Tour de France: Chris Froome survives late scare as Rui Costa wins stage 16
By Matt Westby in Gap. Last Updated: 17/07/13 11:42am
Chris Froome retained his lead of the Tour de France
Chris Froome recovered from a late scare to consolidate his lead of the Tour de France as breakaway rider Rui Costa claimed solo victory on stage 16 in Gap.
Froome and rival Alberto Contador both encountered trouble on a tight right-hand turn 7.5km from the finish line as they descended the treacherous Col de Manse, with Froome running off the road as he tried to avoid the falling Contador.
Both men quickly remounted and were swiftly paced back to a group of five general classification contenders with whom they had been riding by Froome's Team Sky team-mate Richie Porte.
The eight went on to cross the line at the same time, more than 11 minutes down on Costa (Movistar), who had formed part of the day's 26-man breakaway and later forged clear alone on the ascent of the Manse with an attack 18km out.
It means that Froome retains his 4min 14sec lead of the race, with the only movement in the general classification being Laurens ten Dam (Belkin) dropping down to sixth after being dropped on the climb, losing one minute.
However, the status quo in the top three fails to reflect a stressful day for Froome in which he came under pressure both at the start and end.
It began right from the gun, when Contador, just hours after revealing he was planning a surprise attack, placed three of his Saxo-Tinkoff team-mates in an early escape comprising of 32 riders all keen to capitalise on a route favourable to a breakaway winner.
Rui Costa rode solo to victory
Team Sky chased them down and it was only after two of the Saxo-Tinkoff riders and several others dropped out that Froome gave the now 26-strong breakaway licence to forge on.
Costa goes clear
With the likes of Philippe Gilbert (BMC), Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) and Costa among the big names present, they quickly opened up a substantial gap and the advantage expanded to over nine minutes when the peloton was held up for 20 seconds at a rail crossing, after which any chances of a catch evaporated.
Costa launched his attack midway up the category-two Col de Manse, carried a 48-second lead over the summit, which came 11.5km out, and then consolidated it on the descent to claim the second Tour stage win of his career.
Eleven minutes behind, the peloton was blown apart on the Manse as Joaquim Rodriguez ordered his Katusha team to the front and upped the pace.
With only eight GC rivals left, Contador hit Froome with three separate attacks, but despite the intense pressure, the Briton chased all of them down and saw out another testing stage.
Stage 16 result
1 Rui Costa (Por) Movistar, 3:52:45
2 Christophe Riblon (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +42
3 Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ, same time
4 Jerome Coppel (Fra) Cofidis, st
5 Andreas Kloden (Ger) RadioShack-Leopard, st
6 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos-Shimano, +1:00
7 Mikel Astarloza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi, +1:01
8 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC, +1:04
9 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE, st
10 Ramunas Navardauskas (Lit) Garmin-Sharp, st
29 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, +11:08
1 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky, 65:15:36
2 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin, +4:14
3 Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff, +4:25
4 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff, +4:28
5 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, +5:47
6 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin, +5:54
7 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, +7:11
8 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, +7:22
9 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +8:47
10 Dan Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp, +9:28
- Green (points classification): Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
- White (best young rider): Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
- Polka dot (mountains classification): Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky