Poland’s Rafal Majka won stage 14 of the tour de France on Saturday following a 177 km mountainous trek from Grenoble to Risoul.
The second day in the Alps featured three gruelling climbs – one leg burning hors category climb flanked by two category one’s towards the end of the ride.
It was a stage set up nicely for the breaks.
Tour de France rookie Majka of the Tinkoff-Saxo team was part of an early escape group consisting of some 40 riders including race leader Vincenzo Nibali and his principle rival Alejandro Valverde.
After Majka pulled away from the remnants of that group with just under 10km to go Nibali made his move and in a show of devastating power with four kilometres remaining.
Majka meanwhile had raced up the final climb of the day, the Category 1 hairpin ascent to the ski station south of Risoul, at 1,855 metres.
The 24-year-old went on to celebrate a solo win and his first career victory in cycling’s most prestigous race.
It was also some consolation for his Tinkoff team who earlier in the edition lost title contender and two-time champion Alberto Contador – who fractured his tibia in a fall.
Italian Nibali meanwhile cross over the line in second place while Frenchman Jean-Christophe Peraud of the Ag2r-La Mondiale team took third.
Nibali’s second place finish increased his overall race lead to four minutes and 37 seconds over Valverde who was tenth on the day.
Romain Bardet of France is third a further 13 seconds adrift.
Stage 15 is one for the sprinters as its a 222 kilometre flat ride into Nîmes.
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