Tour de France 2021 stage 16 LIVE: EL Pas de la Casa to Saint-Gaudens

Follow live updates as the Tour returns to the Pyrenees

Hello and welcome to Cycling Weekly updates from stage 16 of the Tour de France 2021, as the peloton returns to the Pyrenees. 

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Check below for live updates: 


Good morning cycling fans!

Alex Ballinger here, Cycling Weekly's online news editor, handling live blog duties as we wait for the start of stage 16 of the Tour.

Yesterday was the second and final rest day of the Tour, so riders will be feeling refreshed (or not) as they race heads back to the Pyrenees. 

Let's take a look at the profile... 

Here is the profile for today's stage, which starts in Andorra before the race crosses back into France.

It looks like another tough stage, but there may not be an opportunity for much time on GC today, as the climbs are well spaced out and far from the toughest of this year's race.

Instead it looks like a breakaway opportunity, but don't be surprised if some GC contenders do try something on either the Portet d'Aspet or may even a last minute attack on the final climb of the day. 

Profile from stage 16 of the Tour de France

(Image credit: ASO)

CW writer Chris Marshall-Bell caught up with Ben O'Connor during the Tour's second rest day.

The Aussie is one of the most exciting and unexpected riders to emerge from this Tour, winning the brutal stage to Tignes and propelling himself into the top-10 overall on his Tour de France debut. 

Get to know the humble 25-year-old: Read more here 

Ben O'Connor

(Image credit: Getty)

For a quick recap of Sunday's stage in the Pyrenees, Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) stormed to his first Tour stage victory from the breakaway.

It was a huge performance from the American - you can read more about his Strava data from the victory here. 

Sepp Kuss wins stage 15 of the Tour de France

(Image credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Today's stage is scheduled to start at 1.05pm French time, so 12.05pm British time. 

Stage finish is expected at around 5.21pm French time, so 4.21pm British time. 

Our reporter on the ground Chris Marshall-Bell has given us an update from the stage start in Andorra: "It's 4 degrees at the start and freezing. Riders not stopping because it's so cold. 

"First 20km neutralised because of the rain and cold. And then the race will stop to let everyone take off their jackets." 

Trek-Segafredo and Kenny Elissonde are on the hunt for the stage today: 

See more

The peloton is on the road!

Riders are layered up as it's freezing up in the mountains of Andorra, with low cloud cover.

We have an extended neutralised start to today's stage due to the weather. Riders have also agreed to stop at the official start to remove their coats before they get racing. 

13.2km left to the flag drop. 

Riders have stopped now at kilometre zero to drop their coats off with the team cars.

The weather is not looking great for the day, we're expecting heavy rain all day, so it's going to be a tough one. 

Riders are back on the bike and the attacks are on.

Kasper Agreen (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) is trying to get a gap on the early descent. He has about 20 metres over the peloton for now.  

No one is trying to bridge across just yet. 

Asgreen is pressing on with his solo attack.

The Dane is actually building up a decent gap and has around 35 seconds on the rest of the bunch.

Strangely there isn't much motivation behind yet, no one seems to want to bridge across currently. 

It could be along day if Asgreen remains alone.

154km remaining. 

Asgreen out to 1-01 now. We have a few riders trying to chase, but the peloton is still on a long and winding descent so they're not making any ground on the solo attacker. 

It's slightly chaotic out on the roads.

No teams are willing to take control in the peloton so attacks keep firing.

Asgreen is still out in front with a 1-19 advantage. There's two chasers behind now, Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) and Casper Pedersen (Team DSM), who are about 45 seconds in front of the bunch.

No real rhythm to the stage so far, things are likely to change a lot.

Asgreen has just started the 11.4km Col de Port with an advantage of 1-35. There's still numerous attacks from behind, including from Geraint Thomas

Over three kilometres into the categorised climb and no one has been able to get away, with Asgreen still 1-35 up the road. 

Michal Kwiatkowski is pushing on at the front of the bunch and the gap is down to 57 seconds. Mattia Cattaneo is looking to get in the break yet again after a strong Tour so far

Kwiatkowski and Cattaneo have got a decent gap and could bridge this gap to Asgreen

Meanwhile the sprinters are starting to suffer, with Mark Cavendish among those getting detached at the back of the bunch

Yellow jersey Tadej Pogacar is up towards the front and is following Miguel Angel Lopez who is trying to get away

It's quite a mess down this climb with riders all over the place. Asgreen is 4.5km from the top with Kwiatkowski and Cattaneo 15 seconds behind him now. The yellow jersey group is back at 51 seconds

Kwiatkowski and Cattaneo have made it up to Asgreen with 117.5km to go. So that's two Deceuninck-Quick-Step riders out front on the first of four categorised climbs

The yellow jersey group is at 39 seconds and have just about pulled back a group of riders that was chasing between

The leading trio are working well together here and are 1.8km from the summit with a gap of 48 seconds

There's a group of nine riders now off the front of the peloton, but we've still got attackers who want to be in the breakaway and are trying to jump across 

Cattaneo, Asgreen and Kwiatkowski cross the summit and they are just 36 seconds ahead of a group of 10 and a 40 seconds ahead of the peloton

It's still a wet and windy day in the Pyrenees and the descent will be particularly technical in these conditions

Temperature is around 9 degrees at the top of the climb which is why we're seeing riders still wrapped up as they head towards the descent. Kasper Asgreen is still just wearing his jersey as he leads the break down the descent

It's definitely a treacherous descent as we see Asgreen almost lose it on a bend but managed to save himself. There's no attacking from the peloton but there are gaps appearing as some riders take things more cautiously than others

The leading trio have almost been brought back the peloton on this descent

104.4km to go and the race is back together again

Here's that Asgreen moment on the descent

See more

I can certainly say I would be bricking it down here. The roads look wet, some of the corners quite tight... not good for nervous descending 

We're in the valley now and the pace is being pushed on again with the opportunity to attack on the flatter roads

The riders are around 20km from the next climb, the category one Col de la Core

Julian Alaphilippe is attacking but yet again the amount of riders following means the peloton is strung out and there are no big gaps appearing

Chris Juul Jensen (BikeExchange) has been the most active on the front of the bunch for the last 20km or so - he'll be disappointed if the break goes and he's not in it

Juul-Jensen will also be aiming to get Michael Matthews up towards the front with the intermediate sprint coming in just 12km

The green jersey Mark Cavendish is not too far off the bunch - at 3-15 at the moment and they're chasing hard to make inroads on the bunch while they're on the flat roads

Sonny Colbrelli and Michael Matthews have attacked to bring a small group clear, these two are eyeing the upcoming intermediate sprint 

It's been a pretty hectic day of racing so far with no attacks really sticking.

We still have three riders out front, Juul-Jense, Fabien Doubey and Jan Bakelants. 

They've just hit the intermediate sprint with Bakelants taking maximum points, followed by Doubey with Juul-Jensen third in the group. 

Michael Matthews is next to cross the intermediate sprint, earning 13 points with Sonny Colbrelli close on his wheel to take 11 points. 

Mark Cavendish is nowhere to be seen so he won't score on this occasion, but his real challenge now is staying in the race until Sunday. 

He has a significant lead in the green jersey competition, so Matthews and Colbrelli are effectively fighting for points just in case Cavendish leaves the race in the final week for any reason. 

The race now heads to the top of the Col de la Core, the second classified climb of the day.

 We still have the trio of Juul-Jensen, Doubey and Bakelants out from.

Behind there's an 11-rider group, which features David Gaudu, Colbrelli, and Michael Matthews, 38 seconds further down the road.

The yellow jersey group is 3-55 behind the leaders with 77km left to race. 

UAE Team Emirate have finally taken control of the yellow jersey group, with the full time lined out on the front. 

That instils a bit more calm on the race and should enforce a bit of order in what has been a haphazard stage so far. 

The GC riders are happy so far to let the stay play out in a fairly relaxed way, with the breakaway potentially being allowed to ride away with the stage victory. 

Austrian champion Patrick Korad has decided to attack from the second group on the road on the Col de la Core.

The Bora-Hansgrohe has bridged across to the leading group and now sits on the tail of the leading breakaway, which is now four riders. 

71km left to race. 

Here's a quick update of the situation out on the road: 

70km to race

Group one - Christopher Juul-Jensen (Team BikeExchange), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe, Fabien Doubey (TotalEnergies), and Jan Bakelants (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériuax).

Group two - at 26 seconds - Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), Pierre-Luc Périchon (Cofidis), Benoît Cosnefroy (Ag2r-Citroën), Sonny Colbrelli, Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Michael Matthews (BikeExchange) Alex Aranburu (Astana-Premier Tech), Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché), Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels p/b KTM). 

General classification group - at 7-07 - includes races leader Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates). 

Bike change for Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) on the climb. 

Van Aert is on domestique duties for Jonas Vingegaard today.

He's back in the bunch and is working his way back up the group to his leader. 

Want to know Chris Froome's thoughts on the GC battle?

The four-time winner believes Pogačar has the race wrapped long as he stays on the bike.

Read the full story: Chris Froome backs Tadej Pogačar to wrap up Tour de France: 'He's got it in the bag' 

Chris Froome

(Image credit: Getty)

43km out from the finish and we have four groups out on the road.

Just three riders are out front now, Konrad, Doubey and Bakelants after Juul-Jensen dropped out of the lead group.

The second group is a 10-rider unit 25 seconds behind, till including the likes of Gaudu, Colbrelli and Michael Matthews. Juul-Jensen is also in that group now to help his team-mate Matthews.  

Third on the road is Benoît Cosnefroy (Ag2r) who has dropped out of the chasing group and is on his own, two minutes behind the leaders.

Then we have the yellow jersey group, which is eight minutes down the road on the breakaway and seems to be happy to let the breakaway fight for the stage. 

It's all pretty calm in the GC group for now. The Col de Portet-d'Aspet starts soon, so the attacks may follow. 

Patrick Konrad has held off the chasers out front and is 2km from the top of the Col de Portet-d'Aspet with 55 seconds' advantage

Here's a reminder of the profile. We have a technical descent of the Apet and then a short 800m climb before the finish

Stage 16 of the Tour de France 2021

(Image credit: ASO)

There's been an acceleration from the chase group with 33.9km to go and it's dropped a number of riders including Fred Wright. Konrad is still out at 50 seconds while the yellow jersey group is way down the road at over 10 minutes

David Gaudu and Sonny Colbrelli are the only two left chasing now with everyone else dropped. They're about a kilometre from the top of the climb but this is an impressive ride from the Italian champion holding on to Gaudu

Patrick Konrad leads over the top of the second category climb and begins the descent, with the two chasers at 25 seconds

Colbrelli has held on to Gaudu to the top of this climb and they've got a great chance of catching Konrad on the descent. If Colbrelli gets past this last 800m kick he will surely take the stage

Another bike problem for Wout van Aert in the back of the peloton - he looks like he'll make it back on the climb though

Gaudu is on a good descent here and Colbrelli will hope to stick to the Frenchman's wheel all the way down. Konrad still has 30 seconds here though on this treacherous descent

Konrad looks like he's grown into this descent but Colbrelli is struggling to hold on to Gaudu

The Italian champion doesn't look super comfortable and takes a corner too wide. He really needs to stay in touch with Gaudu as this is potentially his best chance at a stage win for the rest of the week

Peloton is at 12 minutes now and there's no impetus whatsoever. We won't be seeing any GC action today

The chasing duo of Gaudu and Colbrelli are making to gains on Konrad at the moment, the Austrian champion holding steady at around 38 seconds

There's a group of five chasers, including Michael Matthews, not far behind Colbrelli and Gaudu, at around 15 seconds

Wout van Aert leads the peloton down the descent

With 20km to go Konrad is looking very strong. He's now got 43 seconds on the chasing group and just this short, sharp 800m climb to come with around 8km to go

Into the final 16km and the gap is at 50 seconds to the chasers. It does look like this stage will be Konrad's

Colbrelli and Gaudu aren't working well anymore, the Frenchman has sat up and is waiting for the group of five to catch them behind

So we now have a group of seven chasing with 15km to go. If they work well together they could catch Konrad in this distance, but that's a big if with no one willing to sacrifice too much energy before the finish

Average speed so far today is 41.6km/h - a fast day considering the amount of climbing we've had

Inside 13km to go the gap is over a minute. The chasers are simply not working well enough together to close the gap to Konrad. All he has to do is focus on keeping his effort going, whereas these guys are already playing politics with some riders not coming through to take a turn

That group of seven by the way is Gaudu and Colbrelli, joined by Bonnamour, Périchon, Rota, Aranburu, Matthews, Skujins, and Bakelants

A reminder that the peloton are on a truce today. They're riding like a cafe club run at the moment, presumably waiting for the two back to back summit finishes on stages 17 and 18

Konrad is approaching this category 4 climb, but he should pass it comfortably with a lead as he now has 1-08 on this 9-man group with 8.2km to go

The gap is growing up this climb, which Konrad is tackling in the big ring despite its 8.4% average gradient

Gaudu tries to attack the chase group on the climb but everyone is able to follow

Konrad crosses the summit with 6.9km to go

The gap has come down over the climb to around 50 seconds, but the chasers are attacking each other rather than riding with each other, giving Konrad the advantage

With 4km to go the advantage is still 54 seconds

Konrad has this if he can stay upright 

There's some tight corners in the run in here and Konrad is taking them cautiously, which he has time to do. 

Konrad enters the final kilometre

Patrick Konrad wins stage 16 of the 2021 Tour de France!

Another long range solo attack wins here at the Tour, it's been a remarkable one so far for lone breakaway winners

Colbrelli and Matthews sprint and catch Perichon before the line to take second and third respectively, and some valuable green jersey points

A fine win there by Konrad, that's his first outside his national championships and one he'll remember forever

While we wait for the peloton, here's the top-10 on the stage

1. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 4-01-59
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious, at 42 seconds
3. Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange
4. Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fra) Cofidis
5. Franck Bonnamour (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
6. Alex Aranburu (Esp) Astana-Premier Tech
7. Toms Skujiņš (Lat) Trek-Segafredo, at 45s
8. Jan Bakelants (Bel) Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux, at same time
9. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 47s
10. Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux, at 1-03

Bizarre moment there in the peloton as Wout van Aert attacks on the final categorised climb and take a group away with him including Tadej Pogacar and the other GC contenders

It's not totally clear why that happened (and why everyone has waited so late), but there's about 15-men with a small gap inside the final 4km. All the top-10 on GC look to be there

Currently Van Aert is just dragging the top-10 to the line. It's not totally clear why he's making this effort.

There is a drag up to the line, but it's hard to see anyone getting much of a gap if the plan is to set up and attack for Jonas Vingegaard here by Wout van Aert

Van Aert continues to drag the GC group in towards the finish

Van Aert pull off and Vingegaard goes for it, but it's Pogacar that leads the group in ahead of Carapaz and Lutsenko

That GC group all got the same time anyway, so Van Aert's efforts looked almost entirely pointless

Here's the GC after stage 16:

1. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, in 66-23-06
2. Rigberto Urán (Col) EF Education-Nippo, at 5-18
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Team Jumbo-Visma, at 5-32
4. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers, at 5-33
5. Ben O'Connor (Aus) Ag2r-Citroën Team, at 5-58
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 6-16
7. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech, at 7-01
8. Enric. Mas (Esp) Movistar Team, at 7-11
9. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis, at 7-58
10. Pello Bilbao (Esp) Bahrain-Victorious, at 10-59

The green jersey is looking a lot closer than it did before. Michael Matthews is up to 242 points now with Cavendish on 279.

The current green jersey is still favourite with 50 pts available in the final two sprint stages, but Matthews will potentially look to try and close that gap in the coming mountain stages

Today's full report:

Patrick Konrad takes outstanding solo victory on stage 16 of the Tour de France 2021

Patrick Konrad wins stage 16 of the 2021 Tour de France

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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