Dessel Wins Stage 16 of Tour de France
Cyril Dessel (Ag2r) has won Stage 16 of the 2008 Tour de France. Dessel took a four-up sprint from three companions to win the mountainous, 157-km stage from Cuneo, Italy to Jausiers, France in 4:31:27. Sandy Casar (Francaise des Jeux) outsprinted David Arroyo Duran (Caisse d'Epargne) for second. Frank Schleck (CSC) remains the maillot jaune.
From the start, the racing was aggressive. An attack by Sylvain Chavanel at 0 km led to a flurry of moves. No one escaped until 39 km, when five riders got clear. They were Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis), Sebastien Rosseler (Quick Step), Christophe Le Mevel (Credit Agricole), Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner), and Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom). The quintet forged a 90-second lead in four km, and a two-dozen rider chase group formed behind them.
On the Col de la Lombarde, attrition took its toll. Schumacher forged ahead alone. The CSC-led peloton was more than 9:00 in arrears. In the chase group, Tadej Valjavec (Ag2r), who began the day 13th overall at 6:27, attacked from the peloton, bridged up to the chase group, and briefly became the maillot jaune on the road. At the base of the Col de la Bonette-Restefond, Schumacher led the chase group by 3:00 and the peloton by more than 10 minutes.
Gerolsteiner joined CSC at the front. With 35 km left, Schumacher led the maillot jaune group by 8:00, with the chase group being within 2:00 of him. Valjavec attacked, and Yaroslav Popovych (Silence), Konstantin Sivtsov (Columbia), and John-Lee Augustin (Barloworld) followed. Dessel began pacesetting for Valjavec.
Kurt-Asle Arvesen (CSC) dropped out of the chase group to help CSC pursue the riders in front of the maillot jaune group. Vladimir Efimkin (Ag2r) and Christian Vande Velde (Garmin) were dropped. With 30 km left, the maillot jaune group was within 0:30 of the Valjavec group and 4:30 of Schumacher.
Just below the summit, Dessel overtook Schumacher, who joined the lead group. Jens Voigt (CSC) dropped back to the maillot jaune group, and lent his muscle to the chase. Schumacher dropped out of the lead group.
One km from the summit, Augustyn attacked over the summit. On the descent, the Barloworld man crashed and watched his bike sail down the side of the mountain.
Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner) led the maillot jaune group over the summit. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) was dropped on the descent. Ahead, Popovych, Casar, Dessel, and Arroyo were clear and fought for the win.
With one km left, Popovych attacked. Casar took his wheel. Arroyo attacked on the left, but Dessel covered the move and passed him for the win.
In the overall, Schleck leads Kohl by 0:07 and Cadel Evans (Silence) by 0:08. Stage 17 will be a standing shaker. The 210.5-km ride from Embrun to L'Alpe d'Huez will take the riders over three of the most famous climbs in cycling. The riders will breast the Col du Galibier before taking on the Col de la Croix de Fer and the finishing climb. All of these ascents are hors categorie, so their cumulative effect, along with the high tempo toward the end of the stage, should produce changes in the standings. Who will win the stage? Who will don the maillot jaune? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!