Stage 11 | Carcassonne to Montpellier | Tour de France 2016
What had been expected to be a routine sprint stage to Montpellier turned out to be anything but when the green jersey wearer Peter Sagan and yellow jersey wearer Chris Froome broke away on the run-in the finish, each with a team-mate for company.
The leading quartet featured Sagan’s fellow Tinkoff rider Maciej Bodnar and Froome’s Sky team-mate Geraint Thomas and they rode extremely hard to gain a few seconds over the peloton.
In this episode of The Telegraph Cycling Podcast, Richard Moore and Lionel Birnie are joined by Daniel Friebe and David Millar to discuss a thrilling 11th stage of the Tour from Carcassonne to Montpellier.
Crosswinds posed a threat all day and, but for a brief period when the peloton was split in two shortly after the escapees Leigh Howard and French champion Arthur Vichot were caught, the damage was fairly limited.
That all changed near the finish, though, when Sagan attacked, drawing a response from Froome. The leaders worked well together to open a gap and, although the lead was only six seconds on the line, a small time bonus meant Froome had gained 12 seconds over all his main rivals.
With tomorrow’s Mont Ventoux stage being shortened by six kilometres because of high winds, it’s hard to say how critical those few seconds will be.
We discuss Froome’s willingness to attack in the most unlikely circumstances – on a descent in the Pyrenees and on the flat today – and hear from his Sky sports director Nicolas Portal.
There’s also the daily award of the Pédaleur de Charme prize and a chat with Leigh Howard, who got in the two-man break and had not been expecting to ride the Tour until he was called up a few days before the race to replace an ill team-mate.
We also look ahead to stage 12 and ask what effect on the race for the yellow jersey it will have that the stage finishes at Chalet Reynard instead of at the top of Mont Ventoux.
The Telegraph Cycling Podcast is supported by Rapha and Eurosport.