Polish Rider Wins Another Stage for Himself and Tinkoff

majka reutersKing of the mountains and stage winner Rafal Majka. Photo by Reuters.

Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) made history today as the only Polish rider to win more than one stage in the Tour de France, winning his second stage, this time at the top of Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet. It was the shortest stage in this year’s Tour– 77 miles– but was one of the toughest with four massive climbs in the Pyrenees. The 24 year old finished in three and a half hours, 29 seconds ahead of Italy’s Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) and 46 seconds ahead of yellow-jersey leader Vicenzo Nibali (Astana). Majka secured the red polka dot jersey given to the best mountain climber. Today’s victory looked much like Saturday’s stage 14 where Majka also soloed in for the win. Tinkoff won three of the last four stages.

“I passed everyone to win the stage, and now I have the KOM jersey,” Majka said. “I’m really happy. Bjarne Riis told me to wait, don’t go too early, we need to win the stage, and if we win the stage, we’ll take the jersey.”

Today’s fierce mountain stage ended at the top of a six mile climb at 8.3 percent– hard to walk let alone ride it. Majka rode away from Visconti at about one and a half miles left in the stage and crossed the finish line alone. About two minutes behind him was the battle among the young guns, Frenchmen Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Romain Bardet (AG2R). Both crossed the finish line at the same time, allowing Pinot to hold onto the white jersey he claimed yesterday. For his dare-devil attack on the decent, Bardet was named Most Aggressive Rider.

pinotThibaut Pinot finished next to American Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and Romain Bardet to keep the best young rider’s white jersey after today’s hard mountain stage.

bardet in red jerseyRomain Bardet feeling humbled with the Most Aggressive Rider award and thinking how to get the white jersey back from Pinot.

 

 

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