Majka bags second stage win

2014-07-24 00:00

SAINT-LARY-SOULAN — Rafal Maj­ka has won his second stage of the 2014 Tour de France yesterday and also extended his lead in the King of the Mountains standings.

And the 24-year-old Pole revealed that it was his team manager Bjarne Riis’s tactical nous that helped him both win the tough 124,5 km Pyrenean stage and hold onto the polkadot jersey.

Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez had started the day just a point behind Majka in the mountains classification but picked up 24 points to Majka’s 10 over the first three first category climbs.

But the 35-year-old was nowhere to be seen when Majka crossed the line at Saint-Lary at the end of the final hors category ascent.

“Bjarne told me not to go for the King of the Mountain points [on the first three climbs], he said ‘Wait, wait, wait, you’ll get double points at the finish’,” said Majka.

Majka picked up 50 points for finishing first with Rodriguez coming over the line in 31st place, meaning the Pole now leads Vincenzo Nibali, the yellow jersey wearer, by 31 points.

Nibali extended his overall lead by 49 seconds to 5:26 ahead of Alejandro Valverde.

French veteran Jean-Christophe Peraud was the big mover among the leading six, closing to just eight seconds of Thibaut Pinot in third place as he finished alongside Nibali.

On Tuesday morning Peraud was sixth overall and more than a minute behind his team-mate Bardet in third.

But the 37-year-old has steadily climbed the standings and with one mountain stage left today — in which the epic Tourmalet and Hautacam mountains will be climbed — Peraud is in a good position to finish on the podium. He is a better time-triallist than any of those competing for a top three finish.

Stage 17 results

1. Rafal Majka (POL/TIN) 3hr 35min 23sec

2. Giovanni Visconti (ITA/MOV) at 0:29.

3. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) 0:46.

4. Jean Christophe Peraud (FRA/ALM) 0:46.

5. Alessandro De Marchi (ITA/CAN) 0:49.

Overall standings

1. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) 76hr 41min 28sec

2. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) at 5:26.

3. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) 6:00.

4. Jean Christophe Peraud (FRA/ALM) 6:08.

5. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 7:34.

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