photo credits @ Le Tour/Twitter
Steve Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka) claimed stage 14 of this year’s Tour de France, with a final surge past Frenchmen Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) in the finishing straight, to give MTN-Qhubeka its first Tour stage victory today.
Today’s 178.5 kilometer route finished at the Mende airstrip – after the punishing 3km ascent of the Côte de la Croix Neuve.
Cummings had been part of the day’s 20-man escape group and stayed in touch as Bardet led Pinot over the summit before the near 2km run-in along the flat to the line.
Meanwhile, race leader, Chris Froome finished 20th on the stage, four minutes 15 seconds behind Cummings but one, significantly, second ahead of nearest overall rival Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
The Colombian climber is now his nearest challenger, at 3:10 behind, after Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) conceded 40secs to Froome on the stage.
The American rider is now 3:32 adrift after dealing with stifling heat again today.
A puncture plagued Richie Porte (Team Sky), leaving him unable to support Froome in the finale.
Porte also reported, that he had been punched by a roadside spectator on the ascent to La Pierre-Saint-Martin.
There have also been threats made on social media, although it is difficult to gauge how serious these are.
And, it’s uncertain if any animosity directed towards Team Sky is down to the British squad’s dominance, or the rumours and innuendos regarding “doping” have played a part.
Team Sky sports director Nicolas Portal said: “I hope the public will chill out. It’s pretty hard, especially for me since I’m French.“There is just a barrier and nothing else on the road (to stop anyone). Anyone can cross the road and punch someone.”
A number of breakaway groups converged to form a 20-man escape, which included Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) and Cummings.
The group fractured on the lower slopes of the final climb, as Bardet attacked and Pinot then bridged the gap after Yates had tried in vain to follow Bardet.
Behind Quintana made his move, with defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) following.
Froome chased himself, with Contador and Van Garderen on his wheel.
Pinot caught Bardet with 1.8km remaining and Cummings came from nowhere to pass the duo and power his way to the finish for a memorable win.
Stage 14 Results
GBR 1 CUMMINGS, Stephen (MTN – QHUBEKA) 4:23:43
FRA 2 PINOT, Thibaut (FDJ) + 2
FRA 3 BARDET, Romain (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 3
COL 4 URAN URAN, Rigoberto (ETIXX – QUICK STEP) + 20
SVK 5 SAGAN, Peter (TINKOFF – SAXO) + 29
FRA 6 GAUTIER, Cyril (EUROPCAR) + 32
ESP 7 PLAZA MOLINA, Ruben (LAMPRE – MERIDA)
LUX 8 JUNGELS, Bob (TREK FACTORY RACING)
ESP 9 CASTROVIEJO NICOLAS, Jonathan (MOVISTAR)
GBR 10 YATES, Simon (ORICA GreenEDGE) + 33
BEL 11 BAKELANTS, Jan (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 1:07
COL 12 PANTANO, Jarlinson (IAM CYCLING) + 1:10
FRA 13 PERICHON, Pierre-Luc (BRETAGNE-SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT) + 2:00
SLO 14 KOREN, Kristijan (CANNONDALE – GARMIN) + 2:12
NED 15 DE KORT, Koen (GIANT – ALPECIN)
BEL 16 VAN AVERMAET, Greg (BMC RACING)
UKR 17 GRIVKO, Andriy (ASTANA) + 2:43
POL 18 GOLAS, Michal (ETIXX – QUICK STEP) + 3:25
FRA 19 ROY, Jérémy (FDJ)
GBR 20 FROOME, Christopher (SKY) + 4:15
COL 21 QUINTANA ROJAS, Nairo Alexander (MOVISTAR) + 4:16
ESP 22 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR) + 4:19
ESP 23 CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (TINKOFF – SAXO) + 4:34
ITA 24 NIBALI, Vincenzo (ASTANA) + 4:45
USA 25 VAN GARDEREN, Tejay (BMC RACING) + 4:55
NED 26 GESINK, Robert (LOTTO NL – JUMBO) + 5:06
FRA 27 GALLOPIN, Tony (LOTTO SOUDAL)
FRA 28 ROLLAND, Pierre (EUROPCAR)
NED 29 MOLLEMA, Bauke (TREK FACTORY RACING)
GBR 30 THOMAS, Geraint (SKY)
SUI 31 FRANK, Mathias (IAM CYCLING)
FRA 32 LADAGNOUS, Matthieu (FDJ)
ITA 33 SCARPONI, Michele (ASTANA)
General Classification after Stage 14
GBR 1 FROOME, Christopher (SKY) 56:02:19
COL 2 QUINTANA ROJAS, Nairo Alexander (MOVISTAR) + 3:10
USA 3 VAN GARDEREN, Tejay (BMC RACING) + 3:32
ESP 4 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR) + 4:02
ESP 5 CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (TINKOFF – SAXO) + 4:23
GBR 6 THOMAS, Geraint (SKY) + 4:54
NED 7 GESINK, Robert (LOTTO NL – JUMBO) + 6:23
ITA 8 NIBALI, Vincenzo (ASTANA) + 8:17
FRA 9 GALLOPIN, Tony (LOTTO SOUDAL) + 8:23
NED 10 MOLLEMA, Bauke (TREK FACTORY RACING) + 8:53
FRA 11 BARGUIL, Warren (GIANT – ALPECIN) + 11:03
FRA 12 BARDET, Romain (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 13:10
SUI 13 FRANK, Mathias (IAM CYCLING) + 13:26
ESP 14 SANCHEZ GONZALEZ, Samuel (BMC RACING) + 14:21
FRA 15 ROLLAND, Pierre (EUROPCAR) + 14:58
USA 16 TALANSKY, Andrew (CANNONDALE – GARMIN) + 22:18
FRA 17 PINOT, Thibaut (FDJ) + 30:57
DEN 18 FUGLSANG, Jakob (ASTANA) + 31:05
ESP 19 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, Joaquin (KATUSHA) + 31:45
FRA 20 VUILLERMOZ, Alexis (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 33:18
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