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PostPosted: 09 Mar 2018, 22:34 
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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. Charley Taylor Jersey . 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 races entree to the Alps when Nibali won, the Pole and the Italian crossed one-two after the 177-kilometre (110-mile) ride over the 2,360-meter (7,742-foot) Izoard pass -- the races highest point -- and a final ascent up to Risoul ski station. Majkas 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 dItalia this year, said of his first professional victory after chucking his stage winners 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 "youll do the Tour, but youll take it easy in the first week," he said. "Its also wrong to think that Im doing the Tour because Roman Kreuziger isnt. 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 Spains Joaquim Rodriguez, the Tours 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 kilometres alone. The stage didnt shake up the top five standings, but the days 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. Nibalis 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 Nibalis Astana team and an Italian cycling veteran, said Nibalis "big engine" was making the difference: "Its what makes the difference between a very strong rider and a regular rider." "Preparation, team strategy, thats all good. But its 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 didnt crack!" and explained that his trouble stemmed mainly from bad co-ordination 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 Armstrongs winning teams. "Ive never met him personally. Ive 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 didnt exist." Sundays stage offers some relief after the Alps: Stage 15 is a flat 222 kilometres (138 miles) from Tallard to Nimes, before riders take the second rest day. Joe Theismann Jersey . I kind of got a taste of being able to pick a suit with the draft lottery, I went with the bow tie. Sonny Jurgensen Jersey . 22. Wade averaged 26.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.0 steals while leading the Heat to a 3-0 record. The 31-year-old shot 60 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range en route to his 17th weekly honor. http://www.theredskinsshoponline.com/Youth-Will-Compton-Redskins-Jersey/ . Acclaimed by world football leaders but held in contempt by many football fans. Blatter should arrive at the Itaquerao stadium in Sao Paulo to watch host Brazil play Croatia confident that this tournament -- his fifth as president -- wont be his last leading the worlds favourite sport.A funny thing about the Tour de France is that it can give its competitors the most fabulous terrain to ride over, but it cannot force them to race. Instead of being the very tricky day full of traps and surprises that Tour teams feared and organizers hoped for, Stage Three of the 100th edition proved to be a bit of a dud: 10 out of 10 visually, with some of the most stunning coastal scenery ever visited by the 110-year-old race, but barely 2 out of 10 for drama. In fact, as pretty as Corsica -- Frances "island of beauty" -- was, riders were just as happy to whiz past it. "Twisty roads like that along the coast, stunning scenery, and Im sure it made for great shots from the helicopter," said race favourite Chris Froome. "But thats not what we were interested in." So be it. In a three-week test of endurance, its simply physically impossible for every stage to be a classic and provide great excitement. There are days, like on Monday, when the peloton decides the priority is to get from A to B safely, get back to the hotel, massage, eat and sleep. To have success at the Tour, you first have to survive it. "The race is always what the riders make of it," the Tour director, Christian Prudhomme, said philosophically. Jan Bakelants was happy. The Belgian rider started the day in the yellow jersey that he won with a clever and gutsy spurt of riding on Sunday, and he will wear it again for at least another day, during the team time trial on Stage Four on Tuesday. The teams will race against the clock, heading off one after the other in aerodynamic helmets, on a pancake-flat, 25-kilometre course in Nice, past the coastal towns airport and along its famous beachside avenue, the Promenade des Anglais. With that very technical and quick ordeal awaiting them, and because coastal headwinds slowed the riders, none of the 21 other teams could be bothered to really try hard to take the lead on Monday from Bakelants. His RadioShack teammates did a grand job of protecting him. They rode much of the stage at the front of the pack, not letting breakaway riders get too far ahead and discouraging other teams from any thoughts of making a concerted assault. Their management of the stage helped make for dull racing -- but it kept Bakelants in yellow. "We never panicked," he said. "We managed the gaps." But Tuesday will more than likely be his last day in the leaders precious jersey. There are 71 riders just one second behind him in the standings. One of them on a team that time trials better than RadioShack will be in yellow next. "We have good riders but haventt really trained for the team time trial," said Bakelants. Preston Smith Jersey. . "It will be tough to keep the jersey, but Ive already had it two days and thats special ... Its extraordinary to have worn it." At the end of the stage, in the final 15 kilometres, the racing picked up. Several riders tried and failed to get away from the chasing pack. It came down to a sprint in the last 500 metres. Simon Gerrans, an Australian, threw his front wheel over the line just before Peter Sagan, a Slovakian. Ryder Hesjedal of Victoria is in 26th spot overall, while David Velleux of Cap-Rouge, Que., is 117th, and Svein Tuft of Langley, B.C., is back in 170th. On paper, Stage Three looked daunting: 145.5 kilometres of narrow roads as sinewy as a blood vessel, with very little flat. On television, the coves, the white beaches and cliffs plunging into turquoise seas looked incredible. The riders strung out like a necklace of coloured pearls as they sped along the coastline on a succession of bends so twisty that, among those who rode the route by car, they made queasy mush of iron stomachs. That is why Corsica paid the Tour to come here: To make it look good. The island gave three million euros to the Tours owners for the right to host the first three stages of the 100th edition, and paid another two million euros in other expenses, said Paul Giacobbi, who heads the regional government. That bought "hours and hours and hours" of worldwide television coverage and "one billion spectators," he said. The logistics were complicated. The Tour was transporting itself on seven ships back across the Mediterranean to the French mainland overnight on Monday so it could continue less than 24 hours later on Stage Four, in Nice. After Mondays trek from the port of Ajaccio, two planes whisked the riders quickly away from the finish in Calvi, so they would sleep in hotels on the French coast that same night. This was the Tours first visit to Corsica. Both came away happy. Prudhomme, the race director, said viewing figures in France for the Corsican leg of the race are the highest theyve been in a decade. "That is because of the 100th edition and the beauty of Corsica," he said. Not that Froome and the other contenders for overall victory much cared. They were happy simply to be heading back in one piece to the French mainland -- where the Tour will be decided on stages in the Pyrenees and Alps far more decisive than anything Corsica could offer. "Im quite relieved to be heading off Corsica now," said Froome. "Hopefully, the race will settle down a little bit." Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '


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