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Rui Costa wins 16th stage of Tour de France; Tour chief ignores petition from women seeking to enter race

  • The pack with Christopher Froome of Britain, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, passes during the sixteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 168 kilometers (105 miles) with start in in Vaison-la-Romaine and finish in Gap, France, Tuesday July 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

    The pack with Christopher Froome of Britain, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, passes during the sixteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 168 kilometers (105 miles) with start in in Vaison-la-Romaine and finish in Gap, France, Tuesday July 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) Purchase photo reprints »

  • The pack with Christopher Froome of Britain, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, passes during the sixteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 168 kilometers (105 miles) with start in in Vaison-la-Romaine and finish in Gap, France, Tuesday July 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

    The pack with Christopher Froome of Britain, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, passes during the sixteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 168 kilometers (105 miles) with start in in Vaison-la-Romaine and finish in Gap, France, Tuesday July 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) Purchase photo reprints »

  • The pack with Christopher Froome of Britain, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, passes during the sixteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 168 kilometers (105 miles) with start in in Vaison-la-Romaine and finish in Gap, France, Tuesday July 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
  • The pack with Christopher Froome of Britain, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, passes during the sixteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 168 kilometers (105 miles) with start in in Vaison-la-Romaine and finish in Gap, France, Tuesday July 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

GAP, France — Portuguese rider Rui Costa won the 16th stage of the Tour de France on Tuesday after breaking away on the last climb of a hilly trek.

Costa secured the second stage win of his Tour career, crossing the line about 40 seconds ahead of Frenchman Christophe Riblon.

Race leader Chris Froome and his Tour rival Alberto Contador were about 12 minutes behind Costa, who is not considered a contender for overall victory.

The stage started from the Provence village of in Vaison-la-Romaine in the heart of Rhone winemaking country, and featured several medium-difficulty climbs along the 168-kilometer (104-mile) route to the Alpine town of Gap.

∎ In other news: Swatting the air with the back of his hand, Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme says he has nothing to say to a group of female cyclists hoping to one day ride in the sport’s greatest race.

Before the start of Tuesday’s 16th stage, Prudhomme brushed off a question about an online letter and petition urging Tour organizers to let women compete next year.

Prudhomme says “we are saying nothing for the moment.”

Olympic gold medalist and road race world champion Marianne Vos and British Olympian Emma Pooley are among the cyclists behind the petition.

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