TdF 16: Gap

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Borg de Péage, the peloton starts but Peter Kennaugh doesn't: he abandoned and it isn't a good news for the race leader Chris Froome. Jan Bakelants went also home: he's becoming a father !
Gap waits at the finish, or the finish waits in Gap: dangerous descent already famouos for Beloki's crash. Clean blue sky and few clouds of heat.

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The break started and has  got a gap: Pauwels, Sagan Jeschke, Jungels, Grivko Oliveira, Plaza, Navarro, Fedrigo, De Gendt, Haller are 5' ahead the peloton. In the middle Pantano, Mate, Voeckler, Boasson Hagen, Teklehaimanot , Golas, Perichon, Irizar, Trentin, Didier, Hansen and Erviti, 1' down.
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Intermdiate sprint
Waiting for the finish Peter Sagan wins the intermediate sprint, De Gendt is 2nd.
85 km to go attackers and chasers merge in a new large break. The sole Didier didn't make it to the front group. Team Sky leads the peloton and obviously let it go: gap is up to 10'17".
Col de Cabre (2nd cat): 9.1 km with an average gradient of 4.6%. 
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72 km to go Majka and Martens crash at the back of the peloton. No problem for the Belgian while the Pole seems sore.
Stannard and Rowe bring around the peloton. In front Pauwels wins the first KOM, then Sagan rocks the descent... but break mates can't do the same. Anyway the gap keeps growing.
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50 km to go a few riders attacks the break-away and Sagan is supposed to chase them down. Once it's done, Adam Hansen goes in conter. Solo, in Jens Voigt style. Few km and Marco Haller bridges.
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Majka crashes
Now Geschke, Plaza, Riblon, Sagan and Teklehaimanot gets off the front and bridge to the leaders. Adam is dropped, Haller tries to resist but has to give up. Molina attacks again and gets a gap. 
Descent and  riders are coming back, 8 in front: Pantano, Sagan, Geschke, Mate, Jungels, Voeckler, Teklehaimanot, Riblon, De Gendt. Behind BMC is leading the peloton.
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Big crowd
Last climb, 12 km to the finish: Col de Manse (2nd cat), 8.9 km with an average gradient of 5.6%. Geschke attacks, Sagan closes. Molina tops the KOM. 
The dances are open in front, while behind Team Sky controls and keeps high the pace but also today Richie Porte is in trouble.  Pinot is also dropped. Tinkoff goes in front and Chris Froome is left with just Geraint Thomas
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Sagan rocks the descent
Descent. Molina risks to crash. Sagan flies, Pantano on his wheel but finally dropped.
Behind only 13 riders remain. Outstanding Poels manages to come back.
Molina wins solo. Then Sagan. Then Pantano.
Embedded image permalinkGC now: Bardet attacks. Caught. Barguil goes. Contador follows with Valverde and Bardet. Four riders in front. Nibali attacks too.
Robert Gesink tries to defend his place in GC. Team Sky responds with a steady regular pace
Embedded image permalinkDescent: Valverde attacks. All caught, but Nibali goes. 
Suddenly... DAMN! Barguil loses control, hits Thomas and throws him off the road, against a pole.
Vincenzo Nibali has got a gap and  he must manage it.
Embedded image permalinkOustanding Wout Poels went back and escorted Geraint Thomas till the finish! Thanks god he's fine.
According to Shane Stokes "Barguil apologises, says van Garderen pushed him before that corner and he ended up on wrong line".

Laurens ten Dam 
"I always did suck in Gap and today was no different;). But happy to make it to the restday!"

Koen de Kort:
"Again very hot and a high pace the first half of the stage today. Never an easy day in the tour, except for tomorrow maybe!"

Embedded image permalinkSimon Geschke:
"Had a good day, but it just didn't end perfect. Still happy with 4th and that i'm still in one piece after the last downhill."

Andre Greipel:
"My opinion after today.@petosagan is the strongest rider with the highest pain level @letour. We are proud to be able to contest 4 a while!"

Embedded image permalinkDan Martin:
"The 1 positive point today was I got stung 3 times in the chest by a wasp and it turns out I'm not allergic #winning."

Michael Valgren:
"Can someone tell me if @petosagan is still in the tour? I haven't seen him the last 3 days?? #respect @tinkoff_saxo"

Embedded image permalinkGeraint Thomas:
"Thanks for all your messages guys! All good with me luckily!! Wrong place wrong time I guess..."

Bauke Mollema:
"Strong ride by our breakaway boy @BobJungels taking 5th place in his 1st @letour. His days will come!!"

Thomas De Gendt:
“In the past the stage to Gap always was a stage for escapees. So today you needed to be in the break if you wanted to win or at least set a good result. This morning at the team meeting I told that, and together with some others we wanted to attack. In the beginning of a stage you always have to see who’s in the group and how large it is. Eventually two groups melted together and we rode in front with twenty-three riders and it was immediately clear that Sagan was the strongest. Despite my injury I felt good enough to join a breakaway already a few times this Tour. With 23 riders in front the cohesion wasn’t optimal of course. On the Col de Manse the group fell apart; Adam Hansen had already given it a try by then, I could follow the better riders, but with the descent still to come I knew I wasn’t going to take any risks to follow Sagan. I didn’t want to crash again. Much more wasn’t possible today. But normally I don’t get worse in a third week of a Grand Tour, so who knows, I might join another breakaway one of the next days.”

Adam Hansen:
Embedded image permalink“It’s our goal to win stages, so we wanted to try that again today. It took a while before I and ten others joined the first group. We had to chase for about 100 kilometres because the speed was so high. Luckily some did an extra effort to close the gap. It was the intention to bring Thomas De Gendt into the finale in the best possible position. I had to respond to attacks, but because we were with so many I decided to attack to reduce the group and hoped Thomas could move along. Unfortunately only one other rider joined me, so it was hard to cover more than 40 kilometres. Because of my shoulder injury it’s hard to sprint, so if I would have gone to the finish with some others I wouldn’t have won anyway.”
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Geraint Thomas:
“I’m all right. I’m a bit shaken up but I’m fine. I have had a lot worse. It’s frustrating because you try so hard to get over that climb. I don’t know why guys don’t just sit where they are on descents. I was just following the wheel and then all of a sudden Barguil was just going straight on, and pushed me off into a big lamppost and down a ditch!"
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Chris Froome:
"I did hear on the radio that [G] had been caught in a crash behind. At that point I was just trying to say to the guys around me 'listen there's been a crash let's just try and keep the race steady for now.' But obviously only a few kilometres before the finish the guys wanted to go hard. It's really unfortunate for us to lose Pete Kennaugh at this point. He's a big part of the team but he's had a tough couple of days with illness. I hope he recovers soon. It means we're going to have to share the work between the eight riders but the guys are strong and I've got a lot of confidence in them. Beyond that I think it's been a pretty good day for us. We saw the other GC teams trying today. Tinkoff-Saxo took the race on at the foot of the last climb. We saw attacks over the top and Vincenzo Nibali going for it. I think that's definitely what we can expect these next two days in the Alps. The race certainly isn't over yet. We're going to have try and keep control of the race and hope we can keep the lead until Paris."
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Warren Barguil:
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Gesink and family :)
“I apologized to Geraint Thomas directly after the finish and I am relieved that he is alright as I feel sorry for the situation. I got a shoulder push from Van Garderen and my hand slipped off the handlebar. That is why for a second or so I braked too late and ran into Thomas.”

Simon Geschke:
“Apparently I have the feeling for the right escape and today we were directly gone. For riders like me it offers the best opportunity to win a stage. I know the final descent so I knew what to expect and tried to follow the ideal line, but it was difficult to follow Sagan, as he is technically among the best in the peloton. Nobody could hold on to his rear wheel. At the end I did not go full gas anymore to win the sprint of the chase group. I feel good after two weeks of the Tour but look forward to tomorrow’s rest day.”

Michal Golas:
"It was a big breakaway. I don't think anyone really wanted to go at first, At one point Sagan attacked and brought half the group away. We were in the middle, but we saw that Gallopin was with us. At first I thought 'OK, they're going to bring us back,' but it was not so easy. We chased for a really long time. It cost a lot of energy. But also guys in the front, they never slowed down either. So, more or less it was the same for everybody when we came back together. At that point when we caught them we all started to ride together, and knew there would be attacks before the last climb. On the last climb, as predicted, everything was decided. I was in the breakaway two days ago, yesterday I was in the group with Mark Cavendish, bringing him to the finish. Also, don't forget the days where I was pulling at the front of the peloton all day. I have a lot of work in my legs over these last two weeks. In the end, I didn't have a lot of chances to recovery, and I am sure I paid for it a bit on the climb. But, we are at Le Tour, and every day there is something new to do for the team. When I can go on the offensive, I like it. I just try to fight until the end, no matter what is my job day-by-day."

Matteo Trentin:
"Even today it was a super fast start. Then the breakaway split in two and we used about 100 kilometers trying to come back. We were always 45 seconds or 60 seconds, but we never gave up. When we finally came back it was a bit relaxed. Then we knew the last climb would decide the whole race. We knew the race would be in the breakaway today. Everybody was just playing their own cards. So we just tried to hang on until that moment. But for me, it didn't work. Honestly the legs were not there they way they needed to be, I probably paid for the efforts this week. I'm definitely looking forward to the rest day after hard racing in super hot temperatures every day."

Bob Jungels:
“I was there for the victory today again. It feels real good to be up there with the best.  I knew before the stage already that I could make it to the break, but that it would be hard because of the heat. I am suffering pretty badly from the heat. I also felt the heat in the last climb, but I think I managed well to go in my own rhythm and then come back at the top where it was a little more windy and flatter so I could play again with my power. I think that was not a bad decision. It was a really strange situation we were 12 guys in front and no one wanted the group behind to come back, but they were pulling really hard. It was actually good, though, to have Markel there, especially for the attacks of Hansen and Haller at the end, and he pulled hard.  I gotta say that in the downhill I did not feel so comfortable because I knew it from last year at the Dauphine where I crashed pretty bad.  It was pretty much the same [race] situation today. My first top 5 in the Tour is not so bad, so I am pretty happy about that.  I think it’s hard to say if the last two days of being in the breakaway took something from me – I have recovered pretty well. You always lose some power, but in the end it didn’t really change that much. Fifth place is no victory, but I am happy that I could show for the teammates that they didn’t work for nothing.”

Bauke Mollema:
“I knew the climb from 2011 and 2013, but the bottom was different – steeper – because we took a different road.  The first 2-3kms I was on the limit and that is where the difference was made and [Tony] Gallopin was dropped and also some other guys. But for the last 5kms I was pretty comfortable in the group, there was a little bit of headwind so it was not too hard to stay there, and then I was just keeping an eye on the other GC guys. I knew it would be hard on this last climb and that the GC guys would attack and also that the descent was pretty tricky, so it was no surprise. In the end, we had only 10 guys over the top, and still some guys kept fighting for positions on the descent instead of just going down with no stress. I guess they want to be in 4th or 5th place instead of 9th or 10th and that’s why you get those crashes.”

Rubens Plaza Molina:
"It was very difficult to get to the finish of the stage today, for the stage victory. I felt pretty good in the breakaway today, and everyone was working pretty well together. This was a stage that had interested me. Thank you very much to my team."

Greg Van Avermaet:
"I wanted to leave tomorrow morning, but a phone call asked me to go earlier. I hope to be there on time. It is always hard to leave the tour. It is the greatest race in the world. But the team can perform as well without me. I am pretty sure they will keep riding a great tour and hopefully get a great place in Paris. It is my best tour ever, winning the prologue with Rohan Dennis and the team time trial, winning a stage and putting Tejay in a podium position. It couldn't go any better. It is normal to go home. She has been supporting me for 10 years riding my bike. It is time for me to give something back." 

Sep Vanmarcke:
"Busted! A few days ago in the Pyrenees when I was on the attack, I have burnt all my energy. The last 4 days there was no way to recover, so I had some hard days! So very happy that I reached the 2nd rest day! I hope to be back on shape for the alps! ‪#‎tourdesep‬"

Daniel Teklehaimanot:
"It was a really good day for our team with 3 riders in the break. We were working really hard all day and unfortunately we lost Serge at the bottom of the climb. Obviously it was also quite difficult for Eddy on the climb so it was up to me to follow the wheels on the final climb. For me I think 7th at the Tour de France is a good result." 

Robert Gesink:
“We had headwind on that climb. But the pace was high, especially at the beginning of the climb. They slowed down a little bit afterwards so I came through it. When Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) attacked, I tried to follow him for a while, but I had others with me immediately. It also seemed a little meaningless to me to keep trying because there was a descent still to come. Now it’s rest day. Everyone’s legs are hurting, so it’s nice to recover a little bit at the moment.”

Peter Sagan:
“If you don’t try, you gain nothing. I tried and funnily I always have second places. But it’s okay, I’m very happy with my effort. I might have some bad luck because everybody is looking at me in the race and follows me, when I try. Today, nobody wanted to work on the final climb but I tried to keep the race open. Well, I have a good lead in the points classification but Tour de France is crazy and everyday something can happen and I have to make it to Paris. I’m very happy with the support I have here at the Tour, it really motivates me. For example, a whole bus from Slovakia is here and follows me at the race to cheer me on - it’s really nice. Today, I also had many great friends in the group that all wanted to stay with me so it was very difficult to do something but I did my best, also for the supporters”.

Alberto Contador:
“Today has been much better, but there was a lot of wind on the climb, which made it complicated. I think that when I attacked, some people had a little trouble but it was complicated to continue alone. Now I have a day of rest to recover and then we face the Alps, where we will see how it goes. In the Alps, I have to look for opportunities – this is a different Tour for me because I have big time differences to other riders and I’m not at the same strength as in other Tours so I have to look for other opportunities and if I find them I will try. Today was not a day for big opportunities, the margin was very small, just a few seconds, I tried and then Nibali tried but it was just a question of seconds. But a lot of challenges still remain in the Alps, where we will try.”

Vincenzo Nibali:
“I suffered a lot again today and it’s seems like back luck is still following me around because I’ve picked up a bit of a cold. But I still wanted to try something and so I attacked on the descent. I didn’t gain a lot of time but it went well. I can be a little proud of what I did today. My goal is to perhaps win a stage as a way of thanking all the people who have continued to encourage me despite all my problems in this Tour. We’ll see what happens on he other side of the rest day. There are still a lot of tough days to come where e can try something. I can only hope that my form gets better.”

1 Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Lampre-Merida
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
3 Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling
4 Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
5 Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
6 Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
7 Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) MTN - Qhubeka
8 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9 Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
10 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar
1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 64:47:16
2 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:03:10
3 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:03:32
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:04:02
5 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:04:23
6 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:05:32
7 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:06:23
8 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:07:49
9 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:08:53
10 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:11:03
Yellow: Chris Froome
Green: Peter Sagan
Polka dot: Chris Froome
White: Nairo Quintana

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