Portugal’s Rui Costa (pictured) won stage 16 of the Tour de France on Tuesday while Briton Chris Froome managed to hold on to the yellow jersey as he criticised rival Alberto Contador for “taking too many risks” on the road.
Alberto Contador showed he was prepared to risk everything to win the Tour de France on Tuesday, crashing on the final descent as he tried to attack overall leader Chris Froome.
Team Sky rider Froome, who was on Contador’s wheel, had to move round the Spaniard and briefly went off the road himself before both riders rejoined a group of favourites who crossed the line 11 minutes eight seconds behind stage-16 winner Rui Costa of Portugal.
“He came through very quickly and struggled to keep control of his bike and crashed just in front of me,” Froome told a news conference. “I went off to the left slightly off the road so I had to unclip.
“He was taking too many risks down there. I personally think teams are getting desperate now, therefore taking uncalculated risks.”
- Tour de France stage 21: Versailles and its secret garden.
- Tour de France stage 20: Gone fishing in Lac d’Annecy
- Tour de France stage 19: Reblochon cheese in Grand-Bornand
- Tour de France stage 18: the Alpe d’Huez and its 21 hairpin bends
- Tour de France stage 17: Chorges, a town that takes the sting out of beekeeping
- Tour de France stage 16: the medieval town of Vaison-la-Romaine
- Tour de France stage 15: vineyards below the Mont Ventoux
- Tour de France stage 14: Lyon, France's food capital
- Tour de France stage 13: Chateau de Chenonceau, the women’s castle seen from top to bottom
- Tour de France stage 12: Tours, the cavemen of the Loire Valley
- Tour de France stage 11: Le Mont Saint-Michel, the hidden side of the western wonder
- Tour de France stage 10: Saint Malo, a town of privateers not pirates!
- Tour de France rest day: a bird's eye view of the Guérande salt marshes
- Tour de France stage 9: dancing in the hills of Bethmale
- Tour de France stage 6: A bird’s eye view of Cézanne’s mountain
- Tour de France stage 5: Marseille, capital of French boules
- Tour de France stage 1: Bonifacio, a town on a cliff edge
- Tour de France stage 4: Nice is nice, even in the rain
- Tour de France stage 3: Picturesque Piana
- Tour de France stage 2: Tasting Bocognano's famous charcuterie
Froome still leads Dutch rider Bauke Mollema by 4:14 and Contador by 4:25 going into Wednesday’s 32-km individual time trial between Embrun and Chorges.
Contador, whose right knee was bruised, was unapologetic and promised there would be more attacks to come.
“It is not a motivation to scare the others but sometimes you have to do it. I will continue,” the 2007 and 2009 Tour champion told reporters.
The incident was reminiscent of the 2003 Tour, when Spain’s Joseba Beloki, who was trailing Lance Armstrong in the overall standings, attacked on the same descent and crashed out of the race.
Armstrong avoided Beloki and in the process went down the hill across a small field to stay safe.
Briton Froome is expected to extend his overall lead in the 17th stage before two gruelling stages in the Alps. The first of them features the very tricky descent from the Col de Sarenne sandwiched in between two climbs of l’Alpe d’Huez.
Having shown his rivals that he is almost impossible to drop in the climbs, Froome can expect to come under fire again on the downhills.
“I have seen this descent in training and also in the Criterium du Dauphine and it is a very dangerous descent,” Froome said.
“The road surface is not great, I wouldn’t say it’s level. It’s not smooth that’s for sure and there aren’t any barriers in the corners and if you miss a corner you will fall down a long way.
Contador, who said on Monday he did not care to finish second or 10th, also attacked twice on the climb to the Col de Manse on Tuesday but he was twice reined in so he took his chances on the descent to Gap.
“I hope that the crash doesn’t affect me,” the Saxo-Tinkoff rider said.
“The most important thing is to be relaxed now because tomorrow is an important day. My legs are getting better. I am confident I can put on a great show.”
“The war goes on, we knew it,” Sky sports director Nicolas Portal told reporters. “We knew it was a technical descent. Contador took risks and crashed. Until the end, they will seize every opportunity. Alberto likes aggressive races.”
Movistar rider Costa won the stage after pulling away from the day’s breakaway group to tackle the second-category climb to the Col de Manse alone.
He never looked back, staying ahead on the descent to win by 42 seconds.
Christophe Riblon and Arnold Jeannesson were second and third respectively as France continued to wait for its first stage winner in this year’s Tour.
Date created : 2013-07-17