Tour de France: Bradley Wiggins survives repeated attacks in the Pyrenees to retain yellow jersey


Tour de France leader Bradley Wiggins retained the yellow jersey for a 10th day after surviving repeated attacks on stage 16 in the Pyrenees.

The 197-kilometre route from Pau to Bagneres-de-Luchon was won by Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), but Wiggins moved a step closer to overall victory by repelling attempted assaults from Vincenzo Nibali.

Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) began the day two minutes 23 seconds behind and accelerated away from Wiggins on the day's fourth and final climb, the Col de Peyresourde, the top of which came 15.5km from the end of the stage.

But Wiggins, with support from Team Sky colleague Chris Froome, kept the Italian within sight and reeled him in, and the trio finished 7mins 9secs behind Voeckler.

Wiggins retained a 2:05 lead over Froome, with Nibali 18 seconds further adrift.

The Italian appears to be the only realistic challenger to a Team Sky and British victory.

Defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) began the day 3:19 behind, but struggled going uphill and was cast adrift as Wiggins moved within four days of top spot on the Paris podium, with tomorrow's 143.5km 17th stage from Bagneres-de-Luchon to the summit at Peyragudes the biggest obstacle to a first British Tour triumph.

An early escape featured 38 riders - the best placed overall being Spain's Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), who began the day more than 18 minutes behind Wiggins.

Voeckler led over the summit of the Col d'Aubisque before Irishman Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) initiated the move which saw the breakaway group disintegrate on the lower ramps of the 19km ascent of the Col du Tourmalet, the day's second hors categorie (beyond category) climb.

French duo Brice Feillu (Saur-Sojasun) and Voeckler then attacked alone with the summit in sight, as six Team Sky riders led the peloton, almost 10 minutes behind.

Voeckler and Feillu continued to forge on together up the Col d'Aspin, the day's penultimate categorised climb, a 12.4km category one ascent.

Seven others - Martin, Hincapie, Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan-Trek), Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) and Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff) and Vasili Kiryienka (Movistar) - were in pursuit as the remnants of the day's early escape were being caught by the peloton.

Ivan Basso moved to the front to increase the pace in support of his team-mate Nibali.

Immediately Evans began to struggle and he was 45 seconds behind the Wiggins and Nibali group going over the summit.

Team Sky had three riders alongside Wiggins, including Froome. Richie Porte and Michael Rogers were also present.

Three BMC Racing team-mates dragged Evans back to the yellow jersey group on the descent and towards the lower slopes of the Col du Peyresourde, while up ahead Voeckler moved to go ahead on his own with 22km to go.

The 9.5km ascent at an average of 6.7%, featured the route's steepest slopes and was ideal for an attack.

Evans again fell back from the yellow jersey group as Liquigas-Cannondale, Lotto-Belisol and Team Sky, with Froome and Porte in support of Wiggins, vied for position at the front of the group.

Nibali accelerated out of the group inside 20km to go, but Froome paced Wiggins behind as they kept the Italian in sight, with the remaining challengers unable to keep pace.

Froome and Wiggins bridged the gap as the trio pushed on towards the summit.

Nibali again went to the front of the group with 500m to go to the top of the climb, with Wiggins following his wheel and Froome one place further back.

The Italian is known for his demon descending but did not attack on the downhill and finished alongside the Team Sky duo on a stage which saw Voeckler solo to victory.

Sorensen was second, 1:40 behind and Gorka Izaguirre (Euskaltel-Euskadi) third, 3:22 adrift.

Wiggins appeared comfortable in the finale, but it was a miserable day for Evans.


Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
Life and Style
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own