Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol) won stage 11 on Wednesday. Photo by AFP.
What’s the big deal? As host of the Tour de France, the French unfortunately don’t see many victories among their countrymen, so when a Frenchmen wins a stage, it’s something to celebrate.
Young Frenchman Tony Gallopin, who races for a Belgian team, won today’s stage, 116 miles from Besançon to Oyonnax. The 26-year-old attacked on the final descent but was joined by three other riders. With just over a mile left the race, Gallopin attacked again and got away alone. In a thrilling finish, Gallopin crossed the line as the peloton was bearing down on his rear wheel.
“I knew that if it came down to the bunch sprint, I wouldn’t win, so I decided to take a long attack. I chose the right moment,” Gallopin said.
Gallopin was in the yellow leader’s jersey two days ago but quickly lost the lead position when the Tour entered the steep Vosge mountains. Today’s stage win is the second for his team and the second for a Frenchmen in this year’s Tour. (Blel Kadri won stage 8.)
Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) finished 36 minutes behind the peloton, just four minutes ahead of the time cutoff. Photo by Tim de Waele.
While Gallopin was having a good day at the front, American Andrew Talansky was suffering at the back… way back. Talansky crashed twice over the weekend and was visibly in pain today, holding his back and looking slow and uncomfortable on the bike. He pulled over and sat on the side of the road, appearing ready to quit. But after a talk with his team bosses, Talansky got back on his bike and pedaled alone for the last 30 miles, crying and wiping tears from his face. He finished more than a half hour behind Gallopin but beat the cutoff time, so he can at least race another day. What guts. No wonder he’s known as “the pitbull.”
Talanksy in pain after a crash in stage 10. Photo by Tim de Waele.
Italy’s Vicenzo Nibali is still the overall leader and picked up his ninth yellow jersey today.