Ruben Plaza (Lampre-Merida) attacked from the day’s escape group to take a solo win on stage 16 of the 2015 Tour de France on Monday, despite a concerted downhill chase from Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo).
Sagan put in a trademark blistering descent down the Col de Manse to try and catch Plaza, but the Spaniard evaded his clutches to take a lone win in Gap as the race reached the Alps.
Sagan was obviously disappointed with another second place – his fifth in the race – but has now stretched out his lead in the points classification by a wide margin with his consistency and versatility
The fight for the overall lead continued behind the battle for stage honours, with defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) gaining some time on yellow jersey Chris Froome (Sky) on the day’s technical final descent.
It was nearly disaster for Sky, as Geraint Thomas was nudged off the road by Frenchman Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) after the latter had taken a bad line around a corner. Despite hitting a telegraph pole and disappearing down a bank, Thomas remounted and managed to finish the stage only 38 seconds down on Froome.
The riders now get a chance to catch their breath with the 2015 Tour’s second rest day on Tuesday, before the Alpine climbing continues with stage 17 on Wednesday.