Thursday, March 5, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Majka earns Pole position on Tour’s 14th stage

APTOPIX Cycling Tour de France

Poland's Rafal Majka crosses the finish line to win the fourteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 177 kilometers (110 miles) with start in Grenoble and finish in Risoul, France, Saturday, July 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

By
From page B1 | July 20, 2014 |

RISOUL, France — Panting hard with his jersey unzipped and wide open in the heat, Polish rider Rafal Majka sped to a solo breakaway victory on Stage 14 as the Tour de France wrapped up its foray in the Alps on Saturday.

The two stages were expected to shake up the standings, but Vincenzo Nibali was not only still wearing the yellow jersey, he was farther out front.

In a flip of their finishes a day earlier in the race’s entree to the Alps when Nibali won, the Pole and the Italian crossed one-two after the 177-kilometer (110-mile) ride over the 2,360-meter (7,742-foot) Izoard pass — the race’s highest point — and a final ascent up to Risoul ski station.

Majka’s victory was the first on this Tour by his Tinkoff-Saxo Bank team, which lost main leader Alberto Contador when he crashed out injured on Stage 10.

Majka was not a threat to Nibali: He began the day 97 minutes behind the race leader, who has carried out a methodical, chipping-away strategy against his biggest challengers for the yellow jersey.

“I am really very happy,” Majka, who was sixth in the Giro d’Italia this year, said of his first professional victory after chucking his stage winner’s bouquet to the crowd. He became only the second Polish rider to win a Tour stage, after Zenon Jaskula in 1993. “I am a little tired, but … I had a calm first week to help Alberto. It broke my heart to see him leave.”

Team owner Oleg Tinkov, a Russian businessman, choked up, wiped his nose, and put on sunglasses.

“We lost Alberto, we had to win,” he said through a translator on French TV. “Rafal is a marvelous young rider. We will come back to try to win the Tour one day.”

Majka said he did not believe speculation that Tinkoff-Saxo Bank selected him among its nine Tour riders only after the team suspended Czech rider Roman Kreuziger. Just days before announcing its Tour roster last month, the team suspended Kreuziger from competing any more this year because of anomalies in his biological passport, which cycling officials use to fight doping. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Majka, who said he was tired after the strong Giro performance, said he was given assurances by team managers that “you’ll do the Tour, but you’ll take it easy in the first week,” he said. “It’s also wrong to think that I’m doing the Tour because Roman Kreuziger isn’t. Had he been able to start, we would have both been part of the team.”

Victor Petri, a team spokesman, confirmed Majka was in contention for a roster spot before the Kreuziger case.

The Pole was out front early in the stage, joining a 17-rider breakaway behind Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez, the Tour’s best climber. They cleared the first big climb, the Lauteret pass, with about a five-minute lead. By the top of the Izoard, they had thinned to 10. As the groupetto splintered on the last climb, and Nibali and the peloton closed in, Majka covered the last eight kilometers alone.

The stage didn’t shake up the top five standings, but the day’s biggest loser was Alejandro Valverde of Spain: The Movistar team leader held on to his second place but lost a minute to Nibali and saw his gap over third-place Romain Bardet of France slip to 13 seconds. Overall, Nibali leads Valverde by 4:37 and Bardet by 4:50. American Tejay van Garderen was fifth, 5:49 back.

Nibali’s strong performance makes the Tour from here to the finish in eight days in Paris looking more and more like a race for podium spots below him.

Giuseppe Martinelli, a manager with Nibali’s Astana team and an Italian cycling veteran, said Nibali’s “big engine” was making the difference: “It’s what makes the difference between a very strong rider and a regular rider.”

“Preparation, team strategy, that’s all good. But it’s the engine that makes the difference in times like this,” Martinelli added.

Nibai crossed 24 seconds behind Majka, followed by Jean-Christophe Peraud in third, two seconds slower. Bardet and fellow French rider Thibaut Pinot conducted a two-man sprint and crossed another 24 seconds back. Van Garderen was fifth, 54 seconds behind.

“From the team car, I was told: ‘If you still have something in the tank, go for it,'” Nibali said. “I was looking at gaining some time over Alejandro Valverde. I heard that he cracked after I left him.”

Valverde, speaking from a team car, said “I didn’t crack!” and explained that his trouble stemmed mainly from bad coordination with Pinot on the final climb and taking leadership of their bunch. As for the overall title chase, Valverde said: “Nibali is the strongest, but we others are neck and neck.”

Nibali addressed speculation that he might have known Michele Ferrari, an Italian doctor who was banned by the Italian Cycling Federation in 2002 and by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency two years ago for serving as a doping consultant on Lance Armstrong’s winning teams.

“I’ve never met him personally. I’ve been accused in the past to have worked with him,” said Nibali, referring to allegations that there were photographs of him together with Ferrari. “Those pictures simply didn’t exist.”

Sunday’s stage offers some relief after the Alps: Stage 15 is a flat 222 kilometers (138 miles) from Tallard to Nimes, before riders take the second rest day.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Show resilience in the face of adversity

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

 
Students sample industry choices during school career fair

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Real McCoy II Ferry set for maintenance

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

 
Vacaville police slate annual awards ceremony

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

Limited damage to apartment from carport fire

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Red Carpet Gala to benefit theater foundation

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

Pet remembrance event set in Vallejo

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Friday concert benefits Families Helping Families

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Vallejo police arrest 4 in connection with 3 killings

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

 
National Red Cross Month celebrates heroes

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Il Fiorello schedules citrus class

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Jury convicts ex-con who served as own lawyer

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4

 
Suisun City police log: Tuesday, March 3, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Fairfield police log: Tuesday, March 3, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
.

US / World

Justices sharply divided over health care law subsidies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
 
California lawmaker pushes child care worker vaccinations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Children in Southern California breathing easier, study says

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Failures by 3 governments preceded homeless man’s death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Second Los Angeles hospital reports ‘superbug’ infections

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

A defiant Alabama regains ground against gay marriage

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
How much sugar is in that? 7 foods with added sugar

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Obama signs Homeland Security funding bill into law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

House panel issues subpoena for Clinton’s personal emails

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
 
Microsoft co-founder says he found sunken Japan WWII warship

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Coal mine blast kills at least 24 in war-torn east Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

.

Living

Today in History: March 5, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 5, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: March 5, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
I can’t tell if I still want to be married, or just don’t want to be alone

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

DiCaprio partners with Netflix for series of documentaries

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ tops MTV Movie Awards nominations

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Glen Campbell children fighting wife’s control of affairs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
.

Sports

 
Posey has 2-run double in Giants’ 9-2 loss to A’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Local report: Vanden softball slips by Rodriguez with late run

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Curry shoots Warriors to 102-93 victory over Bucks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
NFL stadium supporters in LA suburb file ballot paperwork

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Alex Johnson, AL batting champ in 1970, dies at age 72

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Goodell: NFL responsible for Super Bowl seating problems

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Former player Nate Jackson calls for NFL to allow marijuana

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Phoenix to install tire barriers before NASCAR visit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Pirelli sticks with same tire choices for first 4 F1 races

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
AP Source: Peyton Manning returning for 18th NFL season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NCAA reports big jump in home runs with new flat-seam ball

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
MLS, players agree in principle to 5-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Prosecutors can’t bring up Florida shooting in ex-NFLer case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Vikings agree to trade Cassel to Bills

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Scott opens a season of change at Doral

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
‘It WAS him': Defense admits Tsarnaev bombed Boston Marathon

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

With Peterson’s status in question, Vikings pay a visit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Thelma A. Roche

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Cesar Luis Garcia-Regalado

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Rodolfo Landabora Porquez

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Aaron D. Malave

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

.

Comics

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9