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Tour de France: Peter Sagan wins as Chris Froome retains lead

Peter Sagan, Alexander Kristoff, Tour de France, stage 16
Image: Peter Sagan (left) defeated Alexander Kristoff (right) in a photo finish

Peter Sagan sprinted to his third win of this year's Tour de France on stage 16 as Chris Froome overcame a late scare to retain the overall lead.

Sagan (Tinkoff) narrowly edged out Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) in a photo finish in Berne to claim the seventh Tour victory of his career and all but seal top spot in the points classification for the fifth year in a row.

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) managed to get over a steep climb in the final 2km in the front group of the peloton, but the ascent left him too tired to contest the sprint and he could only finish 24th.

'Tired' Froome ready for rest day
'Tired' Froome ready for rest day

Chris Froome admitted he is tired and in need of Tuesday's second Tour de France rest day

Froome (Team Sky) briefly slipped back from the front of the peloton in the closing kilometres and had to fight to avoid being caught out when it splintered into several groups on a technical and largely uphill finale.

He eventually finished in the front group alongside all of his closest rivals, which means the Briton remains 1min 47sec ahead of second-placed Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) at the top of the general classification with five stages remaining.

Peter Sagan, Alexander Kristoff, Tour de France
Image: Sagan beat Kristoff by about the width of a tyre

Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) stays 2min 45sec back in third, while Nairo Quintana (Movistar) is still 2min 59sec adrift in fourth.

Sagan said: "It was a very long stage and very hot. I am so happy and so proud of my team. They did a very good job and I am so happy to win for them, for Tinkoff and for Oleg [Tinkov, the team owner]."

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Froome added: "I wasn't actually up at the front through those last few kilometres. It was pretty sketchy through all the towns and there was a lot of road furniture, lefts and right and over those cobbles. I was just trying to stay out of trouble and get to the finish line as good as possible."

Tour de France, Chris Froome, stage 16
Image: Chris Froome finished in a vastly reduced peloton

Stage 16 covered 209km and ended with a 250m cobbled climb, a 600m paved climb and then a flat final 1km.

John Degenkolb's Giant-Alpecin team deterred attacks by setting a fierce pace up the two climbs and that in turn set up a sprint finish.

Tour de France standings
Tour de France standings

Top 10s in the general, points, mountains and youth classifications

Cavendish looked to be favourite for victory when he emerged at the back of the heavily reduced peloton at the top of the final climb, but it quickly became apparent that he had already spent all of his energy and his challenge did not materialise.

Sagan rode both climbs just off the front of the peloton and looked too far forward for the sprint, but he launched at the perfect moment and beat Kristoff by lunging his bike forward at the line.

Tour de France, stage 16, Bern
Image: The final kilometres of stage 16 took place in the centre of Berne

Kristoff admitted: "If I throw the bike, I think I was in front, but no. I was just focusing on sprinting and then I looked up and we were already pas the finish line. It was a pity."

Sagan now leads second-placed Cavendish by 114 points in the points classification, but given that four of the remaining five stages are in the mountains, the Manxman does not have enough opportunities to make up his deficit.

The Tour pauses for its second rest day on Tuesday but resumes on Wednesday with a 184.5km 17th stage ending with a summit finish at Finhaut-Emosson. Find out more about the route in our race guide and follow the stage with our live blog from 12pm BST.

Stage 16 result

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff, 4:26:02
2 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha, same time
3 Sondre Holst Enger (Nor) IAM Cycling, st
4 John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Alpecin, st
5 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange, st
6 Fabian Cancellara (Sui) Trek-Segafredo, st
7 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo, st
8 Ariel Richeze (Arg) Etixx - Quick-Step, st
9 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data, st
10 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing, st
Selected others
14 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, st
20 Adam Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange, st
24 Mark Cavendish (GB) Dimension Data, st

General classification

1 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, 72:40:38
2 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, +1:47
3 Adam Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange, +2:45
4 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, +2:59
5 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, +3:17
6 Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +4:04
7 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing, +4:27
8 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing, +4:47
9 Dan Martin (Irl) Etixx - Quick-Step, +5:03
10 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, +5:16

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