Rafal Majka Doubles Up
excerpts from LeTour.fr
The Tinkoff show goes on! Following Michael Rogers’ day of glory in the first day in the Pyrenees, Rafal Majka claimed his second stage win at Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet. The Polish rider took advantage of his triumph to increase his lead over Joaquim Rodriguez in the King of the Mountains competition while the Frenchman of the day was Jean-Christophe Péraud. The veteran from AG2R-La Mondiale positioned himself as a potential top 3 finisher as he was the only rider able to follow race leader Vincenzo Nibali in the final climb.
22 riders in the lead after the col du Portillon
Sergio Paulinho (Tinkoff), Blel Kadri (AG2R), Tom-Jelte Slagter (Garmin), Yukiya Arashiro and Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Jens Voigt (Trek), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) and Martin Elmiger (IAM) attacked in the second kilometer of racing. They got caught at the beginning of the ascent to the col du Portillon after covering more than 50km in the first hour! Six riders rode away at the initiative of Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) who had the polka dot jersey as his main objective of the day. Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale), Kristijan Durasek (Lampre), Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff), Bauke Mollema (Belkin) and David Lopez (Sky) accompanied him. After Rodriguez took ten points at the Portillon, 16 riders bridged the gap in the downhill: Vassil Kiriyenka (Sky), Jesus Herrada, Jon Izagirre and Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), Rafal Majka (Tinkoff), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Blel Kadri (AG2R), Tom Dumoulin (Giant), Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto), Amaël Moinard and Peter Velits (BMC), Pierre Rolland, Yukiya Arashiro and Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Fränck Schleck (Trek) and Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis).
Kiriyenka: 34km alone in the mountains
Kiriyenka attacked at the exit of Bagnères-de-Luchon with 56km to go. He stayed away by himself in the ascents to the col de Peyresourde and Val Louron while the peloton was cruising around five minutes behind. The Belarus rider got reined in the last kilometer of the second last climb, where Rodriguez outsprinted Majka. Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) attacked from the yellow jersey group in the downhill.
Majka on the path of Jaskula
Four riders started climbing to Pla d’Adet in the lead: Rolland, Roche, Moinard and Visconti. The Sicilian went solo with 9km to go. Majka came across to him 4.2km before the finishing line while Nibali accelerated and took Péraud with him. Majka dropped Visconti off with 2.5km to go. 21 years after Zenon Jaskula became the first Polish rider to win a stage of the Tour de France precisely at Saint-Lary, the Tinkoff-Saxo climber doubled up after opening his record book on stage 14 at Risoul. Earlier in difficulty, Alejandro Valverde saved his second place on GC behind Nibali who was a brilliant third finisher but Péraud, the only rider able to accompany the yellow jersey, became the French favorite for the final podium in Paris.
Stage 17 Results
POL 1 MAJKA, Rafal (TINKOFF-SAXO) 3:35:23 ITA 2 VISCONTI, Giovanni (MOVISTAR) + 29 ITA 3 NIBALI, Vincenzo (ASTANA) + 46 FRA 4 PERAUD, Jean-Christophe (AG2R LA MONDIALE) ITA 5 DE MARCHI, Alessandro (CANNONDALE) + 49 FRA 6 ROLLAND, Pierre (EUROPCAR) + 52 LUX 7 SCHLECK, Frank (TREK FACTORY RACING) + 1:12 NED 8 MOLLEMA, Bauke (BELKIN) IRL 9 ROCHE, Nicolas (TINKOFF-SAXO) + 1:25 ESP 10 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR) + 1:35 FRA 11 PINOT, Thibaut (FDJ.fr) + 1:40 FRA 12 BARDET, Romain (AG2R LA MONDIALE) USA 13 VAN GARDEREN, Tejay (BMC RACING) NED 14 TEN DAM, Laurens (BELKIN) + 1:50 ESP 15 IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI, Jon (MOVISTAR) ESP 16 NIEVE ITURALDE, Mikel (SKY) + 2:01 CRO 17 DURASEK, Kristijan (LAMPRE – MERIDA) + 2:05
General Classification after Stage 17 ITA 1 NIBALI, Vincenzo (ASTANA) 76:41:28 ESP 2 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR) + 5:26 FRA 3 PINOT, Thibaut (FDJ.fr) + 6:00 FRA 4 PERAUD, Jean-Christophe (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 6:08 FRA 5 BARDET, Romain (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 7:34 USA 6 VAN GARDEREN, Tejay (BMC RACING) + 10:19 NED 7 MOLLEMA, Bauke (BELKIN) + 11:59 NED 8 TEN DAM, Laurens (BELKIN) + 12:16 FRA 9 ROLLAND, Pierre (EUROPCAR) + 13:15 LUX 10 SCHLECK, Frank (TREK FACTORY RACING) + 18:03
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