Tour de France (st. 16)
Mikel Landa finished unscathed as peloton suffers under temperatures close to 40ºC in Nîmes; Ewan (LTS) wins in prelude to breakaway day towards Gap -Wednesday- and three decisive mountain stages.
Torture by heat. The so-called ‘canicule’ covered the 2019 Tour de France peloton on Tuesday’s stage 16, the 177km route around Nîmes requiring nearly hundred bottles for the eight Movistar Team riders in barely four hours of consuming effort.
Caleb Ewan (LTS) took his second stage victory in this year’s race as Mikel Landa (7th overall) and Alejandro Valverde (8th) finished inside the main peloton, in an exhausting prelude to the four decisive stages in the ‘Grande Boucle’. Wednesday will take the riders into a breakaway-prone stage 17, with the final climb to La Sentinelle (5.2km, 5.4%) en route to Gap (200km) before three brutal mountain journeys, Thursday to Saturday.
Mikel Landa: “It was such a hot day. It will surely leave its mark: your body doesn’t recover well, you struggle a bit more – even if it might have seemed like an easy stage, there’s always some stress, and adding those temperatures means that your body is not going to react as it used to earlier in the race. How many bottles did I have? I don’t know – maybe fifteen? A lot of them. My team-mates did a really great job, bringing us water all the time.”
Nairo Quintana: “At one of the crashes near the finish I had to take a foot off the pedal, even though I didn’t crash. Even if I tried my best to come back, the peloton was simply too far away. The important thing is that Mikel finished at the front. We’re a team, we’re together in this, and we must continue fighting to overcome any difficulties in the next few days – even mine, in this case. We’re going to keep fighting.”
Cover picture (c): BettiniPhoto