Tour de France 2014: Brilliant Majka climbs best, Nibali takes time (again)

Rafal MajkaSaturday july 19th, 2014 - Stage 14 leads from Grenoble to Risoul and in between are 177 kilometres and three tough Alps. After a turbulent start the finale is just as turbulent. Attacks all over the place once again, but young Rafal Majka stays cool and brings a long break to a brilliant solo victory. Nibali is in a league of his won (once again) and young riders Bardet, Pinot and Van Garderen are closing in on good old Valverde. (Slideshow route/profile)

Results 14th stage Tour de France 2014

1. Rafal Majka (pol)
2. Vincenzo Nibali (ita) + 0.24
3. Jean-Christophe Peraud (fra) + 0.26
4. Thibaut Pinot (fra) + 0.50
5. Romain Bardet (fra) s.t.
6. Tejay van Garderen (USA) + 0.54
7. Fränk Schleck (lux) + 1.01
8. Laurens ten Dam (Nld) + 1.02
9. Leopold König (Cze) + 1.20
10. Alejandro Valverde (spa) + 1.24

16. Bauke Mollema (Nld) + 2.40
26. Jurgen Van den Broeck (bel) + 4.59

GC after stage 14th stage
1. Vincenzo Nibali (ita)
2. Alejandro Valverde (spa) + 4.27
3. Romain Bardet (fra) + 4.50
4. Thibaut Pinot (fra) + 5.06
5. Tejay van Garderen (USA) + 5.49
6. Jean-Christophe Peraud (fra) + 6.08
7. Bauke Mollema (Nld) + 8.33
8. Leopold König (Cze) + 9.32
9. Laurens ten Dam (Nld) + 10.01
10. Pierre Rolland (fra) + 10.48

11. Jurgen Van den Broeck (bel) + 11.02
13. Rui Costa (por) + 12.57
14. Fränk Schleck (lux) +14.37
15. Richie Porte (aus) + 16.03
17 Michal Kwiatkowski (pol) + 19.24

Race report
In a thrilling opening Vincenzo Nibali, Peter Sagan and Joaquim Rodríguez are off in a big break. Thibaut Pinot and Romain Bardet have missed and Pinot’s FDJ starts chasing.

When the pack is back together again another group of 17 escape: Geraint Thomas, Mikel Nieve, Cyril Gautier, Nicolas Roche, Amaël Moinard, Alessandro De Marchi, Jose Serpa, Nicolas Edet, Joaquim Rodríguez, Peter Sagan, Albert Timmer, Steven Kruijswijk, Jesus Herrada, Simon Yates, Rein Taaramae, Christophe Riblon en Rafal Majka.

Sagan is present to take the points for his green jersey, and so he does in the sprint after 40 kilometres.

Climbing up Col du Lautaret the gain of the break grows to over 5 minutes. Purito is the first to crest, taking all mountain points.

With a 2’35” gain the break away is at the the foot of the Col d’Izoard, a hors catégorie climb. On the lower flanks Timmer and Sagan are the first to drop. When cresting the break is down to ten riders and Rodríguez takes all mountain points once again.

Bardet attacks in the descent and all GC men are able bridge the gap, except for Jurgen Van den Broeck and Tejay van Garderen. In the valley BMC brings the two men back to their oponnenents. The gain of the break is 1’30” by now.

Geraint Thomas, Mikel Nieve, Steven Kruijswijk, Amaël Moinard, Alessandro De Marchi, Jose Serpa, Joaquim Rodríguez, Rafal Majka, Jesus Herrada and Simon Yates are upfront.

De Marchi opens fire on the lower flank and Majka not only joins him, the young Pole is out alone at the front. Rodríguez tries to bridge the gap, but doesn’t succeed. With de Marchi in his wheel he comes as close as 0’16” and keep dangling.

Down the road Porte and Costa are dropped, just like Jurgen Van den Broeck. The pace set by FDJ is too much for them, but not so for Nibali. With 3.5 kilometres he attacks and Péraud join him. The two power past Rodríguez and De Marchi. Valverde tries to get across, Van Garderen, Pinot, Bardet, Ten Dam and Schleck in his wheel. Top-10 riders Mollema and König are dropped.

A double-pronged attack by Van Garderen shakes off Valverde, but Pinot, Bardet and Schleck manage to keep his wheel. Valverde suffers.

Nibali and Péraud are closing in on Majka, but the brave Pole bring an early break to a brillant victory. Nibali comes in second and not for the first time this Tour he shows his strength.

Young Frenchmen Bardet and Pinot outsprint each other on the line, taking some seconds from Van Garderen. But Valverde is really the one who should watch out in the Pyrenees…

Tour de France 2014 stage 14: Images and more

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Rafal Majka

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