BAGNERES-DE-LUCHON, France – The Pyrenees on Tuesday lived up to their reputation for causing ups and downs at the Tour de France: A French cyclist climbed in the standings, an American dropped and an Australian rebounding from an ordeal of doping suspicions won the 16th stage in a downhill breakaway.
Riding in his 10th Tour, three-time world time-trial champion Michael Rogers of Australia won a stage for the first time.
“I can’t describe the joy I felt in the last 500 meters … I hope I don’t have to wait another 10 years to experience it again,” Tinkoff-Saxo Bank rider Rogers said.
Italian Vincenzo Nibali of the Astana team continues to lead the overall race with five stages to go. Frenchman Thibaut Pinot moved from fourth to third.
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BMC Racing’s Tejay van Garderen, who was born in Tacoma, started the day in fifth, 5 minutes, 49 seconds behind Nibali. But he dropped to sixth, 9:25 off the lead.
“It’s definitely disappointing,” van Garderen said. “I had high hopes for a podium and now it looks like it’s taken a big hit … I just didn’t have the legs; I felt a bit empty. I’m just hoping I can bounce back and have a better day tomorrow.”
Rogers almost missed this Tour.
In an April ruling, the International Cycling Union accepted that meat Rogers ate in China last year probably caused his positive doping test at the Japan Cup shortly afterward. He convinced the sport’s governing body he had not intended to cheat, and said the episode was “a very difficult time” for his family.