Tour de France 2014 produced yet another new winner as Rafal Majka of the Tinkoff Saxo emerged triumphant in Stage 14 between Grenoble and Risoul. Vincenzo Nibali of the Astana followed up his Stage 13 triumph by standing second and made his position stronger as he remains the overall leader.
The 101st edition of the Tour de France is the 1st for Majka. After coming second in Stage 13 behind eventual winner and yellow jersey holder Nibali, Majka went one better on Saturday.
Majka and Nibali were neck and neck going in the closing stages. This time though the Pole was not to be denied victory as he rode like the wind in the concluding ascent, where Majka was at his attacking best as he tried to make the most of his advantage.
"In the final ascent I attacked in the first kilometers. I found myself in front, and I tried to keep my advantage," said the Pole, reported Velonews.
Team manager Bjarne Riis, a former Danish racer, spurred Majka on as he went for the jugular in the end.
The Pole incidentally dedicated his triumph to Albert Contandor. Majka found a place in the Tinkoff Saxo as he had to help star racer Contador, if the Spaniard finds himself in a winning position. But as luck would have it, Contandor was forced to exit Tour de France 2014 after a nasty crash in an earlier stage.
"This is a victory for Alberto because we came here trying to win the Tour for him," BBC Sport quoted Majka as saying.
The Stage 14 winner on his part aspires to have more wins to his name.
"This is my first victory and maybe it's not finished. If I can get in another long breakaway I can try to win another stage," he said.
Meanwhile, yellow jersey holder Nibali wanted to ensure Alejandro Valverde of the UCI ProTour Movistar team would not gain any advantage over him.
"From the team car, I was told: 'If you still have something in the tank, go for it. I was looking at gaining some time over Alejandro Valverde. I heard that he cracked after I left him," Nibali said.
Nibali managed to hold off Jean-Christophe Péraud of the Ag2r La Mondiale, who threw quite a challenge at him.
"Péraud stayed on my wheel and then sprinted! That's cycling, I suppose," said Nibali.
Stage 14 Results
1. Rafal Majka [Pol/Tinkoff Saxo]
2. Vincenzo Nibali [Ita/Astana]
3. Jean-Christophe Peraud [Fra/AG2R]
4. Thibaut Pinot [Fra/FDJ]
5. Romain Bardet [Fra/AG2R]
General Classification (GC) Standings
1. Vincenzo Nibali [Ita/Astana] 61hrs 52mins 54secs
2. Alejandro Valverde [Spa/Movistar] +4mins 37secs
3. Romain Bardet [Fra/AG2R] +4mins 50secs
4. Thibaut Pinot [Fra/FDJ] +5mins 06secs
5. Tejay van Garderen [US/BMC Racing] +5mins 49 secs