The Tour de France reached a peak today as riders struggled over Europe’s highest road on the Cime de la Bonette. The most notable moment of stage 16 was when the Tour’s youngest rider, South Africa’s John Lee Augustyn, reached the summit first. It looked as if he might win the race. But on the descent, Augustyn failed to negotiate a sharp turn and went off the cliff. He slid for several feet while his bike continued to roll downhill. Augustyn crawled back to the street but was left without a bike until long after most riders went by.
The French finally have a reason to celebrate. Frenchman Cyril Dessel won today’s 98-mile race from Cuneo to Jausiers. His victory did little to change the overall classification of top riders. But Denis Menchov and Christian Vandevelde lost some time today and will go deep into their lactic thresholds to get that time back. The race continues through the Alps on Wednesday up the brutal L’Alpe d’Huez. There will be lots of pain and suffering. Don’t miss it!