Tour de France Stage 11: Majka goes on solo romp to win in Cauterets

Second day in the Pyrenees brings joy for Tinkoff-Saxo

This article was first published in Cyclingnews

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Following on from his two stage wins and polka-dot jersey in his Tour de France debut last year, Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) struck out on the Col du Tourmalet for a solo victory on stage 11.

The Polish rider attacked from an eight-man escape and increased his advantage on the long descent off the mountain before finishing it off on the final third-category climb to Cauterets.

Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin), who had earlier made a mighty solo effort to bridge to the break on the Col d’Aspin, was second place a minute behind, while German champion Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Argon 18) was the next best of the fragmented group.

"This victory is for my teammates, for Ivan Basso, who is now at home, and Daniele Bennati, who crashed today," Majka said. "And also for my family, who stay close to me, and my wife, who gives me a lot of power."

Last year Majka came to the rescue for Tinkoff-Saxo after Alberto Contador's abandon, and again this year the Polish rider gave the team something to smile about after Contador lost several minutes in the first mountain stage.

"The Tour de France is not finished but I have not come here for the GC. I came here to help Alberto [Contador] and still we had some opportunities. It is still a really long Tour de France, a long two weeks left, and we need to fight for Alberto Contador to win the Tour de France, 100 per cent."

Whereas yesterday Chris Froome blew the race to pieces with his showing on the first summit finish, today there wasn’t any movement at the top end of the general classification but there was a fair selection on the Tourmalet. It was Astana who forced the pace on the climb and the woes of many, including Joaquim Rodriguez, Romain Bardet, Thibaut Pinot, RIgoberto Urán Jean-Christophe Péraud, were compounded.

But it was Astana who lost out themselves as Nibali lost contact with the yellow jersey group late on and conceded yet more valuable seconds.

He has now dropped out of the top ten on GC, replaced by Bauke Mollema (Trek) who gained 10 seconds on the favourites with a late dig. Talk of a leadership change in the Astana camp failed to materialise when Jakob Fuglsang fell away on the Tourmalet.

Brief Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo5:02:01 
2Daniel Martin (Irl) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team0:01:00 
3Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Argon 180:01:23 
4Serge Pauwels (Bel) MTN - Qhubeka0:02:08 
5Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar0:03:34 
6Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
7Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing0:05:11 
8Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team0:05:19 
9Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky0:05:21 
10Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo  
General classification after stage 11
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky41:03:31 
2Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team0:02:52 
3Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team0:03:09 
4Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team0:03:59 
5Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky0:04:03 
6Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo0:04:04 
7Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal0:04:33 
8Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:04:35 
9Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin0:06:44 
10Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing0:07:05

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