Down to eight riders after the abandon by Alex Dowsett, whom some stomach problems suffered from last night put "the final nail in the coffin", as explained by himself, to a suffering more than a week long caused by wounds and injuries from his crash on stage four, the Movistar Team did not lose courage and willingness to turn things around in the final Tour de France stage in the Pyrenees this year.
The 195km journey from Lannemezan to Plateau de Beille (HC), including the previous ascents of Portet d'Aspet (Cat-2), la Core (Cat-1) and Lers (Cat-1), passed by with no big moves -a 22-man move dominating the scene- until the big favourites started attacking race leader Chris Froome (SKY) into the second half of the decisive climb.
Rafal Majka powered his way to a great solo win on the mountainous stage 11 to Cauterets. Bearing a great resemblance to his two memorable solo wins of the 2014 edition, Rafal Majka put the hammer down on the penultimate climb to Col du Tourmalet. Peter Sagan picked up points in the fight for the green jersey and now leads the classification with 7 points, while Daniele Bennati sadly had to abandon the race due to a crash.
Rafal Majka made his move from a seven-rider front group on the slopes of Tourmalet, 48km from the finish. After the impressive effort in the Pyrenees claiming a notable solo win, Majka dedicates the win to his teammates.
A third hard day in the mountains will face the riders on Stage 12 of the 2015 Tour de France as they tackle 195kms from Lannemezan to Plateau de Beille.
The intermediate sprint occurs early—20kms in in Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges. After this, the sprinters will probably be at the back of the pack for the rest of the day as the road tilts upward for the 4 categorized climbs:
Km 57.5 - Col de Portet-d'Aspet (1 069 m)4.3 kilometre-long climb at 9.7% - category 2
Km 93.0 - Col de la Core (1 389 m)14.1 kilometre-long climb at 5.7% - category 1
Km 144.0 - Port de Lers (1 517 m)12.9 kilometre-long climb at 6% - category 1
Km 195.0 - PLATEAU DE BEILLE (1 780 m)15.8 kilometre-long climb at 7.9% - category H
Col de Portet d’Aspet, while short, is the second-steepest mountain in this year’s Tour and is just the start to what’s sure to be an incredibly tough day, especially if it’s as hot as Stage 11! However, anyone wanting to do any damage will attack on the final climb—the Plateau de Beille, first introduced to the Tour in 1998. It is here I am guessing anyone who has anything left will try to gain back some time on their rivals.