Rafal Majka has a good time winning Tour de France’s 17th stage

On a final of 4 Pyrenees ascents, Rafal Majka winked during a French TV camera and tugged playfully during a motorcycle’s antenna.

Even this late in a Tour de France, a Polish supplement done winning demeanour easy as he took Stage 17 on Wednesday.

For Vincenzo Nibali, a second float in a plateau on France’s limit with Spain was some-more serious. “The Shark” nibbled nonetheless some-more seconds divided from several of his closest challengers, and a yellow jersey that he’s ragged for all though dual days of this competition seemed to fit usually a small some-more firmly forward of Sunday’s competition finish in Paris.

Nibali was even professional with his possess primary minister, imploring him not to get too forward of himself in celebration.

Related story: Vincenzo Nibali binds gentle lead in Tour de France

“It’s loyal that we perceived a content summary from Matteo Renzi, who invited me to Chigi Palace to applaud my victory,” pronounced a discreet Sicilian of a premier’s central residence. “I replied that usually after winning — if we do so — I’ll be means to contend that I’ll be present.”

Wednesday’s 77-mile trek was a shortest theatre in this year’s Tour. It lonesome 3 tough Category 1 ascents from Saint-Gaudens and a final pull adult to Pla d’Adet ski hire above a city of Saint-Lary-Soulan.

Majka, who also won Stage 14 in a Alps, again showed he’s a best traveller in this Tour and tightened his reason on a polka dot jersey, that is awarded to a race’s King of a Mountains.

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Giovanni Visconti got a movement going on a final climb, though his solo breakaway with about 5 1/2 miles left could not reason off Majka. Visconti, who is also Sicilian, was second, 29 seconds back, and Nibali was third, 46 seconds behind.

With a final Pyrenean day forward Thursday, Majka could safeguard that he takes a red-dot jersey home. His closest opposition for it when a theatre started was Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez, who swatted a atmosphere in disappointment during Majka when a Pole pennyless divided on a final climb.

Majka pronounced he felt “comfort” in a final 5 kilometers in partial given he’d been saving adult appetite a day progressing by roving easier. He finished in a garland 24 1/2 mins behind Australian teammate Michael Rogers, who won Stage 16.

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Related story: Kristoff wins Tour de France’s 15th stage; Nibali maintains lead Associated Press Alexander Kristoff of Norway prisoner his second theatre win of this year’s Tour de France by streamer home a container that overtook dual breakaway riders with usually about 50 meters to go in a thespian finish to Stage 15 on Sunday. Alexander Kristoff of Norway prisoner his second theatre win of this year’s Tour de France by streamer home a container that overtook dual breakaway riders with usually about 50 meters to go in a thespian finish to Stage 15 on Sunday. ( Associated Press ) –>

By Wednesday, “I felt really, unequivocally good in a final climb,” Majka said, after drumming his chest, thrusting his arms skyward and cheering in fun during a victory. “For me, when there are a lot of climbs, it’s a best.”

There was a time when clearly free victories smacked of something some-more sinister during a Tour: a use of performance-enhancers.

Few know a scars of cycling’s doping past some-more than Majka’s possess manager during a Tinkoff-Saxo Bank team, Bjarne Riis. Once a inhabitant favourite in Denmark after winning a 1996 Tour, he certified to regulating blood-booster EPO some-more than a decade after — and was vilified for it. He laid low for a while, though afterwards returned to a pro cycling world.

“I betrothed Bjarne currently that we would win a stage,” pronounced Majka.

The echoes of doping resonated Wednesday on a grassy Pyrenean mountainside: The final times that Saint-Lary-Soulan hosted a Tour theatre finishes were in 2001 and 2005 — won by Lance Armstrong and teammate George Hincapie. Those wins were after nude given of doping. Their names have been crossed out in a central Tour story book.

Cycling has done good strides in fighting doping with extended blood and urine testing, along with a biological pass program, though few experts would explain that a peloton currently is wholly clean.

Nibali, who has called himself a “flag-bearer of anti-doping”, done his latest box to turn a initial Italian to win cycling’s showcase competition in 16 years — given Marco Pantani, who was once convicted for doping.

Nibali gained usually underneath a notation on 4 of his closest rivals. Second-placed Alejandro Valverde of Spain, who done a intrepid liberation on a final climb to equivocate even some-more damage, now trails by 5 minute, 26 seconds.

The difference was Jean-Christophe Peraud of France, who hugged closely on a leader’s behind circle and finished fourth. With his performance, a 37-year-old Frenchman done it an even closer competition for a lectern spots. He is fourth overall, 6:08 behind Nibali, though usually 8 seconds slower than associate Frenchman Thibaut Pinot, in third.

American Tejay outpost Garderen, in sixth, also mislaid about a notation to Nibali and now trails by 10:19. It came a day after his hopes for a lectern mark were dealt a large blow when he mislaid several mins to a other aspirants for a top-3 finish in Paris.

“Yesterday was a pity, it was an off day,” a BMC personality said. A lectern mark is still possible, he added, “but it will be hard.”

Stage 18′s culmination in a Pyrenees takes a container on a 90-mile loop from Pau to Hautacam, featuring dual ascents that are so tough that they challenge cycling’s ranking complement — one of them an ascending finish.

Then it’s a prosaic theatre streamer northward Friday before an particular time-trial a day later, and afterwards what’s expected to be a mostly rite float for a yellow jersey in Stage 21 on Sunday to a Champs-Elysees in Paris for a finish of this 101st Tour edition.

While well-positioned to be in yellow then, Nibali was still aggressive Wednesday.

“I elite to go and benefit a few some-more seconds and to be even some-more serene, usually in box something could happen,” he said.

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