On a rainy day in the Pyrenees, Austrian champion Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) secured his first stage win of the Tour de France with a victory at Stage 16 Sant Gaudens, which included the ominous Col de Portet d’Aspet.
The peloton was well rested after its final rest day of Le Tour after Sepp Kiss won Stage 15 on Sunday. The final week begins with two more mountain stages and a time trial before a finale in Paris on Sunday.
It was less than ideal road conditions for Stage 16, especially on the treacherous descent of Col de Portet d’Aspet, which claimed the life of Fabio Casartelli in 1995.
|2021 Tour de France – Stage 16 Results|
- Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) 4:01:59
- Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) +00:42
- Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange)
Tadej Pogacar retained the yellow jersey once again after other contenders in the GC failed to make a move on the defending champion. They missed one of their final chances to make up ground on Pogacar, who took another step closer to winning his second yellow jersey.
🏅 Solo wins are trending on the Tour this year! 🇦🇹 @PatricKonrad was the winner in Saint-Gaudens after a strong attack!
See his last KM ⬇️
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 13, 2021
Stage 16: Pas de la Case > Sant Gaudens
The 169km ride began in Pas de la Case and ended at Sant Gaudens. Stage 16 included a couple of tough Category 1 climbs at Col de Port and Col de la Core, and the rain began to fall midway through the stage.
Konrad was a part of the three-man breakaway that attacked Col de la Core. By the time they reached Col de Portet d’Aspet with 35 km remaining, Konrad took the lead with David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) in hot pursuit. On the dangerous descent of Col de Portet d’Aspet, a careful, yet quick Konrad padded his lead.
“When I passed the 1km line, I saw the uphill part and thought, ‘Aggggh! This could be painful again.’ But there was time to celebrate. I really believed in it with 500m to go. I’m super, super happy, and I think I can really enjoy this moment now.”
Korad held off the chase pack and finished 42 seconds ahead of Colbrelli and Matthews. Gaudu finished in ninth overall in Stage 16 — 47 seconds behind Konrad.
On Deck Stage 17: Muret > Sant-Lary-Soulan Col du Portet
On Wednesday, the peloton faces a mountain stage and summit finish with Stage 17 at Sant-Lary-Soulan Col du Portet. The 178.4 km route begins in Muret, and the last third of the stage includes a pair of punishing Category 1 climbs and a Category HC ascent to the top of Col du Portet.
Col de Peyresourde has a 7% gradient and Col de Val Louron-Azet is even tougher at 8.3%. But that’s nothing compared to the final climb that’s 16km, with an 8.7% average gradient.
|2021 Le Tour – Overall GC Standings
- Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 66:23:06
- Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-Nippo) +05:18
- Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +05:32
- Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) +05:33
- Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroen Team) +05:58
Once again, there wasn’t any movement in the top five of the GC standings. Pogacar still holds a 5:18 lead over Rigoberto Uran. There’s a battle for second place in Paris with Uran, Jonas Vingegaard, Richard Carapaz, and Ben O’Connor all fighting the second podium spot.
The betting markets haven’t changed after Stage 16. Pogacar is still the overwhelming favorite at -1400 odds to win the Tour de France in back-to-back years. “He’s got this in the bag unless something catastrophic happens to him,” said four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome.
Check out more coverage of the 2021 Tour de France.