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Sprint finish: Froome swerves late crash as Rui Costa solos to victory

Got two minutes? Here’s everything you need to know about today’s stage of the Tour de France.

Image: Christophe Ena/AP/Press Association Images

Result: RUI COSTA TIMED his attack to perfection as he soloed away on the final climb to clinch today’s 16th stage. Chris Froome holds on to his yellow jersey lead though the Team Sky rider and GC rival Alberto Contador were lucky to avoid a late crash.

How it happened: A 26-man breakaway set the tone for today’s 168 kilometre stage from Vaison-la-Romaine to Gap and, in the end, it was Rui Costa who had the legs to outlast the lot. The Portuguese rider attacked on the day’s final climb and stayed clear of his four closest rivals, winning the stage by 42 seconds from Christophe Riblon and Arnold Jeannesson.

An equally intriguing battle played out 11 minutes back at the head of the peloton as Contador tried to grind Froome into submission and claw back some of the gap between them in the race for the yellow jersey. Contador’s attacking tactics very nearly spelled disaster for both as he misjudged a corner and briefly went off the road, forcing Froome to briefly unclip from his pedals to avoid a fall.

Both survived and Froome still holds his 4’14″ lead at the top of the GC.

The big winner: Bauke Mollema. The Dutch rider is second in the GC standings but when Froome and Contador got themselves in a bit of a pickle, he showed his class by observing the unwritten rule of the peloton and allowing them to catch up.

The big loser: Alberto Contador. The Spaniard tried to break away from Froome on plenty of occasions over the final kilometres but every time he asked the question, Froome and Sky had the answer.

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Who is wearing what jersey?

  • Yellow (Overall): Chris Froome
  • Green (Points): Peter Sagan
  • Polka-Dot (Mountains): Mikel Nieve Iturralde
  • White (Young Rider): Nairo Quintana Rojas

What about the Irish? On a chaotic day in the GC standings, Dan Martin finished the stage over 12 minutes back in 43rd but moved up to 10th place overall. Nicolas Roche turned in a brilliant ride at the head of the field and finished in 16th, moving back up to 34th in the GC.

What happens tomorrow then? The second and final individual time trial of this year’s race, a 32-kilometre stage from Embrun to Chorges.

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Niall Kelly

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