Saturday, July 24, 2021
HomeRaceRace ReviewsLe Tour de France 2016 - Stage 8; Pau - Bagnères-de-Luchon. Froome...

Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 8; Pau – Bagnères-de-Luchon. Froome Surprises Everyone!


Mont-Saint-MichelAs with last year when he was jousting with the pave specialists in the first week, Chris Froome again confounded his critics, descending like a man possessed, leaving the demon descenders glued to the macadam, taking all the risks – but more importantly taking the stage and maillot jaune.

A terrific ride, no question, no caveats.

But the dreams end for GVA, Bert and Pinot; no jaune for Yates but he consolidates blanc – whilst our friend Michael Mørkøv climbs into the team car.

What a day…

Chris Froome takes a fine stage win and moves into yellow. Photo©ASO/A.Broadway

51 – grammatically you’re not meant to start sentences with numbers but that’s a very impressive one – the number of kilometres the peloton covered in the first hour today.

Ironic that the flat stages are run off like sportivs and this mountain stage starts like an hour long city centre crit.

And there’s the break, just as we start the climb of the HC monster Tourmalet: Wout Poels (Sky), Jesus Herrada (Movistar), Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Mikaël Chérel (AG2R-La Mondiale), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Stef Clement (IAM), Dylan van Baarle (Cannondale-Drapac), Tom Dumoulin (Giant), Paul Voss (Bora), Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha), Romain Sicard (Direct Energie), Dani Navarro (Cofidis) and Michael Matthews (Orica-BikeExchange).

As the break starts to splinter on the Giant, GVA slides backwards from the peloton, no shame – the man rode with panache.

As the top of the Tourmalet nears the pack has been re-shuffled and yesterday’s ‘victim’ Thibaut Pinot (F des J), Tinkoff’s Polish champion, Rafa Majka and former World Time Trial Champion, Tony Martin (Etixx) are clear – with 100 K to go.

Thibaut, Majka and Jeannesson keep it going. Photo©ASO/A.Broadway

Is Majka a ‘springboard’ for Bert ? – we have three hours to find out.

As we near the summit – and all those HC points, 25 on offer – Martin slips back as Majka and Pinot spare for the points.

If Pinot can take the K of M jersey it makes some sort of amends for yesterday’s debacle – he takes it along with that big Henri Desgranges prime.

Sky and Movistar push at the front of the peloton as Majka and Pinot drop off the mountain past the bars of La Mongie – where Dave, Martin and I have enjoyed a beer or two over the years.

Sky pull the bunch back into contention. Photo©ASO/A.Broadway

The big descent off the Tourmalet goes straight into the second cat. Houquette d’Arcizan – no rest for the wicked.

Tony Martin makes it back up so three on the decent now before the Houquette with the gap at 2:11 … but slipping back to Sky and Movistar fueled peloton.

There are five kilometres for the peloton to ride, the Houquette is a grind of a climb – the kind that creeps up and drains away the energy.

Pinot takes the summit points, he’s well in the lead in the Mountains competition 30 to Majka’s 25 – a 10 K descent will now follow on a narrow strip of road.

Martin leads Majka on the drop, Pinot lays off a little until they reach the valley floor – 52 K to go and two first cats.

Still to tackle – the Col de Val Louron-Azet and Col de Peyresourde.

Many in the crowd enjoy the publicity caravan as much as the race itself. Photo©ASO/B.Bade

The break’s lead is now under one minute and Adam Yates is in yellow on paper with GVA way back; as Sky and Movistar grind away at the front of the peloton – one by one men are slipping out of the rear door.

Pinot and Martin are caught, no more points for Thibaut today as he engages reverse and exits aforementioned rear exit and slows to walking pace – oh dear.

Majka is shredded now as Sky and Movistar continue to grind the meat ever upwards – all of the favourites are in the Sky/Movistar group.

Froome, Quintana, Contador, van Garderen, Porte, Bardet and Yates is still there, too.

The bad news is that Michael Mørkøv has abandoned – a great shame, all that pain to no end.

The top – Majka tries for the points but ‘No !’ says Froome as he and Poels nick them – on to the descent and Rafal asks Christopher why he didn’t let him take the points?

Answers on a postcard, please.

But third place on that cat. one should just about give Majka the lead in the King of the Mountains – more heartbreak for Pinot.

Sky lead on the descent as Jumbo Lotto’s Kelderman goes down, Bennett stops to help him – bike change for Kelderman, looks like he rolled a front tubular (or is that ‘sew up?’)

I wouldn’t want to be the mechanic…

The Valley floor – briefly.

Adam Yates this morning finally got his moment on the podium to be presented with his white jersey of leading young rider. Photo©ASO/A.Broadway

And now, the Peyresourde, seven K at nearly 8% – that’s not a fun climb.

Sky churn onwards and upwards as a UCI Technical Officer on the back of a moto checks for hidden motors – none for Majka, he’s going backwards.

Astana mountain ace Kangert goes backwards – that tells a tale.

Poels pops, nothing left to give.

Caruso (BMC) pops too.

Froome looks as horrible as on his bike as ever – but comfortable in his own way; Quintana is inscrutable.

Nieve it is, relentless, doing the damage for Sky, they still have Henao and Thomas, too.

The group is thinning, one by one – Barguil is toiling, so too is Van Den Broucke.

Nieve is impressive, very impressive – and now Henao goes, they bring him back but it’s popped Barguil.

Froome takes it up, Quintana is on him, Dan Martin closes and counters – Kelderman has gone, Rolland, Thomas too.

Contador slides out of it.

A royal group now; Henao, Froome, Bardet, Aru – and Kreuziger has his freedom, Bert is abandoned.

Henao drives on to the top; Froome!

The Sky leader attacks right off the top, he’s full on off the mountain at 84 kph in the tuck – and pedalling in that position; if it’s possible, he looks even worse than usual.

Horrible but effective.

Froome has 10 then 12 seconds, he’s taking all the risks – 10 K to go with Valverde, Quintana, Kreuziger, Yates chasing . . and now it’s a 24 seconds gap.


Rolland has been on the deck, well torn up.

Porte and Tejay take it up but Froome only has two K to ride.

Flame rouge for Froome, he’s driving all the way, cornering like a kermis king in the last K.

Froome drives all the way to the line before enjoying the victory. Photo©ASO/G.Demouveaux

Hands high, he crosses the line, a great win – with the stage, the bonus seconds and yellow as his reward.

Dan Martin is second @ 13 seconds with Rodriguez third.

Contador is tailed off – no podium for Bert we fear.

And plenty for Quintana to think about – is the Tour won already?

It looks that way…

Chris Froome takes the race lead at Bagneres-de-Luchon. Photo©ASO/A.Broadway

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Redundancy and Happy Surprises: TdF Stage 19 (time trial)

Time trials are always difficult days at races. Firstly, the riders line up knowing their final position in the race depends on their forthcoming hour of solo work, and secondly, the logistics for the staff are super complex here at the TdF Stage 19.

The Carnage Continues – TDF 2012 St 4

Andre Greipel, the big man with enough horsepower to be a chance at beating Cav in a straight sprint took the stage win today. We, the fans unfortunately didn’t have tthe chance to see the two great men going head to head as they did on Stage 2 (one of the best sprints I’ve ever seen) as Cav was caught in a crash and hit the road a couple of km from the finish. The Carnage Continues...

Le Tour de France 2007 – Day 7: Stage 17, Pau – Castelsarrasin

Pau, Thursday morning, the sun is out, so that's a good start. How do we feel? A tad flat, it has to be said, but the show must go on. Over to our left, the publicity caravan is rolling-out, headed for Castelsarrasin. It's a day for the "baroudeurs" today - the breakaway specialists. There are five fourth and one third category climbs today, so it's a hard day's work - maybe a French win? That would be nice, this Tour could do with a 'lift'. The Pez guy is out of the office today, checking-out the 2008 Look frames and bikes launch in San Jose - a dirty job, but...

Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 21: Versailles > Paris Champs-Élysées, 118km. Marcel Kittel Wins a Fourth

Marcel Kittel won today, but yesterday, Saturday night, was sore - 4.5 hours on the road after the race then straight into the best of two falls or a submission with the motel wi-fi. However a chance meet with the night porter and we were 'in' on the staff password - words and pics all safely on their way.

The Bounce: TdF 2010 Stage 3 (mini Roubaix)

The Bounce. We came to this Tour with nine guys ready to race. We’re down our leader and facing some injuries, but if yesterday proved anything it’s that we’re still up for it. The day started out with a little stress, considering the injuries some of the guys were going to go over cobbles with.

Le Tour de France 2006 – Day 12: Postscript

Bonjour! Sorry I haven't drawn a line under my sojourn in France sooner, but the last few days have been a tad hectic getting back into the groove. Here are a few pictures taken on my last day...

At Random

Gorik Gardeyn – “I feel I am coming from the dark back into the light”

Belgian professional Gorik Gardeyn’s name has been a familiar one in the European peloton for over a decade – but for season 2012 he’ll be signing on for events on the other side of the globe, as well as the ‘old continent.’ The 31 year-old has just signed for Chinese Pro Continental team Champion System.

Musical Chairs – Tomás Swift-Metcalfe Blog

I haven’t raced since September 1st. I’ve been working hard though, on Swift Momentum Sports (SMS), and restoring an old building and of course, some training. SMS is doing pretty well. I’m glad to have shown people some fantastic cycling and running, as well as to have trained some very good athletes. My professional cycling career, however is pretty much over. I wasn’t renewed for the 2014 season.

Return To Normal Proceedings; Andre Greipel back on top

After the W Clarke bolt from the blue of yesterday, there was no way that Stage 3 of the TDU was going to be anything but a bunch sprint, and all of the key teams worked together to guarantee this today, with Andre Greipel from Lotto again the winner. The big man can sprint! Will he finally threaten Cav this year?

Dan Gardner – The GB Rider Racing at the World Championships for the US Team Astellas

GB riders in the Men’s Elite TTT? Alex Dowsett for Movistar with a nice ride for bronze, Team Sky had Luke Rowe and Ian Stannard – when do those boys get a rest? And that’s our whack, right? Wrong. Check out rider number 243, licence holder GBR 19960306, Dan Gardner, Great Britain, Astellas Cycling Team, USA.

La Vuelta a España 2008 – Day 1: Stage 12, Burgos – Suances

There's gas in the car, the sun is out, we just had Donna Summer on Kiss FM and we're en route Comillas to pester the Astana mechanics about what gears Bert and Levi will be riding tomorrow - what more could you want out of life? I wasn't so chirpy at 04.45 yesterday in the Days Inn at Stansted when the alarm rang.

Steve Douce – Seven Times British Cyclo-Cross Champion

Over the last couple of winters we’ve tracked down and spoken to some of the ‘greats’ of British cyclo-cross, John Atkins, Keith Mernickle, Chris Wreghitt and Barry Davies to name four. But our Spanish mentor, Al Hamilton pointed out to us that we hadn't spoken to the man who won the title seven times in the 80’s and 90’s – Steve Douce.