Cycling-Konrad wins solo Tour stage as top guns keep powder dry

By Julien Pretot

SAINT GAUDENS, France (Reuters) -Patrick Konrad scored his first Tour de France victory on Tuesday with a successful long-distance attack on a soggy 16th stage, a 169km mountain hike from Pas de la Casa, in Andorra, Tuesday.

The Bora-Hansgrohe rider broke away from a small group 36.5 kilometers from the finish on the last significant climb of the day and never looked back as his pursuers reacted too late.

The 29-year-old crossed the finish line 42 seconds before Italian champion Sonny Colbrelli, who edged Australia’s Michael Matthews for second place.

The reigning champion Tadej Pogacar retained the yellow jersey of the leader of the general classification while the main contenders kept their powder dry before the dreaded 17th stage on Wednesday to the Col du Portet, a 16 km climb with an average gradient. by 8.7%.

To get there, they will first tackle the Col de Peyresourde (13.2 km at 7%) and the Col de Val Louron-Azet (7.4 km at 8.3%).

The Pogacar group finished Tuesday’s stage at 1:49 p.m. pace while the first positions in the general classification remained unchanged.

After a long descent in low temperatures and drizzle to reach the real start of the stage, a leading trio widened the peloton but they had a group of 10 men on their heels, that the main peloton gradually let slip.

Fabien Doubey, Konrad and Jan Bakelants had 30 seconds on their pursuers in the descent of the Col de la Core towards the Col du Portet d’Aspet (5.4km at 7.1%).

Konrad increased the advantage to 1:20 as he attacked on the climb.

French climbing specialist David Gaudu increased the pace of the chasing group and only Colbrelli, sprint specialist, was able to follow, closing the gap to 30 seconds at the top.

But Konrad was the fastest in the perilous descent where Italian Fabio Casartelli crashed and died in 1995, and he further increased his lead, pushing back the group of pursuers.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Toby Davis)

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