Tour de France 2014 Stage 11 gave French fans a reason to smile as Tony Gallopin of the Lotto-Belisol team emerged victorious. The last few stages have seen Gallopin prosper as in Stage 9 he won the yellow jersey from Vincenzo Nibali. Nibali took it back in Stage 10.
With 1.5 kilometres left in the race Gallopin surged ahead and stayed in front of German John Degenkolb, who finished second. Italy's Matteo Trentin came third.
The General Classification (GC) standings remain unaffected. Nibali still holds the yellow jersey and the overall lead.
Gallopin could not contain his joy as he took pole position in Stage 11. "It's unbelievable," he was quoted as saying by BBC Sport.
Winning the yellow jersey on Sunday had left him over the moon whereas losing it on Monday had left him utterly displeased." Two days ago I was in yellow and it was the best day of my life. Then the next day I lost it and I was suffering," said the Frenchman.
As five kilometres were left, Nicholas-Roche of the Tinkoff-Saxo team and Peter Sagan, the green jersey holder, of Cannondale did pose a stiff challenge, however they could not sustain the momentum.
Roche's Tinkoff-Saxo teammate Michael Rogers and Michal Kwiatkowski of Omega Pharma-Quick Step slowed down when they could have attacked Gallopin. The Frenchman, as a result, raced ahead to come out victorious as he received constant encouragement from his team.
"I saw they were not organised in the group, I went again and they were saying 'go go go' over the radio to me," he said.
Andrew Talansky of the Garmin-Sharp team, thought to be a dark horse, risked exiting the tour. With 80 kilometres the peloton had moved well in front of him. Thereater he conferred with Garmin-Sharp manager Robbie Hunter about whether to retire from Tour de France 2014 altogether, however he decided against it. By the time he managed to end the race he was in tears.
"He thought that maybe it was time to stop the Tour. He sat down and got the motion out of it and thought about it, and decided to continue to the finish," said Hunter, reported Velonews.com.
Talansky, who is racing with a neck injury, has lost a lot of time.