Stage 17: Majka doubles up at Pla d’Adet
From the summit of Pla d’Adet in the Pyrenees, the latest Telegraph Cycling Podcast, supported by Jaguar, includes discussion, analysis and interviews with the winner of stage 17, Rafal Majka, his teammate Nicolas Roche and his Tinkoff-Saxo team owner Oleg Tinkov.
Richard Moore, Lionel Birnie and Daniel Friebe look back on the penultimate day in the mountains as Majka won his second stage and Vincenzo Nibali tightened his grip on the yellow jersey. Behind Nibali, the battle for the podium is close and exciting with three Frenchmen and a Spaniard, Alejandro Valverde, in contention.
The ever-colourful Tinkov, the Russian billionaire who indulges his love of cycling by running a team, says that his riders’ three stage wins do not compensate for the disappointment of losing Alberto Contador, who fractured his leg in a crash. And Tinkov says his longer-term ambition is to challenge Sir Dave Brailsford and Team Sky: “My goal is to modernise cycling.
“I know that Mr Brailsford – Sir Brailsford – did a lot, he changed cycling, and I respect him. But we want to go further. We want to build not only the best team in the world for its sporting merits, but a new cycling team based on technology and data, nutrition and coaching programmes.
“I feel a little bit sorry for [Team Sky] because they’re a strong team, and they really changed cycling, and chapeau. But this year they haven’t been doing so well and actually it’s a pity. I’m not trying to dance on their grave. It’s a bad season for them but I hope they come back and I think next year we’re going to have a big fight. They are definitely the two best teams out there: Sky and us. And it’s a pleasure for me to fight with ‘Sir’, right? I’m Russian.”
We also hear from Kathy LeMond, the wife of three-time winner Greg, who is back at the Tour after staying away during the Lance Armstrong years. She reflects on how she thinks the sport has changed, how excited Greg is by the young Frenchman, Thibaut Pinot, and she admits that one of the highlights of her Tour has been listening to our podcast – as a cure for insomnia.