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Panorama: Traditional nations are back on track

news31.07.2014After the race

© Presse Sports

Three riders have raced in the yellow jersey in the 2014 Tour de France: Marcel Kittel, who repeated his inaugural victory after Bastia 2013, Tony Gallopin, who got one day of glory, the best day in theory for a Frenchman (Bastille Day) but the most difficult one for an all rounder in the steep climbs of the Vosges, and of course, Vincenzo Nibali, for 18 days, which means almost all of the race.

Yellow jersey, made in Italy

The Maillot Jaune has the signature of a “made in Italy” this year. The Sicilian is the seventh Italian winner of the Tour de France, after Ottavio Bottecchia (1924, 25), Gino Bartali (1938, 48), Fausto Coppi (1949, 52), Gastone Nencini (1960), Felice Gimondi (1965) and Marco Pantani (1998).

The come-back of French cycling

Two Frenchmen accompanied Nibali on stage for the final podium: Jean-Christophe Péraud, second, and Thibaut Pinot, third. It was the first time in thirty years that two riders from the hosting nation didn't do so. In 1984, Laurent Fignon and Bernard Hinault were first and second. It was also the first time for a Frenchman to make the top 3 since Richard Virenque in 1997. With Romain Bardet finishing sixth, it was also the first time in 23 years with three French riders in the top 6. In 1991, Charly Mottet, Luc Leblanc and Laurent Fignon finished 4th, 5th and 6th respectively. AG2R-La Mondiale became the first French team to win the teams' classification since Cofidis in 1998. Moreover, the Savoy-based squad did so at both Giro d'Italia and Tour de France this year. It says a lot about the depth of the “soil and sky” outfit.

A Polish climber and a Slovakian sprinter

Rafal Majka is the surprise winner of the King of the Mountains competition. He wasn't even scheduled to ride the Tour de France but entered the Tinkoff-Saxo team for July after finishing sixth at the Giro d'Italia because Alberto Contador needed some support in the climbs. The Pole didn't target the polka dot jersey but stage wins after his Spanish leader quit the race before half time. The current scale of the KOM competition that doubles the points at uphill stage finishes favoured him over Joaquim Rodriguez who was attacking from far out. Pushed by his improvised quest of the polka dot jersey, Majka won two mountain stages, in the Alps (Risoul) and the Pyrenees (Pla d'Adet, like his compatriot Zenon Jaskula, the first Polish stage winner in 1993). A rookie at the Grande Boucle, he's the revelation of the 2014 Tour de France, which is not the case of Peter Sagan. They're both 24 year old but the Slovakian was riding the Tour for the third time. He also won the points classification for the third time, which was his main goal at the start in Leeds, but he missed out on the stage victory he was desperately seeking. However, as he rode in the green jersey for 60 out of 66 days in three participations, he has definitely become a major player of the Tour.

Pinot, the eighth best young rider in the top 3

Thibaut Pinot already stroke at the Tour de France when he made his debut two years ago, won stage 8 from Belfort to Porrentruy and became the first Under 23 rider to make the final top 10 since Raymond Impanis in 1947 but he's been really consistent this time around. He's the eighth Under 26 cyclist to make the top 3 since the inception of the best young rider classification in 1975, following the path of Laurent Fignon (1st in 1983), Greg LeMond (3rd in 1984), Marco Pantani (3rd in 1994), Jan Ullrich (2nd, 1st and 2nd in 1996, 1997 and 1998), Alberto Contador (1st in 2007), Andy Schleck (2nd in 2009, 1st in 2010) and Nairo Quintana (2nd in 2013).

Germany tops the stage wins tally

Out of 21 stages, seven have been won by German riders: Marcel Kittel (4), André Greipel (1) and Tony Martin (2). The Netherlands have put an end to a nine years draught with Lars Boom taking the prestigious stage of the cobblestones in Arenberg. Blel Kadri (stage 8) and Tony Gallopin (stage 11) pleased the home crowd. Alexander Kristoff showed that Norway doesn't need more than one starter for being successful – on two occasions – at the Tour. Michael Rogers signed his redemption with class in Bagnères-de-Luchon after becoming one of the most dedicated domestiques. Ramunas Navardauskas rode with style to deliver the first ever stage win by a Lithuanian rider at the Tour de France. The wind of globalization blew in Bergerac in an edition marked by the domination of traditional nations.

The news in pictures

photo30/07/2014 

© Presse Sports

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Jersey wearers after the stage 21

Classifications after the stage 21

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Who is the most likely to win stage 21 on the Champs-Elysées?

  • Marcel Kittel37.14%
  • Alexander Kristoff12.44%
  • André Greipel7.74%
  • Mark Renshaw2.15%
  • Peter Sagan40.53%
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