Rafal Majka missed out on his fourth career Tour de France stage win in Culoz but the Tinkoff rider was rewarded with a second stint in the king of the mountains jersey and the combativity award. The 26-year-old, who finished fifth overall at the Giro d'Italia in May, had also come close to wins on stages five and nine when he finished third and was looking good for the victory only for his chances to diminish on the descent off the Lacets du Grand Colombier.
"I thought I could win the stage today but at the end I didn't. I would have won if the finish was at the top [of Grand Colombier]. Four days ago I crashed and my arm is still in pain so I didn't want to take too many risks downhill," said Majka who will swap his red and white of Polish national champions jersey for the red and white polka dot king of the mountain jersey for stage 16.
"I wanted to win my fourth Tour de France stage but it's not finished. I might have more opportunities in the Alps. I'm happy to be back in the polka dot jersey. I'll try to keep it."
Majka was one the first riders to attack on the 160km stage from Bourg-en-Bresse to Culoz, taking maximum points on the Col du Berthiand to draw level with Thomas De Gendt in the KOM classification before moving ahead of the Lotto Soudal rider on the following climb. He then picked up points on the Col de Pisseloup and Col de la Rochette before snaring the 25 point haul atop the HC rated Grand Colombier, and 10 points at the Lacets du Grand Colombier to finish the day on 127 points with De Gendt stuck on 90 points.
While a second KOM victory is within reach, Majka explained that he is holding out for a stage win in the Alps during a tough final third week of the race,
"I wanted to win, like always at the Tour de France but it is not finished and I still hope to win a stage," he said. "Second and twice third, I'm quite happy and I'm happy that I now have the Polka Dot jersey back – it’s still a long Tour and I hope to keep this jersey. It won't be easy but I'm feeling strong."
Video Highlights - Stage 15