Rogers wins stage 16 in Tour de France
Australian Michael Rogers wins his first ever Tour de France stage as Italian Vicenzo Nibali maintains his overall race lead.PT0M54S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3ce3d 620 349 July 23, 2014
Australia's Michael Rogers has won stage 16 of the Tour de France with a dramatic descent outpacing second-placed Frenchman Thomas Voeckler and Belarus' Vasili Kiryienka.
Rogers claimed his first ever Tour stage win in his tenth Tour while his Tinkoff-Saxo team won their second stage win this year by powering away from a breakaway group in the final stages of the descent.
"I knew I had to outwit them on the final [descent]", Rogers told SBS television after the race.
Stage winner: Australian Michael Rogers. Photo: Getty Images
"He (Voeckler) had a teammate behind and started playing that bargaining chip but I said I wouldn't have it. I said 'listen, don't play with me, you're not going to beat me today, no way.'"
"On that descent, I just said I've been in this position too many times not to win ... [i thought] I'm going to crash or I'm going to win."
Frenchman Romain Bardet and American Tejay van Garderen's podium hopes suffered a major blow as they lost considerable ground during the longest stage of this year's Tour - a 237.5-km mountain trek from Carcassonne.
Michael Rogers celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the 16th stage of the Tour de France.
Vincenzo Nibali of Italy retained the overall leader's yellow jersey with a solid ride ahead of Spain's Alejandro Valverde while France's Thibaut Pinot, who was the strongest in the intimidating ascent to the Port de Bales, moved up to third at the expense of compatriot Bardet.
AG2R-La Mondiale rider Bardet, who had promised to blow the race open in the Pyrenees, was unable to sustain the pace in the climb and lost over 1:40.
Van Garderen could not follow either and lost more than three minutes, but Bardet's team mate Jean-Christophe Peraud could not be shaken off.
World champion Rui Costa of Portugal did not start the stage as he withdrew suffering from pneumonia.
"He was forced to withdraw after an X-ray examination, carried out during the rest day at a clinic in Pezenas, showed an outbreak of pneumonia," his Lampre team said in a statement.
A 21-man breakaway took shape after about 60 kilometres and built a 12:30 gap that started to shrink when they hit the first slopes of the ascent to the Port de Bales, a 11.7-km climb at an average gradient of 7.7 per cent.
Astana and Movistar set the tempo of the peloton in the climb while Rogers's acceleration in the break reduced the group to seven men.
Thomas Voeckler's attack skimmed it down to four before his Europcar teammate Cyril Gautier burst away, but he quickly paid for it and was dropped.
Rogers, Colombian Jose Serpa and Voeckler were on their own three kilometres from the summit.
That is where Pinot's teammate Arnold Jeannesson upped the pace in front of the yellow jersey group as Bardet dropped out. Van Garderen was long gone already.
Pinot finished it off in the last kilometre, dropping Valverde, Peraud and even Nibali.
However, they all came back in the descent and worked together with several teammates who had been dropped from the morning's breakaway before finishing together.