Katusha has Vladimir Gusev as one of the riders who is trying to break free; at the 5km mark, no escape has succeeeded. There are, however, two from Katusha in the current move that involves about eight men including Ten Dam (RAB), Roy (FDJ) and a Liquigas rider.

11:26Comments from Katusha this morning...

When LeTour.fr spoke with Torsten Schmidt from Katusha before stage eight, the German directeur sportif explained that the team's leader Denis Menchov was in good shape and was hoping to be aggressive in the mountains. The Russian had been ranked as high as fourth on GC but, after 15 stages, he's now in 16th place overall. So, we asked Schmidt, can we expect something from Menchov in the Pyrenees?
“We hope so,” said Schmidt. “We had some really hard stages in the Alps as well as...

11:22Morkov not able to break free

The peloton is all together early today. There are some riders - now one each from FDJ, Cofidis and AG2R - trying to gain some advantage but no one has yet been successful in breaking away.

11:20Racing in stage 16

Christian Prudhomme has waved the white flag to signal the beginning of racing in stage 16. The official start was at 11.18am. Already we see some riders on the attack and, yes, it looks like Michael Morkov (STB) is going again. He is being pursued by Andriy Grivko (AST) but the peloton is now just letting them ride away.

11:18Prize classification review: part 03 ?? polka-dot jersey

Frederik Kessiakoff (AST) is in the polka-dot jersey for another day at least. He has 69 points in the climbing classification, 14 more than last year's white jersey winner Pierre Rolland (EUC).
There is a wealth of points on offer in stage 16 with four big mountain passes on the course. The climbs are: the col d'Aubisque (‘Hors Categorie' at 53.5km), the col du Tourmalet (‘Hors Categorie' at 120.5km), the col d'Aspin (category-one at 150.5km) and the col de Peyresourde...

11:13Prize classification review: part 02 ?? green jersey

The intermediate sprint for stage 16 comes early: at the 26km mark in Bielle. There are 20 points on offer for the green jersey for the first over the line in this town in the Pyrenees-Atlantique and then the climbs begin.
Peter Sagan (LIQ) has an almost unbeatable advantage over the rider in second place, André Greipel (LTB).
Today's stage is classified ‘High Mountains' so the points allocation at the finish is the same as for the intermediate sprint: 20pts for first, then 17,...

11:09Prize classification review: part 01 ?? yellow jersey

Bradley Wiggins (SKY) has led the Tour since the end of stage seven. He and his team-mates had a brief press conference at 2.45pm yesterday in front of a large crowd in Pau. The Brit leads Christopher Froome by 2'05” in the general classification after 2,597.9km of racing while Italy's Vincenzo Nibali (LIQ) is ranked third overall at 2'23”. There was no change to the top of the overall rankings after stage 15 on Monday.

11:06Welcome to the live coverage of stage 16 of the 2012 Tour

After another day of rest, the peloton is at the site of the 'depart fictif' in Pau and about to set off for the 16th stage of the 99th Tour de France. There are 155 riders in the race with the only non-starter today being Fränk Schleck (RNT). It's warm in the city that is considered the gateway to the Pyrenees and the sun is shining for a day in the mountains.

There is a 6.8km neutral zone before the stage officially begin. Live coverage will commence shortly.

11:02¡Bienvenidos a la retransmisión en directo de la 16ª etapa!Los corredores salen hoy de Pau para una etapa de 197 km rumbo a Bagnères-de-Luchon, atravesando los departamentos de Pirineos Atlánticos, Altos Pirineos y Alta Garona. La salida neutralizada está prevista a las 11h05.

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