Hushovd Wins Stage 16 of 2011 Tour; Evans and Contador Gain on Rivals
On what was supposed to be a relatively uneventful transitional stage, a modest standing shakeup occurred.
On what was supposed to be a relatively uneventful transitional stage, a modest standing shakeup occurred. Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) took a three-up sprint to win Stage 16, an uphill, 162.5-km ride from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux to Gap in 3:31:38. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) finished second, and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Cervelo) took third. Alberto Contador and Cadel Evans (BMC) gained time on the other GC contenders, but Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) rode strongly to remain the maillot jaune.
The peloton took a long time to commence hostilities. Not until 100 km did a break form. The escapees were Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM), Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad), Andriy Grivko (Astana), Hushovd and Hesjedal, Alan Perez Lezaun (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Hagen, Dries Devenyns (Quick Step), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), and Jeremy Roy (Francaise des Jeux). The break led the field by 1:03 with 56 km left, 1:53 with 55 km remaining, and 3:17 with 52 km to go.
With 45 km left, six minutes separated bunch and break. Ignatiev launched a solo attack with 20 km remaining. Hesjedal paced Hushovd and then set out after the Russian. Behind, Contador attacked on the Category 2 Col de Manse. BMC, Leopard-Trek, and Voeckler shut down the move, but Contador tried again and got free. Only Evans and Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) could follow. Evans pushed the pace to take time out of Contador.
Hesjedal was in the lead, but Hagen pursued. He and compatriot Hushovd caught the Canadian with nine km left. Behind, Contador attacked Evans and Sanchez, but without success.
On the descent, Evans had a dig and put 0:30 into the yellow jersey group. Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) was cautious on the rain-soaked descent and yielded an additional 0:18 to the Australian.
Ahead, Hagen attacked with three km left but was reeled in. Hesjedal led the trio into the last km and began the sprint with 500 km remaining. With 200 m left, Hushovd came around the pair for the win.
In the overall, Voeckler leads Evans by 1:45 and Frank Schleck (Saxo Bank) by 1:49. Stage 17 will begin in Gap and take the Tour into Italy. The riders will go over a Category 1 ascent at Sestrieres and descend before tackling the Category 2 Cote de Pra Martino en route to the finish in Pinerolo, Italy. Will the climbs produce pyrotechnics like today's? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and www.roadcycling.mobi find out!
Click here for complete stage 16 results and additional photos.