Tour de France 2014: Tony Gallopin wins stage, Nibali retains lead

The peloton passes by The Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans, a UNESCO World Heritage site near Besançon on Stage 11. Photo: ASO/B.Bade
The peloton passes by The Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans, a UNESCO World Heritage site near Besançon on Stage 11. Photo: ASO/B.Bade

SAN DIEGO, July 17, 2014 – The sun finally came out for Stage 11 of the 2014 Tour de France after the rest day, a long stage with rolling

French rider Tony Gallopin of Lotto Belisol lost the yellow jersey on Bastille Day, and decided he liked it enough to fight to wear it again. He stayed with the peloton until the last three miles, and waged several attacks to deliver his first outright stage victory of the Tour. Gallopin hasn’t been one of the bigger names on the Tour, but his confidence has gotten a new boost from his performance today.

“I have an inferiority complex in relation to the best riders… From the team car, I heard ‘go’ a few times, and ‘don’t look back’ but I did with 100 metres to go. That’s when I realized. It was fantastic! It could sound pretentious but I’m not surprised by my performances at the Tour de France. I’ve always had the confidence of my relatives and my team.

“I’m often in the shadow of the big names but I was expecting to come out of it. It’s a dream come true. I’ve experienced so mixed feelings in a couple of days: I was over the moon when I took the yellow jersey, the next day was a nightmare on the bike and now I’m a Tour de France stage winner. It’s incredible.”

Tony Gallopin of Lotto Belisol wins Stage 11. Photo: ASO/B.Bade
Tony Gallopin of Lotto Belisol wins Stage 11. Photo: ASO/B.Bade

Sometimes the bigger story isn’t about the rider who finishes first, but the rider who finishes last. After he won the Critérium du Dauphiné, hopes were high for American Andrew Talansky to perform equally well at the 2014 Tour de France. But he suffered two serious crashes during the first week of the race. During today’s Stage 11, he dropped off the back of the peloton, and it seemed he was suffering from serious back pain. He finally stopped at the side of the road, and had a discussion with Team Garmin-Sharp team leader Robbie Hunter, himself a former cyclist recently retired. Talansky decided to continue after a few minutes.

Then it became a matter of finishing within the time limit, which is an added percentage of the total time of the stage. Talansky made it the last 35 miles with a few minutes to spare.

Garmin Sharp team director Charly Wegelius praised Talansky for pressing on.

“We know he had a very hard day, worse than we expected. We were hoping for the stage to go better than this. Unfortunately, that’s the way it was. We can be content that he went that far. He did not want to give up. It’s typical of cyclists but even more so of Andrew. He deserved much better.

“It’s very disappointing to come to this race with the kind of of expectations that Andrew had. He deserved much better than this, so that’s cruel.  It came from these two crashes in two days. He needed some reassurance from Robbie (Hunter) about the situation he was in. Robbie talked him to the finish line.  For someone with this character it’s only natural to make it to the finish line.”

If it was any other bike race, Talansky might have quit, and no shame in it. But this is the Tour de France. No rider wants to regret abandoning the race and second-guessing himself when he could have finished. Talansky can be proud of his effort no matter what happens.

No change in the overall classification today. Vincenzo Nibali of Astana stays in the yellow jersey with rivals Richie Porte, Alejandro Valverde, and American Tejay Van Garderen within reach. See the entire classification here.

Peter Sagan retains the green sprinter’s jersey. He has finished in the top five on every stage of the Tour except one so far. French rider Roman Bardet kept the best young rider’s white jersey. Joaquim Rodriguez wears the King of the Mountains polka dot jersey. Nicholas Roach of Tinkoff-Saxo won the most combative rider.

Stage 12 from Bourg-en-Bresse to Saint-Etienneis a transition stage as the Tour heads for the serious mountain climbing stages. The sprinters will fight to cross the line and win this stage, but a breakaway attempt could foil their chances.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Follow the Tour de France daily in Communities Digital News.  Follow Gayle on on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +

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