After the difficult mountain stage yesterday, today the 16th stage lead from Moirans-en-Montagne over 209k to Bern, Switzerland.
Because of the hilly terrain, once again it was a open question if the sprinters can win this stage or a break can make it to the line.
After the start the two teammates of Etixx-Quick Step Tony Martin and Julian Alaphilippe attacked. From the beginning the speed was very high, so it was difficult to increase the gap. But when the big bunch let the two guys go, the lead developed to over 6 minutes. The riders completed the first hour with an average speed of 49km/h.
100k before the finish line, the sprinter teams increased the speed, so Alaphillipe was caught 25k and Martin 22k before Bern, but the peloton had really to chase them hard to be able to catch them. For a short time, the peloton was all together but then Rui Costa attacked. He was in front until the last 4 kilometres.
Patrick showed today his skills as punchy rider and was able to stay with the first group. He finished in a strong 12th place. Peter Sagan won again the sprint ahead of Alexander Kristoff.
Tomorrow the rest day offers a welcome break to recover from the last difficult days. On Wednesday the 17thstage ends in Finhaut-Emosson after 184,5k.
“In the final I tried as much as possible to be in front. My legs were better then I thought. I made a mistake on the last 500 metres, that did cost me a better place. Before the cobblestone section, my position was not so good, but on the climb I felt good and could move up a little bit. With my performance today I’m very happy. Today it was strange to see 2 guys from Etixx-Quick Step in the front and 6 teams had to work to caught them. I tried to go in the leading group today, but 6 or 7 teams showed that they are keen to work for a bunch sprint. But then the 2 riders showed a good performance on the front, the speed in the peloton was very high all over the day. In the end I was happy when the gap got smaller and the Etixx-Quick Step guys were broken, I knew that there was a chance then for a result.” – Patrick Konrad