Costa wins Stage 16, Froome maintains overall Tour lead

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Updated: July 16, 2013

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Portugal’s Rui Alberto Costa won Stage 16 of
the Tour de France, while Britain’s Chris Froome remained the overall leader
of cycling’s most prestigious event with five days remaining.

Costa finished the 168-kilometer ride from Vaison-la-Romaine to Gap, a trek
with a trio of difficult climbs in the Alps, in a time of 3 hours, 52 minutes
and 45 seconds.

A trio of Frenchmen — Christophe Riblon, Arnold Jeannesson and Jerome Coppel
— were 42 seconds behind the stage winner, along with Germany’s Andreas
Kloden.

Froome crossed the line in a group with his nearest competitors in the overall
classification — Dutchman Bauke Mollema and two-time Tour champion Alberto
Contador of Spain. The group was 11 minutes and 8 seconds behind the winner.

Mollema remained 4:14 behind Froome, while Contador is another 11 seconds off
the pace.

While Costa’s breakaway group went for the stage win, Froome, Mollema and
Contador were content to stay behind. Contador, however, launched a series of
attacks in attempt to distance himself from the yellow jersey.

Froome and his teammates were able to chase him down each time and keep the
Spaniard in check, though.

Both did suffer a minor incident with about 7 1/2 kilometers left on a tricky
turn during the downward finish from the Col de Manse, as Contador again tried
to sprint away. Both went down, but were up somewhat quickly.

Mollema, in a sporting gesture, did not take advantage and waited for the duo
to catch up.

“He was pushing, I think, a little bit too fast on the descent,” said Froome
about Contador’s last attack. “Trying to get away from us and he crashed in
front of me. That put me in danger. I went around, off the road, and then I
had to correct myself and get back in. I was lucky enough to have my teammate
Richie Porte there to keep me in the front of the race and to keep an eye on
things.”

Stage 17 on Wednesday is a 32-kilometer time trial from Embrun to Chorges. It
features a pair of Category 2 climbs.

The 2013 Tour will conclude on Sunday with the traditional ride along the
Champs Elysees.