British climber Simon Yates has strengthened his general classification position, moving up to sixth overall, after crosswinds caused a late split on stage 16 of the Tour de France today.
The 24-year-old ORICA-SCOTT rider made the winning move in the last 20km, alongside the yellow jersey of Chris Froome (Team Sky) and stage winner Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), as others such as Dan Martin (Quickstep Floors) fell short.
Fellow white jersey contender Louis Meintjes (UAE Emirates) also missed the split which saw Yates extend his stranglehold on the best young rider competition to almost four minutes.
“I felt good and I had good legs again today,” Yates declared. “I’ve been getting better with each day.”
“The team did a fantastic job today, they were always around me and had me in the right position at all of the crucial moments so I didn’t have to do a lot at all. Jens Keukeleire did a really fantastic job for me when it really started to split there in the wind and once I made that front group I was in a good position.
“In the end it was a perfect day.”
ORICA-SCOTT sport director Matt White echoed Yates’ sentiments on the team.
“We had good information and we knew where we had to be and when,” White said. “The whole team did a great job of keeping Simon safe and in the right place as you could see.”
“This Tour de France has shown that everything can change in a second and with the top riders so close on the GC, we are happy to be up there fighting amongst them.”
How it happened:
Crosswinds posed their biggest threat of this year’s Tour de France on stage 16 and the peloton was understandably nervous.
There was a number of attempted breakaways in the first 50km, including moves containing ORICA-SCOTT’s Michael Albasini and Daryl Impey, but neither managed to gain more than 30seconds advantage and were shortly shut done.
A furious pace, set mostly by stage winners Team Sunweb, saw the bunch remain relatively compact for the next 100km before the action picked up again in the final 20km.
Team Sky took over on the front and their pressure split the bunch to form a lead group of around 25 riders. Matthews took the reduced bunch sprint as those behind the split rued the missed opportunity and time loss.
Tour de France – Stage 16 Results
1. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) 3:38:15
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Dimension Data) ST
3. John Degenkolb (Trek Segafredo) ST
6. Jens Keukeleire (ORICA-SCOTT) ST
Tour de France – General Classification after Stage 16:
1. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 68:18:36
2. Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team) +0:18
3. Romain Bardet (AG2R) +0:23
6. Simon Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) +2:02