Plaza claims 16th stage, Froome maintains lead

GAP, July 20

Spaniard Ruben Plaza took his first victory at the Tour de France on Monday's 201km 16th stage from Bourg-de-Peage to Gap.

Slovak Peter Sagan took second for the fifth time at this year's race as his two-year wait for a stage victory drags on. Colombian Jarlinson Pantano was third as leader Chris Froome finishes amongst his main rivals to maintain his 3min 10sec lead over Nairo Quintana. But Froome's teammate Geraint Thomas suffered a crash on the hair-raising descent to the finish.

Thomas was baulked by young Frenchman Warren Barguil, who lost control on a corner, and the Sky rider was knocked off the road, hitting his head on a post as he and his bike went over a sheer drop into vegetation. The Welshman carried on, apparently "groggy" according to a French commentator following on a motorbike.

Reigning champion Vincenzo Nibali, down in eighth overall at the start of the day, attacked at the top of the final climb -- the second category Col de Manse -- 12km from the finish line, before the scary descent, and gained a few morale-boosting seconds.

Thomas lost around a minute but held onto sixth place overall. The big loser, though, was Frenchman Tony Gallopin, who seemed to lose his bottle on the descent and lost several minutes to drop out of the top 10.