Tour de France 2016: Peter Sagan outsprints Chris Froome to win dramatic stage 11

Green jersey and yellow jersey escape late on wind-ravaged stage to extend respective leads

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) won stage 11 of the 2016 Tour de France, outsprinting yellow jersey Chris Froome (Team Sky) as the two – alongside a team-mate apiece – escaped late on a stage ravaged by crosswinds.

Sagan, whose victory takes him 90 points clear in the points classification, Froome, who gained six bonus seconds and a small time gap to his main rivals, Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff) and Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) escaped inside the final ten kilometres as big echelons formed.

With rumours circulating about the winds possibly shortening stage 12, the quartet worked hard to stay clear as Sagan claimed the stage honours and Froome increased his overall advantage.

Peter Sagan beat Chris Froome to win stage 11 of the 2016 Tour de France (pic: Sirotti)

With the winds whipping up, a nervous peloton took to the startline in Carcassonne and the pace was high from the off with teams keen not to be caught out.

French champion Arthur Vichot (FDJ) and Leigh Howard (IAM Cycling) got in the break, but it was a frantic start for the peloton with Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) suffering an early crash into a ditch.

Jurgen van den Broeck (Katusha), Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) and Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) also hit the deck in the opening proceedings, while a big fire caught the attention of observers but did not affect the race.

Vichot and Howard’s lead was quickly cut into by the peloton, despite the early spills, and the speed at the front caused casualties at the back as crosswinds split the bunch up.

Steve Cummings and Dimension Data team-mate Daniel Teklehaimanot were among those caught out initially, while an ill-timed trip to the Lotto-Soudal team car accounted for Tony Gallopin.

Another crash caused more splits in the bunch as the speed was ramped up by Team Sky’s Ian Stannard and Luke Rowe, meanwhile – Winner Anacona (Movistar) sliding out on a corner, with Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) part of the collateral damage.

Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Michael Matthews (Orica-BikeExchange) were chasing on from behind, while up front the two breakaway riders were swept up by the peloton before the intermediate sprint.

Marcel Kittel’s Etixx-QuickStep took the opportunity for some lead-out training at that point, delivering the German to 20 points ahead of green jersey Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data).

Most of the riders off the back – Cummings and Matthews included – rejoined the rear of the peloton, but attacks were few off the front until Sagan and Froome blew the race back open again.

Sagan, in the green jersey, accelerated off the front with Mciej Bodnar for company while Chris Froome, in the yellow jersey, and team-mate Geraint Thomas followed the move.

Froome and Sagan both took a big turn on the front, but the gap kept going up as the strung out bunch – led surprisingly by the sprinters’ teams, and not Nairo Quintana’s Movistar – chased desperately behind.

Regardless of how the chase went, Mark Cavendish’s hopes of a stage win were ended, however – a puncture forcing him off the back just as the tempo ramped up.

Chris Froome finished second, and now leads Adam Yates by 28 seconds overall (pic: Sirotti)

The gap was still at 20 seconds under the 3km to go banner as all four riders in the front group took their turn in the wind, rather than just the two domestiques.

More echelons formed off the back of the main bunch too – Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) losing time rapidly.

Froome, Sagan, Bodnar and Thomas continued to pull a team pursuit-like effort, all taking turns as the crosswinds continued to hit – the gap coming down, but not enough to deny the quartet the stage win.

Thomas dropped back in the final 500m, leaving Bodnar to lead out the sprint – with Sagan and Froome contesting it.

Realistically, there was only going to be one winner in that situation, and so it proved as Sagan punched the air, but bonus seconds and a small gap was a more than adequate consolation for second-placed Froome.

Tour de France 2016: stage 11 – result

1) Peter Sagan (SVK) – Tinkoff –
2) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – ST
3) Maciej Bodnar (POL) – Tinkoff
4) Alexander Kristoff (NOR) – Katusha +6”
5) Christophe Laporte (FRA) – Cofidis – ST
6) Jasper Stuyven (BEL) – Trek-Segafredo
7) Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) – Dimension Data
8) Andre Greipel (GER) – Lotto-Soudal
9) Sondre Holst Enger (NOR) – IAM Cycling
10) Oliver Naesen (BEL) – IAM Cycling

General classification

1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 52.34.37hrs
2) Adam Yates (GBR) – Orica-BikeExchange +28”
3) Daniel Martin (IRL) – Etixx-QuickStep +31”
4) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar +35”
5) Bauke Mollema (NED) – Trek-Segafredo +56”
6) Romain Bardet (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale – ST
7) Sergio Henao (COL) – Team Sky
8) Alejandro Valverde (ESP) – Movistar +1.13
9) Tejay van Garderen (USA) – BMC Racing – ST
10) Roman Kreuziger (CZE) – Tinkoff +1.28

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