Pau – Bagnères-de-Luchon (197km) Click for route map
We have spent a little time in the Pyrénées, driving into the foothills on both the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts of France and Spain, but a long term aim is to cross leisurely from one side to another and include visits to Andorra and Lourdes as well as the larger towns, enjoying the wonderful scenery of the high mountains. Today the cyclists tackled four huge mountain passes: Col d’Aubisque, Col du Tourmalet (from which a track leads to the Pic du Midi de Bigorre observatory at an altitude of 2877m), Col d’Aspin and Col de Peyresourde. Access for most visitors to the summit of the Pic du Midi is by cable car from which there are extensive views across the Pyrénées towards the Atlantic Ocean in the west. See my previous post for the route taken in 2009.
Bradley Wiggins continues to wear the yellow jersey with Chris Froome in second place and Cadel Evans, winner last year and one of the favourites, losing time today and slipping further back in the rankings. Mention must also be made of Thomas Voeckler, racing in his 10th Tour de France this year. His determined ride won him not only first place in today’s race but also the polka dot jersey.
The top five of Stage 16
1. Thomas Voeckler (FRA) EUC 197km in 5h35’01” (35.3km/h)
2. Chris Anker Sorensen (DEN) STB at 1’40”
3. Gorka Izaguirre (ESP) EUS at 3’22”
4. Alexandre Vinokouorv (KAZ) AST at 3’22”
5. Brice Feillu (FRA) SAU at 4’06”
Team placings after Stage 16
1. Team Radioshack
2. Sky Procycling
Jerseys for Stage 17
Yellow – Wiggins (2nd overall Froome)
Green – Sagan
Polka Dot – Voeckler
White – Van Garderen
For more information on the cyclists, their teams and how they were placed see the Tour de France official site.
Read my TDF posts covering this and previous years.