By Neal Rogers
Stage 16, Cuneo, Italy, to Jausiers (157km)
Weather: Sunny and warm, clear skies, variable winds blowing up the valleys, creating headwind on both hors catégorie climbs
Stage winner: Cyril Dessel (AG2R-La Mondiale) won a downhill sprint out of a four-man breakaway that included Yaroslav Popovych (Silence-Lotto), Sandy Casar (Francaise Des Jeux) and David Arroyo (Caisse d’Epargne).
Yellow jersey: Frank Schleck (CSC-Saxo Bank) successfully defended his maillot jaune, and sits seven seconds ahead of Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner), with Cadel Evans in third at eight seconds back. The day’s biggest GC losers were Denis Menchov (Rabobank), who lost 35 seconds on the descent of the Col de la Bonnette, and Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Chipotle), who started the day fifth at 39 seconds back but lost 2:36 to Schleck after he was dropped on the Bonnette and crashed on the descent.
Green jersey: The day’s breakaway ate up the stage’s two intermediate sprints and no green jersey candidates earned points other than Alejandro Valverde, who sits sixth, with 110 points. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) will spend another day in the jersey, with 219 points to Thor Hushovd’s 172, with Erik Zabel (Milram) third at 167.
King of the Mountains: Barloworld’s John-Lee Augustyn took 47 points on the stage, while Dessel took 44, but Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner) still leads the KOM competition with 85 points, ahead of teammate Sebastian Lang, who has 60. Augustyn sits fourth, with 53, behind Thomas Voeckler (Bouyges Telecom), who has 55.
Most aggressive rider:Gerolsteiner’s Stefan Schumacher soloed from the early slopes of the Col de la Lombarde, and stayed clear until he was caught near the top of the Bonnette, earning him the award for most aggressive ride of the day.
Best Young Rider: Andy Schleck (CSC-Saxo Bank) was the top young rider on the day and moved into the lead, six seconds ahead of Liquigas rider Vicenzo Nibali and 50 seconds ahead of Roman Kreuziger, also of Liquigas.
Best team: Team CSC-Saxo Bank retained its team’s classification with Ag2r-La Mondiale second at 4:02. Rabobank is now third, 43:28 back.
Top American: Though he lost 2:36 to the race leader, Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Chipotle) continues to be top American, sitting sixth, at 3:15.
Lanterne Rouge: With Sebastian Chavanel (Francaise Des Jeux) abandoning today, Wim Vansevenant (Silence-Lotto) returned to his position as the rider furthest from the race lead. The Belgian now sits 3:08:10 behind Schleck.
The peloton: Chavanel abandoned, Francesco Chicchi (Liquigas) did not finish within the time cut, 151 riders remain
Medical report: Brandt (Silence-Lotto), breathing problems; Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), digestive problems; Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole), digestive problems; Lefevre (Bouyges Telecom), digestive problems; Coyot (Caisse d’Epargne), crash at 92km, multiple bruises; Garcia Acosta (Caisse d’Epargne), crash on the descent of Lombarde, open wound on right thigh; Monfort (Cofidis), crash on the descent of Bonnette, cuts to left shoulder and elbow; Augustyn, crash on the descent of Bonnette, road rash; Chavanel (Francaise Des Jeux), pain from crash on stage 15.
Jury report: Posthuma (Rabobank), Terpstra (Milram), Dean (Garmin-Chipotle), Quinziato (Liquigas) and Auge (Cofidis) fined 30 euros, 5 points and a 10-second penalty for holding on to a team car; Hesjedal (Garmin-Chipotle) and Lefevre (Bouyges-Telecom) fined 30 euros irregular feeds; directors White (Garmin-Chipotle) and Rodriguez (Bouyges-Telecom) fined 60 euros for irregular feeds; Monfort (Cofidis) fined 60 euros for irregular feeds; director Vanlondersele (Cofidis) fined 120 euros for irregular feeds; Efimkin and Goubert (Ag2r- La Mondiale) fined 30 euros plus 20 seconds in the general classification for sheltering too long behind a team car; director Lavenu (Ag2r- La Mondiale) fined 120 euros for sheltering riders too long behind a team car; Pineau (Bouyges-Telecom) fined 60 euros for inappropriate urination; Chicchi (Liquigas) finished 1:14 outside of time cut.
Forecast: sunny, warm in the valleys, mid-70s, cool atop l’Aple d’Huez, in the 50s, light, variable winds.