Two riders among the top five at the beginning of the 16th stage on Tuesday might have done just that, losing crucial time on the final climb of the day and a long descent to this Alpine village.
Denis Menchov, a Russian rider for Rabobank who started the day in fourth place, 38 seconds behind the race leader, Frank Schleck, crossed the summit of the Bonette-Restefond Pass with the top contenders but then lost 35 seconds on the 23.5-kilometer descent, about 15 miles. He finished the day in fifth place overall, 1:13 behind Schleck, of CSC-Saxo Bank, who kept the yellow jersey for a second day. The results were worse for Christian Vande Velde, the American rider for Garmin-Chipotle, who started the day in fifth place only 39 seconds behind Schleck. Vande Velde could not stay with the leaders' group on the climb of Bonette-Restefond and then crashed on the descent, finishing the stage more than 2½ minutes behind the race leaders. He now rests in sixth place, 3:15 behind Schleck.
The stage, which crossed two climbs rated "beyond category" in steepness and length, was won by Cyril Dessel of the Ag2r-La Mondiale team. He became the second Frenchman to win a stage in the 95th edition of the Tour. Dessel was part of a group of four riders who came down the mountain together, and he jumped ahead of his rivals in the final corner, roughly 500 meters from the finish. After the stage, Dessel said he had spotted the turn on the race map as a good place to attack when his team was plotting race strategy Tuesday.
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New York Times