First-time Tour Rider Gets Glory

Poland’s Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo), who is competing for his first time in the Tour de France, won stage 14 today– a 110-mile mountainous race from Grenoble to Risoul.  The 24-year-old broke away on the final climb and looked like he might be caught. Yellow jersey leader Vicenzo Nibali (Astana) was close but Majka held his tempo and finished 24 seconds ahead of Nibali. It was the novice rider’s biggest career win.

The painful expressions of stage winner Rafal Majka

ASO:X.BourgoisAfter finishing in second place yesterday, Rafal Majka wins his first-ever Tour stage on a very tough day in the mountains. Photo by ASO/X. Bourgois.

rafal majka by ASO:B. BadePhoto by ASO/B. Bade.

majka wins stage 14

Photo by Tim De Waele.

Winners and Losers after stage 14

Win: Vincenzo Nibali finished second today and dropped his closest rival Alejandro Valverde (Moviestar), who is almost five minutes back in the overall standings. Nibali all but sealed the deal on the yellow jersey. If he stays safe over the next week, he will see victory in Paris.

Win: Frenchmen Romain Bardet (AG2R) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) are leading the best young rider category. They are only 16 seconds apart. The two young guns are creating a fun race within the race– the battle for the white jersey.

Win: American Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) had a good race, although not a perfect one. He’s got a bit of a chest cold and said his kick wasn’t there on the climb today. Still, he finished ahead of Valverde and is currently in fifth place, leaving him in the last spot on the podium. Van Garderen says he could move up in the general classification when the race hits the Pyrenees next week.

Lose: Richie Porte (Sky) cracked in the Alps yesterday and today struggled to keep up with the leaders. He couldn’t do it and finished more than five minutes back. Porte took over as the Sky team leader after Chris Froome crashed out of the Tour. Team Sky has dominated the Tour de France in the past two years. This year, they are becoming a distant memory.

RichiePorteTourdeFrance453_3174659Richie Porte has fallen too far back to be a serious contender any longer. Photo by ASO.

 

 

 

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