Costa wins Stage 16, Froome maintains overall Tour lead
Gap, France (Sports Network) - Portugal's Rui Alberto Costa won Stage 16 of the Tour de France, while Britain's Chris Froome remained the overall leader of cycling's most prestigious event with five days remaining.
Costa finished the 168-kilometer ride from Vaison-la-Romaine to Gap, a trek with a trio of difficult climbs in the Alps, in a time of 3 hours, 52 minutes and 45 seconds.
A trio of Frenchmen -- Christophe Riblon, Arnold Jeannesson and Jerome Coppel -- were 42 seconds behind the stage winner, along with Germany's Andreas Kloden.
Froome crossed the line in a group with his nearest competitors in the overall classification -- Dutchman Bauke Mollema and two-time Tour champion Alberto Contador of Spain. The group was 11 minutes and 8 seconds behind the winner.
Mollema remained 4:14 behind Froome, while Contador is another 11 seconds off the pace.
While Costa's breakaway group went for the stage win, Froome, Mollema and Contador were content to stay behind. Contador, however, launched a series of attacks in attempt to distance himself from the yellow jersey.
Froome and his teammates were able to chase him down each time and keep the Spaniard in check, though.
Both did suffer a minor incident with about 7 1/2 kilometers left on a tricky turn during the downward finish from the Col de Manse, as Contador again tried to sprint away. Both went down, but were up somewhat quickly.
Mollema, in a sporting gesture, did not take advantage and waited for the duo to catch up.
"He was pushing, I think, a little bit too fast on the descent," said Froome about Contador's last attack. "Trying to get away from us and he crashed in front of me. That put me in danger. I went around, off the road, and then I had to correct myself and get back in. I was lucky enough to have my teammate Richie Porte there to keep me in the front of the race and to keep an eye on things."
Stage 17 on Wednesday is a 32-kilometer time trial from Embrun to Chorges. It features a pair of Category 2 climbs.
The 2013 Tour will conclude on Sunday with the traditional ride along the Champs Elysees.
07/16 13:06:07 ET