photo credits @ ASO
Jean-Pierre “Jumpy” Drucker (BMC) claimed his first Grand Tour stage victory today, after outsprinting Bora Argon’s Rüdiger Selig and Giant-Alpecin’s Nokias Arndt in Peñíscola.
With around 60km of downhill or flat roads running to the finish line, stage 16 was an obvious target for the quick men, which meant that early breakers Davide Villella (Cannondale – Drapac), Mario Costa (Lampre – Merida), Silvan Dillier (BMC Racing), Sven Erik Bystrom (Katusha), Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis), and Julien Morice (Direct Energie) were kept on a tight leash. Their advantage never got much higher than three minutes. A well-marshaled peloton ultimately made the catch with 13km to go.
Tinkoff’s Daniele Bennati tried to catch the sprinters napping with a solo dig off the front in the final few kilometers, but he was reeled in when the sprinters wound up the speed 200 meters from the finish.
Etixx – Quick-Step’s Gianni Meersman, already a winner of two stages in this year’s race, was the first to launch his move, but Drucker overtook him 100 meters from the line and powered on to a convincing victory. Rüdiger Selig (Bora – Argon 18) took second, with Nikias Arndt (Giant – Alpecin) in third.
Meanwhile, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) finished safely in the peloton to maintain his grip on the overall race lead heading into tomorrow’s rest day.
A six-man break group containing Luis Angel Maté (Cofidis) among the number. Prior to the stage, Mate had garnered the opinion of his Twitter followers as to whether or not he should go in the break. On overwhelming number said yes and Maté duly abided. Joining Maté was Silvan Dillier (BMC), Sven Erik Bystrom (Katusha), Julien Morice (Direct Energie), Davide Villella (Cannondale) and Mario Costa (Lampre – Merida), got underway early on in today’s stage.
Simon Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) had an unexpected interruption to his day when he and teammate Sam Bewley (Orica-BikeExchange) hit the deck in the middle of the peloton on a flat stretch of road. After a quick visit to the doctor’s car, the pair were easily able to make it back up to the peloton.
IAM Cycling and Etixx-QuickStep kept a tight leash on the escapees, giving them no more than 3:30 minutes of an advantage before they started bringing them back. Giant-Alpecin and Dimension Data also lent a hand, giving Movistar a welcome break from the effort on the front of the bunch. As the leaders descended the Alto Castillo de Morella, with 60 kilometers still to go, the escapees had just over two minutes to play with.
The peloton never looked too troubled in the chase and with 20 kilometres remaining they had the six men in their sights. The day would finally be done for the escapees with 12 kilometers to go and the GC teams immediately moved to the front with a technical run to the line a serious danger for their race leaders. The peloton had to negotiate a large number of roundabouts as they twisted and turned towards the finish line.
Tinkoff’s Bennati decided to try and take advantage of the difficult finish, attacking as they approached one of the many roundabouts in the final three kilometres. He had a slim margin going into the final kilometre but was eventually overtaken when Meersman began his sprint, a move that proved too soon.
Meersman slipped back in the final hundred meters, with Drucker overtaking him to seize the stage honors.
Stage 16 Results
LUX 1 DRUCKER, Jean-Pierre (BMC RACING) 3:21:18
GER 2 SELIG, Rudiger (BORA-ARGON 18)
GER 3 ARNDT, Nikias (GIANT – ALPECIN)
BEL 4 MEERSMAN, Gianni (ETIXX – QUICK STEP)
FRA 5 MANZIN, Lorenzo (FDJ)
BEL 6 VANGENECHTEN, Jonas (IAM CYCLING)
ITA 7 SBARAGLI, Kristian (DIMENSION DATA)
USA 8 REIJNEN, Kiel (TREK – SEGAFREDO)
BEL 9 VAN DER SANDE, Tosh (LOTTO SOUDAL)
COL 10 RESTREPO, Jhonatan (KATUSHA)
FRA 11 LADAGNOUS, Matthieu (FDJ)
RUS 12 LAGUTIN, Sergey (KATUSHA) + 2
ESP 13 PRADES REVERTE, Eduard (CAJA RURAL-SEGUROS RGA)
COL 14 CHAVES RUBIO, Jhoan Esteban (ORICA-BikeExchange)
JPN 15 BEPPU, Fumiyuki (TREK – SEGAFREDO)
LTU 16 BAGDONAS, Gediminas (AG2R LA MONDIALE)
GBR 17 FROOME, Christopher (SKY)
FRA 18 CHETOUT, Loïc (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS)
COL 19 QUINTANA ROJAS, Nairo Alexander (MOVISTAR)
RUS 20 KOCHETKOV, Pavel (KATUSHA)
ITA 21 SCARPONI, Michele (ASTANA)
CAN 22 ANDERSON, Ryan (DIRECT ENERGIE)
ESP 23 SANCHEZ GONZALEZ, Samuel (BMC RACING)
FRA 24 PERAUD, Jean-Christophe (AG2R LA MONDIALE)
ESP 25 ROJAS GIL, Jose Joaquin (MOVISTAR)
ITA 26 BENNATI, Daniele (TINKOFF)
FRA 27 COUSIN, Jerome (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS)
FRA 28 BIDARD, François (AG2R LA MONDIALE)
JPN 29 ARASHIRO, Yukiya (LAMPRE – MERIDA)
BEL 30 KEUKELEIRE, Jens (ORICA-BikeExchange)
ESP 31 MORENO FERNANDEZ, Daniel (MOVISTAR)
DEN 32 NIELSEN, Magnus Cort (ORICA-BikeExchange)
USA 33 TALANSKY, Andrew (CANNONDALE)
ESP 34 CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (TINKOFF)
ESP 35 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR)
ITA 36 FORMOLO, Davide (CANNONDALE)
GBR 37 YATES, Simon (ORICA-BikeExchange)
ITA 38 BOARO, Manuele (TINKOFF)
NZL 39 BENNETT, George (LOTTO NL – JUMBO)
SUI 40 WYSS, Marcel (IAM CYCLING)
General Classification after Stage 16
COL 1 QUINTANA ROJAS, Nairo Alexander (MOVISTAR) 64:57:27
GBR 2 FROOME, Christopher (SKY) + 3:37
COL 3 CHAVES RUBIO, Jhoan Esteban (ORICA-BikeExchange) + 3:57
ESP 4 CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (TINKOFF) + 4:02
GBR 5 YATES, Simon (ORICA-BikeExchange) + 5:07
ESP 6 SANCHEZ GONZALEZ, Samuel (BMC RACING) + 6:12
USA 7 TALANSKY, Andrew (CANNONDALE) + 6:43
ITA 8 FORMOLO, Davide (CANNONDALE) + 7:17
ESP 9 DE LA CRUZ MELGAREJO, David (ETIXX – QUICK STEP) + 7:23
ITA 10 SCARPONI, Michele (ASTANA) + 7:39
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