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.

PA

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Manager

£32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an an exciting opportunity to jo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Reports Developer / Application Support Engineer

£23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

Ashdown Group: BI/ SSRS Developer

£40000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An experienced BI/ ...

Recruitment Genius: Ecommerce Sales Executive

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A highly successful e-commerce ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas