Tour de France: Australian Michael Rogers takes stage 16 win
Australian Michael Rogers took victory in stage 16 of the Tour de France - the longest of this year's race.
The 34-year-old Tinkoff-Saxo rider made a break on the descent four kilometres out of the 237.5km Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon route.
It was his first stage victory on the Tour and followed his two stage wins at the Giro d'Italia earlier this year.
Thomas Voeckler of Europcar took second place, while Vasil Kiriyienka of Team Sky finished third.
Vincenzo Nibali, the yellow jersey holder, and Alejandro Valverde, who is second overall, crossed the line together about nine minutes down on the leaders and retain the top two spots in the general classification.
But there was a reshuffling of the pack behind them as Frenchman Thibaut Pinot jumped to third place 29 seconds adrift, with compatriots Jean-Christophe Peraud and Romain Bardet in fourth and fifth respectively.
|Magnus Backstedt - Former Tour de France stage winner|
|"What a year he is having, he's riding strong and he is confident, this was a stage that was tailor made for him and once he got the gap there was no coming back to him. He has got such a vast amount of experience and a lot of power and you can see that he really enjoys riding his bike, he's willing to go that bit deeper."|
Rogers and Voeckler, who had Europcar team-mate Cyril Gautier for company in the closing stages, were part of a 21-man breakaway which took shape in three waves from 28km, and they were 12 minutes clear by the time they reached Port de Bales - 35km from the finishing line.
But the Australian, cleared of wrongdoing in April after a positive test for clenbuterol, made his move and it proved decisive to prevent Voeckler from extending his unbeaten run at Bagneres-de-Luchon.
Rogers said: "I know I've changed upstairs, I'm more hungry and opportunities seem clearer to me now. I'm not scared of the outcome now. Previously I was scared to try something new because I was scared of failure.
|What to expect on stage 17|
|"This is one of the hardest days of this year's race. It will be a big General Classification battle and all the main contenders will have done a recce of this stage. Expect lots of aggressive riding on the final ascent.|
"I tried so hard to win a stage of the Tour before but this year, I've changed mentally. When it rains it pours, doesn't it?
"I knew once I got to the bottom of the last climb, the race had began for me. I tried a few times to drop them on the climb but I couldn't so I knew I had to pick them off on the descent. I said to myself - 'I have been in this position too many times and not won. I'm not going to do it again'."
Wednesday's 17th stage is a brutal, 124.5-km test featuring four demanding climbs with a summit finish at Plat d'Adet.
Stage 16 result
1. Michael Rogers (Aus/Tinkoff - Saxo) 6hrs 7mins 10 secs
2. Thomas Voeckler (Fra/Europcar) +9secs
3. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr/Team Sky) ST
4. Jose Serpa (Colombia/Lampre) ST
5. Cyril Gautier (Fra/Europcar) ST
6. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel/BMC Racing) +13secs
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol/Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) +36secs
8. Matteo Montaguti (Ita/AG2R) +50secs
9. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned/Garmin) +2mins 11secs
10. Tony Gallopin (Fra/Lotto) ST
General classification after stage 16
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita/Astana) 73hrs 05mins 19secs
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +4:37secs
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra/FDJ.fr) +5:06secs
4. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra/AG2R) +6:08secs
5. Romain Bardet (Fra/AG2R) +6:40secs
6. Tejay van Garderen (US/BMC Racing) +9:25secs
7. Leopold Koenig (Cze/NetApp) +9:32secs
8. Laurens ten Dam (Ned/Belkin) +11:12secs
9. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol/Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) +11:28secs
10. Bauke Mollema (Ned/Belkin) +11:33secs