Tour de France 2013 stage 16 | Vaison-la-Romaine - Gap 168 km (104 mi)
Event: 16 July 2013
Report: Scott Hobro
Team Sky’s Chris Froome maintained his overall lead in the Tour de France after stage 16 from Vaison-la-Romaine to Gap.
Briton Froome crossed the line 11 minutes and eight seconds back from Portuguese stage winner Rui Costa (Movistar) having been forced off the road on the final descent after rival Alberto Contador slid out in front of him.
It keeps 28-year-old Froome, who won his second stage in this year’s Tour on Mont Ventoux on Sunday, four minutes and 14 seconds ahead of second place Bauke Mollema (Belkin Pro Cycling).
Froome also stays top of the mountains classification.
Earlier a 26-man breakaway group, which contained none of Froome’s general classification rivals, had been allowed to escape from the main bunch with Costa breaking free on the final climb of the race, the Col de Manse, to take the win.
“I think it was actually a bit careless of Contador and Kreuziger," Froome said after the stage. "They were really pushing the limits on the descent trying to attack us on the descent and Alberto overcooked one of the corners and came off in front of me and took himself down and I nearly went over him.
“I had to get round him and went off the road a little bit. I didn’t come off but I had to unclip and get myself straightened up again.
“I just think at this stage in the race he’s obviously getting desperate that he’s attacking us on the descents, they are attacking in the climbs but I think it was careless to ride like that."
On Wednesday's time trial, Froome added: “We’ve got a hard day tomorrow, it’s the first of a few hard days coming up.”
With Monday’s rest day allowing riders to recover from the longest stage of the Tour on Sunday, which concluded with the hors catégorie Ventoux, the parcours to Gap was a shorter 168-kilometres with three categorised climbs.
The day’s decisive break came after the opening Côte de la Montagne de Bluye climb when the peloton briefly caught a group of 30 escapees at the 28-kilometre mark.
Before the race has settled a quick counter attack saw the composition of another break containing 26 riders and with no major threats to the general classification, it was allowed to increase its gap to as much as ten minutes.
Blel Kadri (Ag2R-La Mondiale) and Jean Marc Marino (Sojasun) then went off the front ahead of the final Col de Manse but were caught on the ascent before Movistar’s Rui Costa attacked alone.
Further back the peloton fractured with Froome marshalled by teammate Richie Porte as Alberto Contador launched repeated attacks on the ascent.
Porte was briefly distanced but fought back to rejoin Froome before Contador lost control on the descent to Gap forcing Froome off the road.
Australian Porte was able to guide Froome back to his group and safely over the line to avoid any potential time losses.
1. COSTA Rui Movistar Team 03:52:45
2. RIBLON Christophe AG2R La Mondiale 00:42
3. JEANNESSON Arnold Equipe Cycliste FDJ.fr ,,
4. COPPEL Jérome Cofidis Solutions Crédits ,,
5. KLöDEN Andréas RadioShack - Leopard ,,
6. DUMOULIN Tom Team Argos - Shimano 01:00
7. ASTARLOZA CHAURREAU Mikel Euskaltel - Euskadi 01:01
8. GILBERT Philippe BMC Racing Team 01:04
9. MEYER Cameron Orica GreenEDGE ,,
10. NAVARDAUSKAS Ramunas Garmin - Sharp ,
29. FROOME Christopher Team Sky 11.08
1 FROOME Christopher Sky Procycling 65:15:36
2. MOLLEMA Bauke Belkin Pro Cycling Team 04:14
3. CONTADOR VELASCO Alberto Team Saxo-Tinkoff 04:25
4. KREUZIGER Roman Team Saxo-Tinkoff 04:28
5. QUINTANA ROJAS Nairo Alexander Movistar Team 05:47
6. TEN DAM Laurens Belkin Pro Cycling Team 05:54
7. RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquim Katusha Team 07:11
8. FUGLSANG Jakob Astana Pro Team 07:22
9. PERAUD Jean-Christophe AG2R La Mondiale 08:47
10. MARTIN Daniel Garmin - Sharp 09:28