Tour de France: Michael Rasmussen wins stage 16

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Stage 16 profile

Michael Rasmussen of Denmark has won stage 16 of the 2007 Tour de France in a time of 6h 23' 21".

Rasmussen increased his overall lead by 35" over Alberto Contador of Spain, who finished third.

After a rest day, the riders faced the third-longest, 218.5 km, and arguably the Tour’s hardest, stage. The first challenge was the brutal Port de Larrau (14.7 km climb at 8.1%), which is just 79km into the stage. The race dips into Spain for some 50 kilometres at the summit, the fourth country visited in this year’s Tour. From there, there was little reprieve for the riders, hitting the Alto Laza and the Col de la Pierre St Martin (14.2 km climb at 5.2%) before descending to the start of the difficult, and very steep, first-category Col de Marie-Blanque (9.3 km climb at 7.4%). The riders then climb the infamous Col d'Aubisque (16.7 km climb at 7%), which will reward out-and-out climbing ability and punish the legs of all the major contenders.

The entire Astana Team withdrew from the Tour prior to this stage due to Alexander Vinokourov testing positive for blood doping. Some riders staged a protest against doping at the start.

Another doping scandal hit the Tour today. Cristian Moreni of Italy tested positive for testosterone in a test conducted after Thursday's stage 11. Moreni was questioned by police. Cofidis team manager Eric Boyer told Reuters: "He accepted his wrongdoing and did not ask for a B-sample."

Like Astana did, Cofidis has withdrawn its entire team from the Tour. François Migraine, the team president and CEO of the sponsoring insurance company, Cofidis, said: "It's the only thing to do in such circumstances."

Post-stage statements

It’s true that I was booed at the start and again during the stage also. I believe that, for the moment, there’s a lot of frustration amongst the people who follow cycling and in the peloton about what’s going on – about what happened to ‘Vino’ yesterday – and I think that since he is not here and the Astana team has gone home, people are taking their frustration out on me. I understand now what Lance Armstrong went through for seven years and my respect for him is growing day by day.

The only good thing there is to say about the Vinokourov case is that it proves that the system is working and to that I can only add that I’ve had 14 negative tests so far during this Tour. Now the overall victory is more important than stage wins but with the position that I was able to put myself in – winning the queen stage of the Tour while in the yellow jersey – it was pretty hard to deny taking the opportunity to do so.

— Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank
This story has updates
See Tour de France: Yellow jersey Rasmussen withdrawn

Stage 16 results

Rank Rider Team Time
1 Michael Rasmussen Rabobank 6h 23'21"
2 Levi Leipheimer Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team +26"
3 Alberto Contador Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team +35"
4 Cadel Evans Predictor-Lotto +43"
5 Mauricio Soler Barloworld +1'25"
6 Haimar Zubeldia Euskaltel-Euskadi +1'52"
7 Juan José Cobo Saunier Duval-Prodir +1'54"
8 Carlos Sastre Team CSC +2'12"
9 Oscar Pereiro Caisse d'Epargne +2'27"
10 Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne s.t."

General classification after stage 16

Rank Rider Team Time
1 Michael Rasmussen Rabobank 76h 15' 15"
2 Alberto Contador Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team +3' 10"
3 Cadel Evans Predictor-Lotto +5' 03"
4 Levi Leipheimer Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team +5' 59"
5 Carlos Sastre Team CSC +9' 12"
6 Haimar Zubeldia Euskaltel-Euskadi +9' 39"
7 Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne +13' 28"
8 Kim Kirchen T-Mobile Team +14' 46"
9 Yaroslav Popovych Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team +16' 00"
10 Mauricio Soler Barloworld +16' 41"