Tuesday July 22nd, 2014

Stage 16Carcassonne / Bagnères-de-Luchon

Start 11h00 (Local time)

Five for two seats

The of the town22.07.2014Stage 16- Carcassonne / Bagnères-de-Luchon

While everybody seems to admit that Vincenzo Nibali is in a class of his own on this Tour de France, there are at least five riders competing for the two other spots on the podium and all believe they are well placed to earn them.

Tejay Van Garderen's BMC team director Yvon Ledanois is convinced freshness will work in his leader's favour.

“It's the most important week in his season. After all the health problems he's had since Paris-Nice, I knew he would improve with each month. On the Dauphine, we did not put any pressure on him. And I was convinced that if he recovered well from the Dauphine, he would play a leading role in this Tour de France. He may have a big result to look forward to,” he said.

“I believe there will be more big surprises in the Pyrenees,” he added.

Such surprises, Movistar team manager Eusebio Unzue is adamant that Alejandro Valverde is equipped to avoid them.

“He has the experience of winning a grand Tour. And against young rivals whose limits are unknown, he seems more solid all round to me,” he said.

Three Frenchmen are also in contention for the podium honours, Thibaut Pinot, Romain Bardet and Jean-Christophe Peraud.

The first two have been the talk of the media since the Vosges if only because of their young age and their battle for the white jersey. But both made it clear their opposition could be misleading.

“To me, Valverden Van Garderen and Peraud are the most dangerous,” said Pinot.

And Bardet readily agrees, insisting Peraud was still the leader of the AG2R team like he was “at the start in Leeds”.

  • Rogers claims first Tour win, Pinot moves up on GC

    After Rafal Majka in the Alps, another of Alberto Contador's domestiques claimed his first stage victory at the Tour de France. Michael Rogers managed to get rid of the Europcar duo formed of Thomas Voeckler and Cyril Gautier to arrive solo in Bagnères-de-Luchon. In the yellow jersey group, Thibaut Pinot took a significant advantage over direct rivals Tejay van Garderen and Romain Bardet while Vincenzo Nibali comfortably retained the overall lead.

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Stage 16 Carcassonne / Bagnères-de-Luchon

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