Rafal Majka having second thoughts about the Tour de France

Rafal Majka finished sixth in this year’s Giro. The Pole is 24, which is quite young for a Grand Tour contender because it literally takes years to build the endurance needed to properly tolerate three solid weeks of racing. Often, a rider around this sort of age will be put into a Grand Tour team simply for the experience and to see how they get on.

Majka’s Giro performance was impressive, but it seemed a big ask to do the Tour as well when Roman Kreuziger was omitted from the Tinkoff-Saxo team for what might prove to be blood swappage or naughty sweet consumption. Majka said as much himself, complaining about his selection on Twitter. This has since been removed, which is perhaps fair enough as his opinions have surely changed. After coming second on stage 13, he promptly got in the break and won stage 14.

A mountain stage that Nibali didn’t win?

He had to settle for second, although he still took time on the riders I have previously been referring to as ‘his rivals’. That term doesn’t really make sense any more. No-one left in the race seems at all likely to threaten him, unless something really serious happens amid the changing gradients of the Pyrenees later in the week.

Laurens Ten Dam watch

I’m watching his performances closely, so damn it, so are you. Just wait until the time trial. At best, he’ll look like this.

Laurens came eighth on the stage and has risen to ninth overall. His best ever result is eighth in last year’s Vuelta, so there’s something to aim for.

Speaking of the lower reaches of the top ten, Jurgen Van Den Broeck’s bid to finish tenth without anyone ever spotting him in the race is not going well. He’s eleventh. I think he was alarmed by Richie Porte’s implosion, thought he’d rise too high in the standings and overcompensated.

Stage 15

Flat, weirdly. Here’s the profile. Marcel Kittel’s still in the race, in case you’re wondering, but he might not be feeling quite so lively after hauling his big, teutonic frame through the Alps. We’ll have to wait and see.