Wednesday, October 27, 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…

Froome
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.

Froome
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.

Froome
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.

Froome
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.

Froome
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.

Remarkable.

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
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…

Froome
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

Le Tour de France 2009 – Stage 3: Marseille > La Grande-Motte, 196.5km

Mark Cavendish soared to his second straight win in the Tour de France today to La Grande-Motte, winning the sprint from a small bunch and strengthening his overall hold on the green jersey.

Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 1: Porto-Vecchio > Bastia, 212km. Kittel survives the Chaos

It was Kittel today. My son asked me today what the chances of Cav taking the win and the yellow jersey were; "95%" said I, confidently. But it’s that other 5% which makes it a bike race. The bulk of the stage was a ‘paint drying’ job with the early break – which went in remarkably fuss free fashion - of Jerome Cousin (Europcar), Juan José Lobato (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Lars Boom (Belkin), Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Cyril Lemoine (Sojasun) sitting up in the huff because they couldn’t get the gap; then the peloton doing the same to give the escapees some space and incentive to get back on the case.

Le Tour de France 2014 – Stage 18; Pau – Hautacam, 145 km. Nibali Authoritative

Bonjour! Hautacam and the Pyrenees are in the rear view mirror as we head for the start of Stage 19 and the start of the long haul north towards Paris. We were on the Tourmalet, yesterday - a beast of a mountain. But first, Lourdes - go, see it and then leave, quickly. At the bottom of The Tourmalet sits Sainte-Marie-de-Campan where - back in the days when men were men - Eugene Christophe had to fix his own forks but the commissars still nailed him because the blacksmith's apprentice worked the bellows at the forge.

Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 15; Bourg-en-Bresse – Culoz. Pantano Plays it Perfectly

While Jarlinson Pantana was winning the stage today for IAM Cycling and Columbia (that's his contract sorted for 2017 - IAM folds at the end of the season) Ed and Callum were race-bound, flying in to Geneva to get the car and get organised with race accreditation.

Le Tour de France 2012 – High Speed & High Stakes

The Tour Prologue is one of the most High Speed & High Stakes stages in bike racing. 6.4km of maximum effort, with the winner being gifted with the Yellow Jersey at the end of the day. The value placed upon this for teams, sponsors and the riders themselves is truly enormous.

Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 16; Moirans-en-Montagne – Berne. Peter Sagan Again!

Peter Sagan, again! There’s little left to say about the man but as soon as we walked the last couple of kilometres we knew it was one for him – a sharp cobbled climb up from the river, across a cobbled bridge, past the bear pit then another nippy climb before the 1,000 metre, straight as a dye, pan flat finish straight.

At Random

James Davey – Getting great results in Italy, including the bestial Monte Grappa U23 Classic

Italy’s Bassano-Monte Grappa U23 Classic has been around since 1930 and lists Italian Legend, Gino Bartali as a winner in 1934; with Leonardo Piepoli, Giro winners Ivan Gotti, Gilberto Simoni and Damiano Cunego, not to mention Fabio Aru all on the more recent role of honour. It’s a beast of race, flat then rearing up the feared Monte Grappa climb – of Giro fame - to finish at over 1700 metres.

Volta a Portugal 2012 – Stage Five: Armamar-Oliveira de Azemeis

176.9km, 3000m ascent. This Volta a Portugal 2012 stage was a tough one, we had a huge mountain right at the start and several others to follow. The roads were crummy also, which made descending awkward.

Jack Carlin – Adding to his World Championship Medal Collection

Another one for Jack Carlin. Major championship silver medal, that is, this time in the UCI World Team Sprint Championship in Berlin. We caught up with him as he prepared to take a wee break from training and racing before the big build up for the competition which really matters to Team GB: the Olympic Games in Tokyo come late July/early August.

The VV View: Beaten by a Late Goal

Beaten by a late goal. I was at the football last night, I took my son to see Dunfermline v. Queen of the South.

The Drummond Trophy 2009

"I hit 'em hard!" was how Pete Williams (Pinarello/Candi TV/ Marshalls Pasta) explained his race winning move in Sunday's 54th Drummond Trophy, held in bright sunshine on the sinuous back roads west of Eaglesham and the M77. With a new Scottish sponsor's name on their jerseys (Marshalls) and the commanding figure of team boss Phil Griffiths there in the flesh, there was never any doubt that Pinarello were going to win.

Le Tour de France 2015 – Stage 21; Sèvres – Paris Champs-Élysées

When we spoke to Cav's personal soigneur, Aldis half way through the stage we knew it wasn't to be; 'And Mark, today ?' Aldis screwed up his face; 'he's a little sick...' So 4:1 to Greipel - and the rumours about Cav having to learn to understand Brian Smith's accent at MTN get ever stronger. We changed our system and didn't drive race route for the last stage; instead we drove straight to the digs, got organised, had a shower and headed off across a wet Paris to the finish circuit.