In a race that favours attackers, Austrian national champion Patrick Konrad mimicked his team-mate Nils Politt to claim his first Tour de France stage victory in Saint-Gaudens after 37km of a brave solo ride. Only two Austrians were stage winners at the Tour before: Max Bulla (3) in 1931 and Georg Totschnig in 2005. Sonny Colbrelli and Michael Matthews rounded out the podium. Tadej Pogacar retained the yellow jersey.
14 riders in the lead
145 riders took the start of stage 16. 2 non-starters: Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) and Amund Groendahl Jansen (BikeExchange). Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick Step) was the first man on the move after the flag off. Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers) and Mattia Cattaneo (Deceuninck-Quick Step) caught up with him 3.5km before the col de Port. The leading trio was brought back after 65km of racing. Jan Bakelants (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert), Chris Juul Jensen (BikeExchange) and Fabien Doubey (TotalEnergies) formed another leading trio at km 79. Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), Pierre-Luc Périchon (Cofidis), Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-Citroën), Sonny Colbrelli and Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Michael Matthews (BikeExchange), Alex Aranburu (Astana), Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert) and Franck Bonnamour (B&B-KTM) formed a chasing group before the col de la Core. Konrad joined the three escapees at km 97, 4km before the summit, and crested in first position.
Konrad alone at Portet-d’Aspet
As Juul-Jensen had dropped down, Konrad distanced Doubey and Bakelants at km 132 with 4km left to climb up to Portet d’Aspet. Konrad crested first with an advantage of 20’’ over Gaudu and Colbrelli but increased it in the downhill. He enjoyed 40’’ lead 25km before the end. 9 riders gathered in chase of the Austrian 15km before the end.
Action in the yellow jersey group
Konrad remained composed to keep more than one minute lead with 10km to go. Gaudu sped up in the last climb, the short but steep côte d’Aspret-Sarrat but the Austrian remained composed and didn’t crack. Périchon attacked from the chasing group on the hunt for the second place but he was overhauled at the very end by Matthews and Colbrelli. Offensives at the head of the peloton involved most of the GC contenders in the last 10km of racing but it was no problem for Pogacar to control the actions of Guillaume Martin and Wout van Aert. A group of 15 riders powered strongly to the line by the Belgian champion with all the top 10 riders on his wheel.