JAUSIERS // France's Cyril Dessel sprinted clear of three fellow breakaway riders to win stage 16 of the Tour last night as the race returned to France after a three-day spell in Italy. Dessel clocked speeds nearing the 70kmh mark on the treacherous descent into Jausiers along with Yaroslav Popovych, Sandy Casar and David Arroyo.
But the Frenchman's turn of speed was enough to leave his rivals trailing at the line as he became the second French rider to win a stage of the Tour this year. Stefan Schumacher, who had worn the yellow jersey earlier in the race after the stage four time trial, launched an audacious solo break on the Col de la Lombarde as he looked to make his mark again on the event. And the German stayed away for much of the day before being overtaken on the Bonette-Restefond Pass - the second hors-category climb of the stage - by a group of nine riders which fell to just four on the descent.
The main protagonists in the race, meanwhile, stayed together up the final climb, although Denis Menchov conceded valuable time on the race leader Frank Schleck and Cadel Evans on the descent, losing a valuable half-a-minute at the finish. The Australian Evans showed no signs of his previous frailty on the climbs despite Schleck's CSC Saxo Bank team dominating with as many as five riders setting the pace at one point as they attempted to break their rivals.
The racing resumes today from Embrun to Alpe d'Huez, the last serious climb of the race for the riders to face. @Email:email@example.com