Bagneres-de-Luchon, France (4E Sports) – After a 10-year campaign, Australia’s Michael Rogers finally tasted victory at the Tour de France, taking Stage 16 with a nine-second edge over Frenchman Thomas Voeckler Tuesday.
Rogers finished the 237.5-kilometer route from Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon — the longest stage of this year’s tour — – in six hours, seven minutes and 10 seconds for his first Tour de France win.
No one was going to beat me today,” said Rogers, who won a pair of stages during this year’s Giro d’Italia.
Rogers made his move on Cyril Gautier and Voeckler with about 4 1/2 kilometers remaining, cruising to the wire with neither of the Europcar teammates close. Gautier finished fifth with the same time as Voeckler, Vasili Kiryienka and Jose Serpa.
“I knew Voeckler would be hard to beat,” said Rogers.
Overall leader Vincenzo Nibali fortified his advantage with a 20th-place finish, two spots behind closest rival, Alejandro Valverde of Spain.
Valverde remains four minutes and 37 seconds behind Nibali with just five stages remaining in this year’s Tour. Frenchman Thibaut Pinot moved up one spot into third place overall and is 5:06 off the lead pace.
“Once we reached the ascent to Port de Bales, I paid attention because Valverde was the most dangerous in my mind,” said Nibali. “When Pinot attacked, I went to catch him straight away. I didn’t let the gap grow.”
With a distance of about 124.5 kilometers from Saint-Gaudens to Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet, Wednesday’s Stage 17 is the shortest of the Tour, aside from Saturday’s time trial.
However, it features a trio of Category 1 climbs prior to a finish of the highest category.