Fans all over the world have watched with amazement, and incredulity as the Italian Vincenzo Nibali has pushed past all his competitors to assert his dominance. The “Shark of Messina’s” last minute surge to the top of the Hautacam was just too much for some.
Nibali showed the world that he really is the best overall rider in the Tour, surviving the cobblestones, the sprints, the climbs and now fourth overall in the time trial. Stage winner Tony Martin, German time trial champion won the course easily, with Tom Dumoulin, 2014 Dutch champion coming in second and Jan Barta third.
The last flat stage of the Tour before the penultimate time trial offered up the best that the Tour has to offer today– a lovely surprise ending where the sprinters just could not get to the finish line in time to grab the victory from a plucky breakaway rider from Garmin Sharp named Ramunas Navardauskas.
The incident called “Bikegate,” has become the subject of conspiracy theorists who used reconstructed photos of video and other photos they found on the Internet to prove or disprove the idea that either Contador’s bike snapped when it hit a rock, or snapped when he crashed–or neither. A quick search for the top bicycle and parts manufacturers on the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission recall site, shows that almost all major brands have had some safety recall in the past two years.
After roughing it out over three big climbs in the Pyrenees, Michael Rogers rode ahead of a small break group into Bagneres de Luchon, capturing the stage win. It was his first ever stage win in the Tour de France, and in the 10 Tours he has ridden.
It was perhaps one more check off for the Australian and his Tinkoff-Saxo team who lost their leader Alberto Contador after a crash that forced him to abandon the Tour with a broken tibia.
Polish rider Rafal Majka won his first ever stage in his first ever Tour de France today, at the ripe age of 24. With the top GC contenders out of the Tour this year, all kinds of changes in the top winners have taken place, and the increasing importance of Polish and French riders has been one of them
After riding through most of stage 11 in intense pain Talansky was later diagnosed with acute sacroiliitis – an inflammation of the sacroiliac joint, which connects the iliac bone, in the pelvis, to the spine. The Mayo Clinic identifies several causes of sacroiliitis, including most often “traumatic injury, a sudden impact, such as a motor vehicle accident or a fall, [which] can damage your sacroiliac joints.”
July 16, 2014 – Stage 11 – Besançon to Oyonnax – 187.5 km
Frenchman Tony Gallopin who lost his yellow jersey after Bastille Day, has now won stage 11 through some clever thinking and hard work at the end of a technical stage that defied prediction. His win was the result of a brave attack off the front of a four-man lead group with only 2.5 km to go. Behind him three riders refused to work together, to their detriment. Among them was Peter Sagan and Michal Kwiatkowski who both wanted to save energy for the final sprint. Instead, they lost to Gallopin. Earlier in the stage, American Andrew Talansky (Garmin) flatted, and then complaining of back pain, lost significant time to the leaders. As Gallopin crossed the finish line, Talansky was still 20 km from the finish.
“This was the hardest stage I’ve ever done in a Grand Tour, with seven climbs and so many crashes,” said Nibali who blamed rain and fog for making a hard race harder…”Shall I win the Tour, it’ll be difficult to say I win because Chris Froome and Contador have crashed. I already had a good lead and I was ready to fight in a big duel with Alberto. Crashes are part of the sport. I’ve crashed myself many times in the past as well. It’s a pity that the Tour has lost two major protagonists. I hope it’s not too bad for Alberto. I wish him the best.”
“Before pulling out, he told us that he was in an awful pain and he couldn’t go any further on his bike. It’s a pity because everything had gone well since the beginning of the Tour,” said Phillipe Mauduit, Tinkoff-Saxo director sportif. “We had a plan and today’s race was unfolding exactly as we wanted. In a fraction of a second, it all fell apart, so we’re immensely sad.”