The peloton held the group’s advantage around the one-minute mark for the whole stage, briefly rising to two minutes after 50 kilometers, but with potential crosswinds hitting in the final 80 kilometers and the sprinters determined to contest a bunch sprint, the breakaway had next to no chance of staying away.
After the only categorized climb of the day, the category four Col du Saint Jean-du-Pin, the breakaway’s advantage began to decrease and with 50 kilometers to go, the peloton came within 20 seconds of the group but, not wanting to make the catch too early, the advantage floated back out to one minute.
With temperatures exceeding 40 degrees on the scorching hot day, it was not an easy day on the flat terrain and despite the sprinters’ teams picking up the pace in the final 40 kilometers, the breakaway managed to hang on until the final three kilometers when the catch was eventually made.
With the breakaway reeled in and the sprint trains already formed, Ewan proved to be the fastest of the day while Greg Van Avermaet was CCC Team’s first rider across the line.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“The gap wasn’t so big all day. We were quite surprised because the stage wasn’t that hard to control so we thought they would give us more than a minute and a half. We kept trying all day and they eventually caught us with about three kilometers to go. All of the stages, the sprint teams have controlled so much. The first part of the stage we did a little easier to have some more power in the end, because in the heat you cannot go deep all day long. We tried to manage to save some energy and then we went full gas for the last 40 kilometres. It was my first breakaway of the Tour de France and I really enjoyed it. It was nice weather and we had a lot of support on the side of the road.”
Tour de France
Stage 16 Names > Names (177km)
Top 3: 1. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal), 2. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck— Quick Step), 3. Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo Visma).
CCC Team top 3: 19. Greg Van Avermaet, 60. Joey Rosskopf, 76. Michael Schär.