Patrick Konrad wins Tour de France stage ahead of major mountain days

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SAINT-GAUDENS, France — Austrian rider Patrick Konrad won the Tour de France’s hilly 16th stage on an otherwise uneventful day Tuesday as race leader Tadej Pogacar remained on course for his second overall victory.

Konrad made his decisive break with 36 kilometers (22.5 miles) to go, four kilometers (2.5 miles) before the summit of Col de Portet-d’Aspet and maintained the lead for his first Tour stage win.

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The 29-year-old Konrad finished 42 seconds ahead of a group of five chasers — Sonny Colbrelli, Michael Matthews, Pierre Luc Perichon, Franck Bonnamour and Alex Aranburu Deba — on the second day of racing in the Pyrenees.

Pogacar, the defending champion, finished 13 minutes, 49 seconds after Konrad and maintained his general classification lead of more than five minutes over Rigoberto Uran and Jonas Vingegaard.

Pogacar remained in the peloton with his GC rivals as his UAE Team Emirates team enjoyed a comfortable ride in the 169-kilometer (105-mile) trek from the tiny mountain-locked nation of Andorra.

After the tour’s second rest day on Monday, Tuesday’s stage began in at the ski resort of Pas de la Casa at 2,080 meters altitude. It was tour’s highest-ever stage start and it gave riders a long confidence-boosting downhill ride before the day’s first climb at Col de Port.

Amund Groendahl Jansen, who had been struggling since the opening stage crash, dropped out Tuesday morning, while Vincenzo Nibali also didn’t start. The Italian had already said he would pull out after stage 15 to focus on the Olympics.

It meant more than 20% of the Grand Départ starters were no longer competing. The 145-rider peloton had not been reduced so much before the second rest day since 2012.

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Patrick Konrad wins Tour de France stage ahead of major mountain days originally appeared on NBCSports.com