Hugo Houle became the first rider from Quebec and the second from Canada (after Steve Bauer, 1988) to win a Tour de France stage as he soloed to victory between Port de Lers and Mur de Péguère to take an emotional success in Foix as a tribute to his late brother. Valentin Madouas and Michael Woods rounded out the podium. Jonas Vingegaard retained the yellow jersey after he controlled Tadej Pogacar’s attacks.
29 RIDERS IN THE LEAD
147 riders started stage 16 of the 109th Tour de France in Carcassonne at 12.41. Five non-starters: Jakob Fuglsang (Israel-Premier Tech, broken ribs), Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe, cold), Aurélien Paret-Peintre and Mikaël Chérel (AG2R-Citroën) who tested positive for Covid. 29 riders went clear at km 4: Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates), Wout van Aert and Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma), Daniel Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers), Alexander Vlasov and Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe), Mikkel Honoré (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Gorka Izagirre and Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar), Simon Geschke (Cofidis), Damiano Caruso and Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious), Olivier Le Gac, Valentin Madouas and Michael Storer (Groupama-FDJ), Nils Eekhoff (Team DSM), Simone Velasco (Astana Qazaqstan), Stefan Bissegger and Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost), Maxime Bouet and Lukasz Owsian (Arkéa-Samsic), Philippe Gilbert and Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal), Tony Gallopin (Trek-Segafredo), Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies), Hugo Houle and Michael Woods (Israel-Premier Tech), Cyril Barthe and Alexis Gougeard (B&B Hotels-KTM). Burgaudeau attacked at km 14. He was joined by Jorgenson and Gougeard. The American wasn’t allowed by Movistar to swap turns and eventually sat up. Burgeaudeau was later instructed by TotalEnergies to wait for the chasing group, so Gougeard found himself alone in the lead at km 30. It was 29 riders in the lead again at km 51 while the peloton led by Tiesj Benoot and Christophe Laporte for Jumbo-Visma was cruising 5’30’’ adrift.
THREE ATTACKS BY POGACAR UP TO PORT DE LERS
At km 100, the deficit of the pack was 7’40’’. It put Vlasov virtually in fourth place overall, and later on pair with runner up Pogacar as the time difference was 8’10’’ before the two cat. 1 climbs. Le Gac and Caruso rode away from the front group at the bottom of Port de Lers. Caruso forged on by himself and was joined, firstly by Woods and Storer, secondly by Van Aert, McNulty, Jorgenson and Geschke 1km before the summit. Geschke extended his lead in the KOM classification as he crested Port de Lers in first position. Pogacar attacked three times in the uphill, the third time being right on the line of the KOM with a deficit of 7’15’’ but Vingegaard reacted every time.
HOULE SOLO WITH 40KM TO GO
A leading group of 12 riders got formed in the valley. Houle escaped 40km before the finish at Foix. Gallopin rode behind him but didn’t close the gap. Jorgenson, Woods and Storer made a chasing trio. Houle steadily climbed the Mur de Péguère and crested it first, 20’’ before Jorgenson and Woods, keeping exactly the same gap he had at the bottom. Jorgenson crashed in a curve with 14km to go but got back on. Woods favoured the solo ride of his team-mate and compatriot. A first ever fully North American top 3 was looming until Madouas caught Jorgenson and Woods in the last kilometre to take the second place in Foix 1’10’’ after Houle. Diverses moves in the yellow jersey group had put different riders in difficulty, including third placed Geraint Thomas but from the main contenders of the overall classification, the main loser was Romain Bardet who dropped down from 4th to 9th while his compatriot David Gaugu moved up into the top 5.