Tour de France 2014: Rafal Majka takes second mountain victory

Rafal MajkaWednesday Juli 23th, 2014 - Only 124,5 kilometres but they are loaded with three category-1 cols and a top finish at Pla d'Adet, a hors catégorie climb. Not only does is sound like spectacle, it is from kilometre 1. Riders like Rodríguez, Majka, Mollema, Van den Broeck and Rolland attack at the first col and one of them is strong enough to take the early break to a splendid victory. Just like he did at Risoul, Rafal Majka soloes his name into the (Tour)history books. (Slideshow route/profile)

Results 17th stage Tour de France 2014

1. Rafal Majka (pol)
2. Giovanni Visconti (ita) + 0.29
3. Vincenzo Nibali (ita) + 0.46
4. Jean-Christophe Peraud (fra) s.t.
5. Alessandro de Marchi (ita) + 0.49
6. Pierre Rolland (fra) + 0.52
7. Fränk Schleck (lux) + 1.12
8. Bauke Mollema (Nld) s.t.
9. Nicolas Roche (Irl) + 1.25
10. Alejandro Valverde (spa) +1.35
11. Thibaut Pinot (fra) + 1.40
12. Romain Bardet (fra) s.t.
13. Tejay van Garderen (USA) s.t.
14. Laurens ten Dam (Nld) + 1.50
23. Leopold König (Cze) + 3.54

GC after stage 17th stage
1. Vincenzo Nibali (ita)
2. Alejandro Valverde (spa) + 5.26
3. Thibaut Pinot (fra) + 6.00
4. Jean-Christophe Péraud (fra) + 6.08
5. Romain Bardet (fra) 7.34
6. Tejay van Garderen (USA) + 10.19
7. Bauke Mollema (Nld) + 11.59
8. Laurens ten Dam (Nld) + 12.16
9. Leopold König (Cze) + 12.40
10. Pierre Rolland (fra) + 13.15

Race report
A break with of eight riders is off after 2 kilometres. Their gain never grows to over 1 minute and once at the Col du Portillon they are accompanied by the likes of Mollema, Rodríguez, Majka and Van den Broeck. Purito is the first to crest the first col of the day.

In the descent 22 riders are together upfront. In the valley leading to the Peyresourde Kiriyenka attacks and goes solo. At the top he has a 1’13” gain over Herrada and Roche, the rest of the group is at 1’48”, and the pack with GC riders at 5’25”, except for Kwiatkowski who was dropped.

Just under the top Kiryienka is reeled in and Rodríguez took all mountain points at Col de Val Louron-Azet. Four riders were dropped, the group upfront is 18 riders strong, the most interesting being polka dot jersey-contenders Rodríguez and Majka plus GC top-10 riders Mollema and Rolland. Nibali et all are 2’41” behind.

The GC riders up the pace and one of the victims is Leopold König, so after Kwiatkowski another top-10 contender in trouble. In the descent Bardet attacks to put pressure on Pinot – a lesser descender. His gain grows to half a minute.

On the lower slopes of Pla d’Adet Rolland opens fire and Visconti, Roche and Moinard react. Visconti goes solo and from the remains of the break Majka attacks and joins Roche, Rolland and Moinard. After a small rest the young Pole goes on to reach Visconti.

Down the road Valverde is dropped when Pinot ups the pace. The other GC riders react and they are to join Bardet. They are 2 minutes down on Visconti and Majka.

With 5 kilometres left Nibali attacks and only Péraud is strong enough to stay at his wheel. The two of them swallow Van den Broeck, Rodríguez and other dropped riders from the break. At 3 kilometres under the top they pass the Mollema group, whilst Valverde manages to recover and with the help of teammates from the early break he heads to Pinot, Bardet and Van Garderen.

When Majka regains his breath he soloes on to take his second mountain victory in the 2014 Tour. Visconti comes in second at half a minute and Nibali takes time as per usual in the mountains. With his hors catégorie win at Pla d’Adet Majka cements his lead in the mountains classification.

With his performance Mollema is seventh in the GC, passing  König, Kwiatkowski and his team-mate Ten Dam.

Tour de France 2014 stage 17: Images and more

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Rafal Majka

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