TDF loses more starters in ‘hectic’ stage

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Austrian rider Patrick Konrad received the Tour de France’s hilly sixteenth stage Tuesday as race chief Tadej Pogacar remained on target for his second total victory.

Konrad made his decisive break with simply over 36 kilometres (22.5 miles) to go, 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) earlier than the summit of Col de Portet-d’Aspet, and he maintained the lead for his first Tour stage win.

The 29-year-old Konrad completed 42 seconds forward of a bunch of 5 chasers — Sonny Colbrelli, Australian Michael Matthews, Pierre Luc Perichon, Franck Bonnamour and Alex Aranburu Deba — on the second day of racing within the Pyrenees.

Konrad is simply the third Austrian to win a stage at biking’s largest race after Max Bulla, who received three in 1931, and Georg Totschnig in 2005.

“I am speechless. This one is for my household, for my associates, for all my believers,” Konrad mentioned. “I am comfortable I had the legs to make it to the end. The final kilometre was uphill and it was painful once more however I had a while to have fun.”

Amund Groendahl Jansen, who had been struggling for the reason that opening stage crash, dropped out Tuesday morning, whereas Vincenzo Nibali additionally did not begin. The Italian had already mentioned he would pull out after stage 15 to deal with the Olympics.

It meant greater than 20 per cent of the Grand Départ starters had been now not competing. The 145-rider peloton had not been decreased a lot earlier than the second relaxation day since 2012.

Pogacar, the defending champion, completed 13 minutes, 49 seconds after Konrad and maintained his common classification lead of greater than 5 minutes over Rigoberto Uran and Jonas Vingegaard.

Pogacar remained within the peloton together with his GC rivals as his UAE Crew Emirates group loved a cushty journey within the 169-kilometre trek from the tiny mountain-locked nation of Andorra.

“The primary two hours we had been simply flying, after which it settled down, however then fireworks once more so it was fairly technical, fairly arduous,” Pogacar mentioned.

The Slovenian solely needed to cope with rivals’ assaults within the last kilometers, however he had little hassle coping with Guillaume Martin and Wout van Aert’s late actions.

“I simply comply with the wheels. I do not know. I had no thought what we had been doing. However yeah, it was good to open the legs,” mentioned Pogacar, who simply must keep away from any mishaps within the remaining 5 phases.

Wednesday shall be a day of Pyrenees punishment with an unforgiving 178.4-kilometre route that ends with three main obstacles in a row. The seventeenth stage ends with the toughest, a steep 16-kilometre climb to the two,215-metre altitude end atop Col du Portet.

“The toughest day within the Tour,” Pogacar mentioned.

“I did the recon for tomorrow and the day after so I do know the climbs. It might be higher if I did not see them,” the 22-year-old joked. “I am not anxious, however it may be actually arduous I feel.”

After the tour’s second relaxation day on Monday, Tuesday’s stage started in on the ski resort of Pas de la Casa at 2,080 metres altitude. It was tour’s highest-ever stage begin and it gave riders a protracted confidence-boosting downhill journey earlier than the day’s first climb at Col de Port.

The principle group caught early leaders Kasper Asgreen, Michal Kwiatkowski and Mattia Cattaneo on the downhill from Col de Port. There have been a number of break makes an attempt earlier than Konrad first attacked to hitch new leaders Fabien Doubey, Jan Bakelants and Chris Juul Jensen on the climb to Col de la Core. Konrad was first to the summit and he made his decisive transfer to shake off Doubey and Bakelants as they tackled the steepest climb of the day up Col de Portet-d’Aspet. He did not crack as David Gaudu and Colbrelli chased.

“I already made three breakaways on the Tour. Each time I used to be ready for the finale and it was not at all times the very best choice,” Konrad mentioned. “I informed myself that if it occurred another time, I would be the man to strive early.”

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