Tour de France 2016: Tom Dumoulin solos to stage nine victory as Chris Froome defends yellow jersey
Alberto Contador abandons race on brutal day in the Pyrenees
Chris Froome (Team Sky) safely defended the yellow jersey on a brutal stage of the Tour de France in the Pyrenees, won from the break by Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) on a day which saw Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) quit the race.
Dumoulin finished 38 seconds ahead of fellow escapees Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) on the first mountain finish of the 2016 race.
Froome crossed the line more than six minutes behind Dumoulin but alongside his main rivals for the title, including compatriot Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange), who remains second overall with the white jersey of best young rider on his back.
Stage nine was always setup to be one of the toughest of this year’s Tour, with five categorised climbs in the Pyrenees – and finishing with the 2,240m hors categorie ascent of the Andorre Arcalis.
And tortuous weather conditions made the day even harder, with the sun-baked peloton forced to endure temperatures in excess of 35 degrees, before being blasted by heavy rain and hail.
A large breakaway slipped away early in the day and, with no threats to the general classification in the group, had built up a lead of more than ten minutes as the stage reached its finale.
Dumoulin had hoped to figure in the GC of this year’s Tour, having held the leader’s jersey of last year’s Vuelta a Espana until the penultimate stage, but had lost significant time over the opening week.
That allowed the Dutchman to slip into the breakaway, however, and attacked Costa and Majka with 12km remaining, before extending his advantage on the 10.1km final ascent to claim victory and complete a set of Grand Tour stage wins.
Further back, the primary GC favourites exchanged blows in the final five kilometres of the climb, but no-one was able to make a move stick, and Yates, Froome, Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Richie Porte (BMC Racing), Dan Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) and Jesús Herrada (Movistar) crossed the line together.
Martin moved up to second overall after Joaquim Rodriguez lost time, finishing a further 19 seconds back in a group which also included Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo).
The real loser of the day was Contador, who climbed into the Tinkoff team car with just over 100km of the stage remaining, citing a fever.
Tour de France 2016: stage nine – result
1) Tom Dumoulin (NED) – Giant-Alpecin – 5.16.24hrs
2) Rui Costa (POR) – Lampre-Merida +38”
3) Rafal Majka (POL) – Tinkoff – ST
4) Daniel Navarro (SPA) – Cofidis +1’39”
5) Winner Anacona (COL) – Movistar +1’57”
6) Thibaut Pinot (FRA) – FDJ +2’30”
7) George Bennett (NZL) – LottoNL-Jumbo +2’48”
8) Diego Rosa (ITA) – Astana +2’52”
9) Mathias Frank (SWI) – IAM Cycling +3’45”
10) Adam Yates (GBR) – Orica-BikeExchange +6’35”
1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 44.36.03hrs
2) Adam Yates (GBR) – Orica-BikeExchange +16”
3) Dan Martin (IRL) – Etixx-QuickStep +19”
4) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar +23”
5) Joaquim Rodriguez (SPA) – Katusha 37″
6) Romain Bardet (FRA) – FDJ +44″
7) Bauke Mollema (NED) – Trek-Segafredo – ST
8) Sergio Henao (COL) – Team Sky – ST
9) Louis Meintjes (RSA) – Lampre-Merida +55″
10) Alejandro Valverde (SPA) – Movistar +1’01”
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