The Lotto-Belisol rider, who spent Monday’s stage in the race leader’s jersey, crossed the line just ahead of a depleted bunch after successfully escaping in the closing kilometres.
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John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) and Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) led in the group for second and third just yards behind the escapee.
Gallopin’s winning move came in the streets of the finishing town with 2.7km of 187.km stage from Besancon remaining. As Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) all looked at each other, the 26 year-old quickly opened a margin and powered to the line.
Gallopin, had initially made an attack with 13km to go as the lead bunch tackled the final unclassified climb in a series of stingers that littered the final 50km through the Ain department. Although he stayed clear for the best part of 10km, Rogers, Sagan and Kwiatowski bridged across to him on the high speed descent into town, before he attacked again on a short rise.
In involving himself in this move, Sagan -celebrating his girlfriend’s birthday- appeared to throw away a third stage tailor made for him. On the hilly run-ins to Sheffield and Nancy, he had employed similar tactics without success. After the lead bunch swept up the three chasers, Sagan could only finish ninth today.
While earlier parts of the stage were noted for the return of some summery weather to the Tour, a long breakaway comprising Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling), Cyril Lemon (Cofidis) and Anthony Delaplace (Bretagne-Seche Environment) and some aggressive riding in the final hills by Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), the other big story of the day was the plight of Andrew Talansky.
The Garmin team leader was dropped in the final 100km and was ready to climb off at the 60km to go mark. But stopped by the roadside in tears, the American -whose GC hopes have been dashed by two crashes in the past week- was encouraged to keep going alone at the back. To appreciative applause, he eventually finished 32 minutes down.
The only change in the top ten was World Champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) dropping back from eighth, making way for Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol). Consequently Welshman Geraint Thomas (Sky) also climbs a place to 13th overall.
Tour de France 2014, stage 11: Besancon to Oyonnax, 187.5km
1. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Belisol in 4h 25m 45s
2. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano
3. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
4. Danielle Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo
5. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
6. Jose Joaquim Rojas (Spa) Movistar
7. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
8. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2r
9. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
10. Kevin Reza (Fra) Europcar
19. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky
20. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana all same time
94. Simon Yates (Orica-Greenedge) at 10-56
Overall classification after stage 11
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana
2. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky at 2-23
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 2-47
4. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r at 3-01
5. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Belisol at 3-12
6. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 3-47
7. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing at 3-56
8. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r at 3-57
9. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 4-08
10. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at 4-18
13. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky at 5-17
114. Simon Yates (Orica-Greenedge) at 1-31-02