/ Cycling

Majka marches to victory in the Pyrenees

Updated: Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 16:50 | Comments

Rafal Majka roars in delight as he crosses the finish line
Rafal Majka roars in delight as he crosses the finish line

Poland's Rafal Majka claimed his second victory of the 2014 Tour de France on stage 17 as Vincenzo Nibali further enhanced his hold on the race leader's yellow jersey.

The 124.5km route from Saint-Gaudens to Saint-Lary Pla d'Adet was a brute, with four categorised climbs including the finishing ascent where the stage result was decided.

Majka won Saturday's 14th stage to Risoul and recorded Tinkoff-Saxo's second successive Pyrenean stage win after Michael Rogers' success on Tuesday as the team's strong performance since losing leader Alberto Contador to injury continued.

Contador began the race as one of the overall favourites, but it appears no-one will challenge Nibali (Astana) for the maillot jaune now.

Nibali finished third on the stage, 46 seconds behind Majka, but crucially enhancing his advantage over his rivals for the top spot on the podium in Paris on Sunday.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) is now five minutes 26 seconds behind after finishing 49 seconds behind Nibali on Wednesday.

Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) remains third, six minutes behind Nibali, after finishing 11th, five seconds behind Valverde.

Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r La Mondiale) is eight seconds behind his fellow Frenchman, though, after finishing fourth on the day, alongside Nibali.

Thibaut and Peraud are battling to be the first Frenchman on the Tour podium in 17 years.

Ireland's Nicolas Roche came ninth on the stage, having featured prominently as the riders attacked the final climb. Overall, he is now 42nd.

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