- Tour de France
Gallopin times burst to perfection for stage 11 win
Tony Gallopin timed a late burst to perfection to win the 11th stage of the Tour de France on Wednesday but Vincenzo Nibali remains in possession of the yellow jersey.
Such was the nature of Gallopin's smash-and-grab effort that he was afforded the luxury of crossing the line of the the hilly 187.5 kilometre stage between Besancon and Oyonnax with both arms aloft as the peloton were left in his wake during the tricky descent.
The Frenchman, who had the honour of wearing yellow on Bastille Day after his stage nine win on Sunday, broke clear of a congested pack with 10km remaining and despite being caught by Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo's Mick Rogers and Michal Kwiatkowski, he mustered the faculty to push again and burst clear.
In the end, John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) crossed the line second with Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma - Quick Step) third.
Ireland's Nicolas Roche, riding without the inhibitions of having to guard Tinkoff-Saxo team-mate Alberto Contador following his withdrawal on Monday, looked to push for a stage victory of his own as he rode clear approaching the final climb over Cote d'Echallon but couldn't maintain the pace as he dropped back into the pack.
After Tuesday's rest day allowed the riders some running repairs, an early four-man break developed as the stage set out from Besancon just before midday. Jeremy Roy, Gregory Rast, Jerome Pineau and Dries Devenyns set the early pace but were soon reeled in by the peloton after just 7km.
That was until Martin Elmiger opened up a significant six-minute lead alongside Cofidis' Cyril Lemoine and Bretagne's Anthony Delaplace at the intermediate sprint point. The 11th stage is widely considered as one in which a lead can be forged on the back of that rest day but the pace was intense throughout as the speeds averaged 70km per hour.
American Andrew Talansky, who finished 10th last year, was on the verge of tears as the injuries he has suffered as a result of various crashes began to take their toll. The Garmin-Sharp rider was forced to stop of the side of the road for several minutes, clearly hindered by a back complaint but after discussions with team officials, mustered the faculty to continue without any assistance from his team mates.
Talansky finished today's stage 32 minutes and five seconds down on Gallopin, but only 11 and a half minutes behind the sprinters' group.
Elmiger, who began the day 50 minutes off yellow, claimed the two climbing points on offer at the summit of Cote de Rogna and then the two further points over Cote de Choux but was then reeled in as Gallopin took centre stage.