Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet, France (4E Sports) – Rafal Majka of Poland ruled Stage 17 for his second stage win of the 2014 Tour de France while overall leader Vincenzo Nibali padded his lead with a third-place finish.
Majka finished the 124.5-kilometer mountain trek through the Pyrenees in three hours, 35 minutes and 23 seconds for his second stage win. He also captured Stage 14 last week in the Alps.
“I’m just so happy about this result and the results that we have accomplished in the last couple of days,” said Majka, who owns the polka dot jersey as the leader in the mountains classification.
Heading up the final ascent of the Pla d’Adet, Italy’s Giovanni Visconti was ahead but Majka caught him with four kilometers left. With 2 ½ kilometers left, the Polish rider took off and was unchallenged until the finish line.
Visconti was 29 seconds behind in second place while Nibali finished 45 seconds behind the winner.
Starting the day with an advantage of four minutes and 37 seconds over Alejandro Valverde, Nibali is now ahead by 5:26 over the Spaniard, who finished 10th.
“I’ve got a nice lead, but considering (Thursday’s) stage to Hautacam and the time trial, I preferred to go and gain a few more seconds and be even more serene, just in case something would happen,” Nibali said.
Thursday’s Stage 18 is a 145.5-kilometer trip from Pau to Hautacam with two climbs of the highest category.