Belfast Telegraph

Gallopin returns to form but Nibali leads the way

By Matt McGeechan

France's Tony Gallopin held off a charging peloton to claim victory on stage 11 of the Tour de France in Oyonnax. Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol) apologised for his performance on Bastille Day on Monday when he lost the yellow jersey after wearing it for a single day.

He made amends as the Tour resumed following a day's rest with the 187.5-kilometre route from Besancon, his daring late move rewarded with a first stage success.

His margin of victory was less than a bike length in the end as John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) was second, with Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) third.

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was 20th to retain the race leader's yellow jersey, with the top of the overall classification largely unchanged.

Richie Porte (Team Sky) was 24th on the day to stay two minutes 23 seconds behind Nibali in second overall. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) remains third, two minutes 47 seconds behind.

Italian Nibali is bidding to become the sixth man to win all three grand tours, of France, Italy and Spain.

A major subplot of the day was Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp).

A number of heavy crashes in the first 10 stages left him struggling, his back particularly problematic, and his travails continued even after a day's rest.

The American was dropped midway along the route and, tellingly, none of his team-mates fell back to support him.

At one point Talansky slumped by the roadside, fighting tears, before continuing to finish.

As Gallopin crossed the line, Talansky still had work to do to finish inside the time cut and ensure he would start today's 12th stage.

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