The 2015 Tour de France hit the Pyrenees for the second day, with a tough stage featuring ascents and descents of the Col d’Aspin and Col du Tourmalet, and a final climb to the finish in Cauterets.
Polish rider Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) attacked from an escape group to ride solo over the Tourmalet and on to the finish to claim the stage victory.
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Irishman Daniel Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) gave chase but simply could not catch the rampaging Majka, who finished last year’s Tour de France with the King of the Mountains jersey.
German national champion Emmanuel Buchmann (Bora-Argon 18) finished in third place.
Defending Tour champion Vincenzo Nibali’s torrid 2015 race continued, as the Astana leader lost more time to rivals Chris Froome (Team Sky), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), who all finished together.
Froome safely retained the race lead, and sits two minutes and 52 seconds ahead of van Garderen with Quintana in third at three minutes and nine seconds. Nibali slips out of the top 10 overall, and it looks like his Tour challenge is all but over.
Another high mountains stage in the Pyrenees awaits the riders on Thursday’s stage 12, as the battle for the yellow jersey will recommence.