Stage 16 results: Sagan the bridesmaid again as Molina wins stage

Peter Sagan will have to be content with the green sprinters’ jersey, while everyone else is just glad to survive a wild ride.

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Ruben Plaza Molina of Lampre won his first stage of the Tour de France in his 14-year professional cycling career Monday. Photo: ASO/B. Bade, LeTour.com
Ruben Plaza Molina of Lampre won his first stage of the Tour de France in his 14-year professional cycling career Monday. Photo: ASO/B. Bade, LeTour.com

SAN DIEGO, July 20, 2015 – Peter Sagan of Tinkoff Saxo is an immensely talented cyclist. He can climb, he can sprint, and he is a swashbuckling personality the news media and fans love.

Sagan has ended up in second place four times in the 2015 Tour, and was fourth in a group sprint Sunday. Monday’s 125 miles stage seemed his last best chance to finally win a stage outright.

But it was not to be. Ruben Plaza Molina of Team Lampre took off on the final climb, giving him a head-start over Sagan on the final treacherous descent to the finish line to win his first ever Tour victory at age 35 by a 30 second margin.

Peter Sagan salutes the crowd from the podium after Stage 17. Photo: ASO/PresseSport, LeTour.com
Peter Sagan salutes the crowd from the podium after Stage 17. Photo: ASO/PresseSport, LeTour.com

As Sagan crossed the finish line, and again on the podium after the stage, he thumped his chest as if to say, “I did my best, I rode my heart out for you.” Sagan said he got the idea from Leonardo diCaprio’s character in the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Sagan is a film fan; he imitated Forrest Gump in a past victory.


The peloton let a breakaway group do battle today, being content to take it easy on the day to make sure everyone made it to the rest day in one piece. But disaster nearly struck anyway. French rider Warren Barguil of Giant-Alpecin said his finger slipped on his break, slamming into Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas on a hairpin turn, sending the Welsh rider crashing into a telephone pole. He landed in the bushes.

Geraint Thomas reassures yellow jersey leader and teammate Chris Froome he's OK after his wild crash Monday. Photo: ASO/G. Demourveaux, LeTour.com
Geraint Thomas (left) reassures yellow jersey leader and teammate Chris Froome he’s OK after his wild crash Monday. Photo: ASO/G. Demourveaux, LeTour.com

French spectators helped Thomas back on his bike, and he got up to finish the stage. Amazingly he suffered no serious injuries, unlike in 2003 when Lance Armstrong flew off course into a field and another cyclist slammed down breaking multiple bones and ending his career.

All the race leaders took care to stay safe on the Tour’s wild ride and maintained their standing going into the rest day, with Froome in the lead, 3:10 in front of Nairo Quintana of Movistar, with American Tejay Van Garderen in third, Quintana’s teammate Alejandro Valverde in fourth and Alberto Contador of Tinkoff Saxo in fifth.

See the overall classification here.

The green jersey remains with Peter Sagan as the best sprinter at the 2015 Tour. Photo: LeTour.com
The green jersey remains with Peter Sagan as the best sprinter at the 2015 Tour. Photo: ASO/B.Bade, LeTour.com

Sagan won the intermediate sprint on the stage and lengthened his lead in the race for the green sprinters jersey. Quintana keeps the white jersey as the best young rider. Froome has the polka dot jersey, being worn by second place Joaquim Rodriguez.

After a much needed rest day to settle the peloton, the battle for the Tour begins on Wednesday with four straight days of brutal Alpine stages before the final ride into Paris. This is where the race will be won or lost among the top contenders. Expect the challengers to test Chris Froome and Team Sky’s resolve on Wednesday. If he’s found lacking, it will be a free for all through the rest of the week.

See the route map here.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Follow the Tour de France daily in Communities Digital News.  Follow Gayle on on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +

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