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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 July, 2003, 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK
Racewatch: Stage 16
Stage 16: Pau - Bayonne - 197.5km.


All the Tour de France action as it happened (All times BST).

  • Tyler Hamilton wins after a superb solo break
  • Group Armstrong/Ullrich is two minutes back

    1521: Team Telekom lead out the group sprint for Erik Zabel, who obliges by finishing second, two minutes back.

    1519: Tyler Hamilton wins his first Tour stage in superb style. He started attacking at 55km and will deservedly move up the overall classification from seventh to sixth.

    1516: Hamilton is rocking all over the road on his bike, but he is only two km out now.

    1512: Incredible endurance against all odds should see Tyler Hamilton home. It is rare that a lone cyclist manages to hold off a charging peloton, but CSC's team leader looks like he will do just that in Bayonne.

    1506: Hamilton is wincing with pain and effort but he is almost matching the peloton, which is being led by Telekom. Surely, the American CSC rider can hold on with under 10km to go. . .

    1500: The final 15km generally favours the peloton, but the finish itself is narrow and uphill. So, if Hamilton stays out for that long, he may have a chance to cling on.

    1453: This is an incredible ride from Hamilton, who broke his collarbone early in the race. His chances of victory still hang in the balance.

    1448: For almost the first time during the stage, the peloton is strung out trying to chase down Hamilton.

    1440: Tyler Hamilton has been on the attack for more than 100km in search of his first-ever Tour stage win. As things stand, he is fourth overall on the road.

    1435: Stage finish is less than 40km away, and despite Hamilton's steady gap, a sprint finish looks possible.

    1430: Two riders - Lelli and Turpin - join forces just ahead of the peloton and almost five minutes behind Hamilton.

    1420: The first chase group is caught by the peloton, which has not yet stepped up its chase of Hamilton.

    1410: Hamilton is still holding his advantage but the five riders behind him are being sucked back into the peloton. Meanwhile, riders are re-attaching themselves to the main pack, having lost touch on the category one climbs.

    1403: Hamilton picks up six bonus seconds at the first intermediate sprint.

    1357: The status quo at the front is being preserved. But the crucial time for Hamilton will come at the end of the descent, when it will become difficult for one man to hold off a chasing group.

    1340: Hamilton continues to lead, and he has team-mate Sorensen in a chasing group. That may be of help later on in the stage if he can hang on.

    1330: The last of this year's big climbs is behind the peloton and a tricky descent through the Basque mist beckons.

    1325: Hamilton has stretched his lead out a little bit, but the American still has much work to do if he is to win the stage. After this climb, there is a long, largely-downhill ride to Bayonne.

    1318: The familiar figure of US Postal mainstay George Hincapie takes charge of the peloton again. It has thinned on the climb to about 20 riders.

    1310: Incredibly, the ascent of the Col de Bagarguy is steeper on average than even Alpe d'Huez. Hamilton is making good progress, but he is not extending his gap to the peloton and he may have a tough job staying out in front on the other side.

    1305: Hamilton is on his own now as the rest of the breakaway suffer on the steep climb. Further back, Mayo runs into bike trouble, but a quick change allows him to keep up with the peloton.

    1300: Euskaltel continue to drive on the peloton - the Basque team are looking to protect their fourth and fifth placed riders - Zubeldia and Mayo - from pace-setting Hamilton.

    1255: Millar is going backwards fast now. The Scot is really labouring as he drifts into sight of the peloton and his bid for stage glory looks over.

    1250: It is noticeable that the peloton is not prepared to allow Hamilton any further out of its reach - in fact, it has begun to close the gap.

    1245: The start of the second of the day's major climbs knocks Millar out of the lead group. Hamilton is setting a fast pace.

    1235: The three-minute gap between Hamilton's group and the Euskaltel-driven peloton is holding steady. There are other riders strewn out between the two main groups.

    1215: Group Hamilton's gap to the main bunch is about three minutes as all riders settle into a perilous descent.

    1210: Coming over the top of the Col de Soudet, Hamilton is pushing the pace of the lead 10 - he is being supported by CSC cohort Sorensen. Kurt van de Wouwer picks up maximum points for the climb.

    1205: Tyler Hamilton joins the lead group. His presence at the front must be a cause of concern for highly-placed riders like Mayo and Vinokourov - if not for leader Armstrong.

    1200: The lead group is also thinning and Hamilton is starting to pass people as he closes in on the front few.

    1155: Riders are starting to fall off the pace being set by the US Postals.

    1150: As the riders start their climb of the first category Col de Soudet, the lead group is back together, with Hamilton, Mayo and others chasing them down ahead of the peloton.

    1145: Now fifth-placed Iban Mayo surges away from the main bunch - this is becoming interesting.

    1144: Hamilton, who is only nine minutes behind Armstrong, has stolen a march from his rivals. But the US Postal team are to the fore of the peloton, chasing him down.

    1140: Tyler Hamilton springs clear of the peloton - this will stir a reaction. Meanwhile, Rabobank's Remmert Wielinga has abandoned, leaving 150 riders still in the race.

    1135: Mercado and Samuel Dumoulin now lead the stage, having attacked the leaders. David Millar and a Cofidis team-mate have joined second group.

    1127: Juan Miguel Mercado is the best-placed rider in the breakaway, but he is more than an hour down on Armstrong.

    1122: David Millar is back on the attack. He is not in the lead group, but he is chasing it down.

    1115: A group of 15 riders has broken clear - none of them is a threat to Lance Armstrong in the overall standings.

    1103: And the Scot is caught by four breakaway riders before the whole group is dragged back to the peloton.

    1100: Millar's margin at the front is being put under big pressure by the Alessio and Lotto teams.

    1050: Millar is now all alone at the head of the field. His gap is a slender one and he has 180km to the finish.

    1043: A breakaway from British rider David Millar and Italian Paolo Bettini starts to stretch out the peloton. Tyler Hamilton has had a rough start to the day and has fallen off the back of the main pack.

    1040: The first small climb of the day is won by Salvatore Commesso ahead of Michael Boogerd and David Latasa.

    1030: Racing is under way and the peloton remains intact.

    1020: Two category one climbs make this a testing last mountain stage of the 2003 Tour.

    Breakaway riders may steal the glory from the sprinters despite a flat finish. But close contenders like Jan Ullrich will be carefully watched by Lance Armstrong's US Postal team.



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