Tour De France Review – Stage 11: Pau to Cauterets – Vallée de Saint-Savin

With Team Sky’s Froome in yellow by some margin today was to be a stage for the breakaway, if any day, today was the day. Tinkof’s Rafal Majka took advantage and took the stage with a great solo attack on the Col du Tourmalet.

Tour de France 2015 - 102a Edizione - 11a tappa Pau - Cauterets 188 km - 15/07/2015 - Rafal Majka (Tinkoff - Saxo) - foto Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2015

Tour de France 2015 – 102a Edizione – 11a tappa Pau – Cauterets 188 km – 15/07/2015 – Rafal Majka (Tinkoff – Saxo) – foto Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2015

Another rider that impressed today was Irishman Dan Martin of Canondale-Garmin. Martin showed determination and grit, first crossing a gap of over 3 minutes (from the yellow jersey group, to the day’s break and then attacking the remainder of the break up the final climb to take second on the stage.

Stage Highlights:

  • Rafal Majka (TCS) 2014 defending King of the Mountains (KOM) champion, made his winning move to forge ahead from an earlier breakaway group, just 4 km from the summit of the Col du Tourmalet. It was great solo riding and an obviously pre-planned move by the talented rider from Poland.
  • Today’s stage winners all came from an early breakaway group. Daniel Martin (TCG), the waif like rider from Ireland, rode a great race to come in second with Emanuel Buchmann (BOA) in third. Belgium rider, Serge Pauwels (MTN), also had a tremendous race today, finishing fourth and summiting Tourmalet less than a minute behind the stage winner, Majka (TCS). Overall another fantastic day for the first ever African team, MTN-Qhubeka.
  • Richie Porte (SKY) unselfishly helped team leader Chris Froome (SKY) by pacing in front of the main peloton for at least 40 km, instead of chasing down additional points in the KOM classification.
  • The heat, big mountains and high pace caused many riders to abandon the race today. Such is the Tour de France; you need to take each day as it comes. Although Froome (SKY) appears to be in charge at the moment; another 11 days awaits, and there’s no letting up!t

Day in data:

  • Stage 11 – the second Pyrenean stage; covering a distance of 188 km from Pau to Cauterets – Vallée de Saint-Savin. A climber’s paradise, featuring two legendary climbs: Col d’Aspin and the Col du Tourmalet.
  • 67 – the number of times Pau, the self-confessed ‘Capital of the Tour’, has hosted a stage – making it the third most visited stage next to Bordeaux (80), and Paris (104).
  • 4 – the number of times Cauterets – Vallée de Saint-Savin has been a stage town.
  • 41.6 km – the total distance of the six categorised climbs today, including the famous hors catégorie climb up Col du Tourmalet – known as ‘the distance mountain’.
  • 1682.2 km – the distance the riders still have to travel to Paris…they aren’t even halfway yet!
  • 2115 m above sea level – altitude of the Col du Tourmalet, the highest summit in the Pyrénées in this years’ Tour de France.
  • 80 – the number of times Le Tour has visited the summit of the Col du Tourmalet, making it the most visited summit on the Tour de France.
  • Distance and average gradients of the category climbs on the stage:
    – 2 km at 7% – Côte de Loucrup (cat. 3) at km 48.5.
    – 1.4 km at 6.1% – Côte de Bagnères-de-Bigorre (cat. 4) at km 61.5.
    – 2.7 km at 6% – Côte de Mauvezin(cat. 3) at km 74.5.
    – 12 km at 6.5% – Col d’Aspin (cat. 1) at km 117.
    – 17.1 km at 7.3% – Col du Tourmalet (HC) at km 147.
    – 6.4 km at 5% – Côte de Cauterets (cat. 3) at km 184.5.
  • 30.96 km/h – Majka’s (TCS) speed as he crossed the finish line in Cauterets.
  • 32 – the total number of KOM points Majka (TCS) has won in the Pyrénées today.
  • 93.38 km/h – top recorded speed on the descent on the descent of the Col du Tourmalet to Luz-Saint-Sauveur by Alejandro Valverde (MOV) at km 149.
  • 14’ 28” – the time gap between the first and last rider.
  • 183 – the number of riders who started today’s stage.
  • 6 – the number of riders who withdrew from the race today; the highest number of riders to retire from a single stage on this year’s Tour – Costa (LAM), Gastauer (ALM), Taraamäe (AST), Van Summeren (ALM), Bennati (TCS), and Nerz (BOA).

Stage Winner:

POL | Rafal Majka | TCS
Stage time: 05h 02′ 01″
Average speed: 37.35 km/h

Overall Jersey Leaders:

yellowJersey_sGBR | Chris Froome – SKY | 41h 03′ 31”

GreenJerseyNew_SSVK | Peter Sagan – TCS | 239 points

whiteJersey_sCOL | Nairo Alexander Quintana – MOV | 41h 06′ 40”

PolkaDotJersey_sGBR | Chris Froome – SKY | 57 points

Tomorrow’s stage fromLannemezan to Plateau de Beille is going to be another brutal stage. The riders have to cross 3 catagorised climbs before making their way up the HC Plateau de Beille (1 780 m) a 15.8 kilometre-long climb avaraging 7.9%.

Will the Sky train hold or will we see Quintana and Movistar take the fight to them…


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