Just as in 2014 when Alberto Contador crashed out of the Tour de France, Tinkoff successfully adjusted its aims once it lost the Spanish GC rider to secure the polka dot and green jerseys in 2016 with Rafal Majka and Peter Sagan. After Contador abandoned the race on stage 9, the team put its energies into the two classifications and stage wins with Sagan who has has three to has name in the 103rd La Grand Boucle.
While the world champion Sagan had mathematically sealed the points classification for a fifth straight win, Polish champion Majka had to wait until stage 19 to secure his second king of the mountains wins as he picked up 36 points to grow his haul to 209. A full 104 points more then second-placed Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal).
"Mathematically I knew I had to go when I saw De Gendt go in the break. He took the first two so before the last climb we went a bit faster and I took the points there. Robert [Kišerlovski] gave me a lot of help today and my teammates supported me in the earlier stages," Majka said of his day in the breakaway.
"I'm happy with my performance. Today I felt good and won the last climb and took the jersey for Paris. I wanted to take the points to close the jersey contest so we could take both Green and the Polka Dot to Paris."
Stage 14 of the 2014 Tour was Majka's first professional victory, quickly followed by stage 17, and he added a third stage to his palmares last year on stage 11. In 2016, Majka has been one of the most active breakaway riders with three third places and a second place but is yet to enjoy taste victory but has taken solace in the fact that he has a second KOM win to his name.
"Maybe I didn't win a stage but I'm happy with my performance. After taking the top five in the Giro and now the Polka Dot jersey, it's been a great season," added Majka.
Majka will becomes the first rider since Michael Rasmussen in 2006 to win multiple polka dot jerseys and in doing so, joins five riders in the history of the race who have won the classification on two occasions - Felicien Vervaecke, Gino Bartali, Fausto Coppi, Charly Gaul, Imerio Massignan, Eddy Merckx, Luis Herrera, Claudio Chiappucci, Laurent Jalabert and Rasmussen.
The race is the last for the Tinkoff team and while team owner Oleg Tinkov who suggested that after Sagan's first stage win, he would remain in the sport if he won two more as he duly did, the success hasn't saved the team. Majka, who is rumoured to be joining the Bora team next year along with Sagan, explained that this year's Tour has been one of gratitude for Tinkov.
"We have a great team in Tinkoff and we're so happy to have two jerseys. It's our way of saying thank you to Oleg Tinkov for all his support. We've had some great results in the race and I've come in the top three myself a few times," he said. "I'm happy because we fought for two jerseys – the Polka Dot Jersey for me and the Green for Peter, and in the end even with the bad luck early in the race, we should have two jerseys in Paris. Without Alberto we were still able to ride a good race, but we needed to fight and we fought hard."
While the classification is wrapped up, Majka will have final opportunity to challenge for stage honours with the penultimate stage of the stage taking the peloton from Megève to Morzine.
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