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Stage 11: Gallopin Makes Good

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Lotto-Belisol rider completes transitional stage coup

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Bryn Lennon

Tony Gallopin of Lotto-Belisol stole away from the peloton on a small riser with 13 kilometers remaining to set up a final breakaway, leading to victory in Stage 11 of the Tour de France, just ahead of a charging field. Gallopin, who apparently reconnoitered this somewhat inconspicuous stage with designs on a win, made good on his plans with the assault, which initially left him just ahead of the field. Inside the final 4km he was joined by none other than current Maillot Vert Peter Sagan of Cannondale, who also had designs on the stage. Along with Michael Kwiatkowski of Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Tinkoff-Saxo's Michael Rogers, the foursome remained clear of the peloton and began plotting final victory. Sagan's presence meant someone had to try something, and once more it was Gallopin, accelerating away with under 2km remaining. The three chasers never got close, and only the peloton, swallowing all chasers in its path, threatened Gallopin, coming home a mere second after the Frenchman raised his arms and crossed the line in victory.

Much of the stage's dramatic portion consisted of tracking Garmin-Sharp's Andrew Talansky, who once again succumbed to the pain of bruises and lost skin, falling off the pace as the stage entered its second half, dotted by short climbs through the Jura region of eastern France. At one point Talansky climbed off his bike and appeared ready to withdraw, but somehow he mustered the will to continue, demonstrating not merely his own fortitude but the difficulty any rider faces regarding quitting the Tour de France. So much time and energy goes into preparing, and riders suffer greatly at the thought of that being for naught. The time cut may have briefly threatened Talansky, but ultimately he made it home 32 minutes in arrears, having ridden 90km solo.

John Degenkolb led home the charging peloton for second place, denying Sagan much of a bonus in points, though with 301 to his credit, nearly double second-place Bryan Coquard (164), it's stages that matter to the Slovakian now. World Champion Rui Costa lost time and fell out of the top ten, allowing several riders to move up a spot on GC. Gallopin, to his great credit, lies fifth overall, to go along with his stage win and brief tour in Yellow. Not a bad week for him, or French cycling, which gains its second stage win of the Tour after AG2R's Blel Kadri won last Friday.

Results:

1. FRAGALLOPIN Tony 134 LOTTO-BELISOL 04h 25' 45''
2. GERDEGENKOLB John 104 TEAM GIANT-SHIMANO 04h 25' 45'' + 00' 00''
3. ITATRENTIN Matteo 79 OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 04h 25' 45'' + 00' 00''
4. ITABENNATI Daniele 32 TINKOFF-SAXO 04h 25' 45'' + 00' 00''
5. AUSGERRANS Simon 181 ORICA GREENEDGE 04h 25' 45'' + 00' 00''
6. ESPROJAS GIL José Joaquin 18 MOVISTAR TEAM 04h 25' 45'' + 00' 00''
7. BELVAN AVERMAET Greg 148 BMC RACING TEAM 04h 25' 45'' + 00' 00''
8. FRADUMOULIN Samuel 84 AG2R LA MONDIALE 04h 25' 45'' + 00' 00''
9. SVKSAGAN Peter 51 CANNONDALE 04h 25' 45'' + 00' 00''
10. FRAREZA Kévin 158 TEAM EUROPCAR 04h 25' 45'' + 00' 00''

GC:

1. ITANIBALI Vincenzo 41 ASTANA PRO TEAM 46h 59' 23''
2. AUSPORTE Richie 7 TEAM SKY 47h 01' 46'' + 02' 23''
3. ESPVALVERDE BELMONTE Alejandro 11 MOVISTAR TEAM 47h 02' 10'' + 02' 47''
4. FRABARDET Romain 82 AG2R LA MONDIALE 47h 02' 24'' + 03' 01''
5. FRAGALLOPIN Tony 134 LOTTO-BELISOL 47h 02' 35'' + 03' 12''
6. FRAPINOT Thibaut 127 FDJ.FR 47h 03' 10'' + 03' 47''
7. USAVAN GARDEREN Tejay 141 BMC RACING TEAM 47h 03' 19'' + 03' 56''
8. FRAPÉRAUD Jean-Christophe 81 AG2R LA MONDIALE 47h 03' 20'' + 03' 57''
9. NEDMOLLEMA Bauke 61 BELKIN PRO CYCLING 47h 03' 31'' + 04' 08''
10. BELVAN DEN BROECK Jurgen 131 LOTTO-BELISOL 47h 03' 41'' + 04' 18''