Tour de France 2014: Rafal Majka Gets Back-to-back Win for Team Tinkoff-Saxo on Stage 17
By Ma Evelyn Castino Quilas | July 24, 2014 1:31 PM EST
Poland's Rafal Majka of Team Tinkoff got the back-to-back win on stage 17 of Tour de France 2014. He received his polka dot jersey with 149 points standing after a sensational performance in the quest for the King of the Mountains.
Race leader Astana team rider Vincenzo Nibali of Italy (L) and best climber Tinkoff-Saxo rider Rafal Majka of Poland, compete in the 124.5km 17th stage of the Tour de France cycle race between Saint-Gaudens and Saint-Lary Pla d'Adet, July 23, 2014.
The 24-year old athlete beats the Italian Giovanni Visconti of Team Movistar by just 29 seconds lead on Tour de France's shortest road stage of 125 kilometers. While Italy's Vincenzo Nibali of Team Astana landed on the third spot and retained his yellow jersey. He also extended his impressive lead in the general classification.
France' Jean-Christophe Peraud of Team AG2R finished at the same time with Nibali and secured the fourth spot. While the Italian Alessandro De Marchi of Team Cannondale rounded up the top five slot.
Speaking on ITV4, Majka expressed his thanks to his team. "Thank you to my team. Also Nicolas [Roche] did a great job today. I'm really happy to go in the front, pass everybody and win the stage," he stated. Majra recognised that that the Tuesday race of stage 16 was easy. "Now I have the polka dot jersey and I want to keep it until Paris."
Stage 17 which spans from Saint Gaudens to Pla d'Adet above Saint-Lary-Soulan was defined by four crucial Pyrenean mountains that made up one of the most challenging days in the course of three weeks race.
With only 166 riders remaining in the race from the original 198 who started from Leeds, UK on July 5, Miami Herald mentioned some enduring superstitious beliefs in the cycling arena called "curse of the prince's handshake." The Web site stated that all five athletes who shook hands with Prince William and Duchess Kate Winslet at the beginning of the Tour de France in Leeds were all out of the race.
Mark Cavendish of Omega Pharma-Quick Step is still on his road to recovery after he crashed out on stage 1 while Andy Schleck of Trek Factory Racing also suffered a knee injury after a crash in stage 3. Kenya's Chris Froome of Team Sky had also abandoned the race on stage 5 after he suffered multiple crashes.
Spain's Alberto Contador of Tinkoff-Saxo endured a broken leg in stage 10 and was also out of the race. Then just before stage 16 began, Lampre-Merida's Rui Costa was out of the race after he suffered pneumonia.
With the polka dot jersey, Rafal Majka has given himself a great chance as he sets for Tour de France's stage 18.
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