Sagan wins Tour de France stage 11 ahead of Froome in breakaway

Peter Sagan won the windy 11th stage of the Tour de France on Wednesday after getting in a late four-man breakaway that also included overall leader Chris Froome.

With 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) remaining in the 162.5-kilometer (101-mile) leg from the medieval city of Carcassonne to Montpellier near the Mediterranean coast, Froome and his Sky teammate Geraint Thomas joined the Tinkoff duo of Peter Sagan and Maciej Bodnar in the lead.

It had been an extremely nervous stage all day and the peloton had split on several occasions but as none of the key riders were dropped, it always came back together. It had been a very hectic stage but with 20km to go, there was total calmness. Tinkoff, Sky and Movistar were lined out on the front as they headed into a rare headwind section. However, things got nervous again when they entered the final 15km where Sky hit the front. Tinkoff took over and then BMC took charge.

Michael Schär (BMC), Fabian Cancellara (Trek) and Michael Valgren (Tinkoff) were lined out on the front as riders started to get dropped. Cancellara then accelerated hard and made the group explode to pieces before Valgren and Bodnar continued to apply the pressure.

Bodnar and Sagan suddenly got a small gap and Froome immediately sensed the opportunity. The race leader bridged across and moments later his teammate Thomas also made the junction while Alexander Kristoff, Jacopo Guarieri (Katusha) and Valgren formed a chase group and Kristoff and Valgren almost made it across but when the Norwegian exploded, they had to sit up.

Cancellara started to chase immediately but as he didn’t get any help, the gap quickly went out to 15 seconds. Finally, Etixx-QuickStep tried to organize a chase but their riders, including Julian Alaphilippe, soon exploded.

Froome and Thomas hesitated a bit but then started to contribute to the pace-setting too. Despite Astana, IAM, Etixx-QuickStep and Trek all working on the front with riders like Julien Vermote, Jarlinson Pantano and Antoine Duchesne, the gap went out to 25 seconds.

Froome tried to surprise Sagan with a long sprint but of course the world champion was in a class of his own, easily passing the pace leader who had to settle for second. Six seconds later Kristoff beat Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) in the sprint for fourth. A group with Rodriguez, Pierre Rolland (Lampre-Merida) and Pierre Rolland (Cannondale) lost more than aminute.

With six bonus seconds, Froome gained a total of 12 seconds on his key rivals and so extended his lead over Adam Yates to 28 seconds. He faces the next big challenge in tomorrow’s stage which finishes at the top of the famous Mont Ventoux. The first part is completely flat and then the riders will tackle a category 4 and a category 3 climb as a warm-up. However, the real challenge is the final ascent which is known as one of the hardest mountains in France with its average gradient of 8.8% over the 15.7km distance.

Tour de France 2016 – stage 11 results (Carcassonne – Montpellier):

1 Peter Sagan (Tinkoff)


2 Christopher Froome (Sky)


3 Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff)


4 Alexander Kristoff (Katusha)


5 Christophe Laporte (Cofidis)


6 Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo)


7 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data)


8 André Greipel (Lotto Soudal)


9 Sondre Holst Enger (IAM)


10 Oliver Naesen (IAM)



General classification after stage 11:

1 Christopher Froome (Sky)


2 Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange)


3 Daniel Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step)


4 Nairo Quintana (Movistar)


5 Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo)


6 Romain Bardet (AG2R)


7 Sergio Henao (Sky)


8 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)


9 Tejay Van Garderen (BMC)


10 Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff)