Tour de France 2016: Stage 16 Results, Latest Standings and Highlights

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistJuly 18, 2016

BERN, SWITZERLAND - JULY 18: Chris Froome of Great Britain and Team Sky (L) shakes hands with Peter Sagan of Slovakia and Tinkoff (R) during stage sixteen of the 2016 Le Tour de France, from Moirans-en-Montagne to Berne on July 18, 2016 in Berne, Switzerland.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Peter Sagan of Tinkoff won a breathtaking finish on the line at Stage 16 of the Tour de France, as Chris Froome of Team Sky retained the yellow jersey on Monday.

The Slovakian won the race by inches as he chased Alexander Kristoff all the way to the finish line in Bern, Switzerland, after the start from Moirans-en-Montagne.   

It was perfect conditions for racing. Fans witnessed a conservative day in the saddle through 209 kilometres, but the general classification contenders made a late charge to close down Froome. 

However, the British cyclist once again hit his marks and remained clear of his main competitors as the stages begin to evaporate in France.

The Tour's official Twitter account provided the stage result:

The Tour provided footage of the dramatic finish:

Cycling Central highlighted the closeness of the result on Monday:

The Tour also provided the general classifications:

   

Stage 16 Recap

Skies were blue in Switzerland as Sagan grabbed the stage win in the capital city.

Sky Sports Cycling provided a profile of the flat stage:

The race represented the Tour's first visit to Switzerland, as the combatants battled from the small village of Moirans-en-Montagne in Jura to the Swiss capital city of Bern.

Despite the lack of climbing after Sunday's heavy gradients, the hills were too steep for the sprinters to fully take advantage of the climbers' tactics.

The heat of the day kept the pace under wraps early on as the peloton rolled out in unison.  

Peter Dejong/Associated Press

As expected, a quick breakaway unfolded when Etixx-Quick-Step's Julian Alaphilippe and Tony Martin sought an early advantage. They both soon earned a 30-second advantage over the pack and took control at the 30-kilometre stage.

Direct Energie controlled the peloton from the front as the riders responded to the warm conditions, cautiously waiting to make an energetic move.

Four riders decided to take the bait, as Giant–Shimano's Lawson Craddock, Cofidis' Nicolas Edet, Fortuneo-Vital Concept's Vegard Breen and LottoNL-Jumbo's Timo Roosen gave chase.

Peter Dejong/Associated Press

Martin led from the front with an incredible cadence, as his team-mate latched on to his rear wheel.

Froome and Team Sky once again took a conservative approach, not feeling the pressure to make the race more dangerous than it needed to be early on.

Alaphilippe took his turn on the front, as the pairing looked composed and in control, happy to drag the pack along.

Orica–BikeExchange's Adam Yates remained at the back of the peloton, lurking further back from the leaders.

Peter Dejong/Associated Press

Martin and Alaphilippe maintained a five-minute lead at the halfway point, as the peloton slowed in preparation of a later attack. The gap was slowly chipped away to three minutes, but Martin looked strong and business-like.

With 31 kilometres to go, the peloton were back to within a minute when Martin dropped his team-mate for a sprint forward to power into the town.

Martin finally began to suffer, with his blistering pace sapping his energy, and the peloton train expanded as individuals sensed the smell of blood in their nostrils.

The Tour highlighted the moment Martin was finally caught:

Former world champion Rui Costa made a sharp break to take advantage of Martin's energy levels as his legs began to give way.

Cycling Central tipped their hat to Costa's drive:

A technical descent faced Costa, and the cyclists positioned in a bunch together in the final eight kilometres, navigating tricky turns and spectators.

The road suddenly narrowed on a high-speed descent as the danger increased; the riders slingshot around the river bank before the leaders attacked the climb of the day on the cobbled section. Costa fell away as LottoNL attacked. IAM Cycling accepted the challenge as the peloton accelerated, and the big names positioned themselves for a last-gasp push.

The sprinters took control over the final metres, as Froome joined the attack on the home stretch. Sagan was in control as the finish line was in sight, but Norway's Kristoff caught him. 

Peter Dejong/Associated Press

It appeared Kristoff would be celebrating the victory as the big names charged, but the Norwegian was beaten on the line when Sagan threw his bike over first to win by a tyre width in a breathtaking finish.

The Tour is Froome's to lose, and he made up the gap at the front of the race with an impressive push.

The British star looks strong and focused at present, and Team Sky are expertly guiding the reigning champion to yet another success in the world's most famous cycling race. 

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