Oyannax - Tony Gallopin has won the 11th stage of the Tour de France on Wednesday and then said it was even better than wearing the leader's yellow jersey.
The 26-year-old Frenchman had not thought life could get any better than Sunday when he snared yellow for a day from Vincenzo Nibali, thus earning the honour of wearing it on Bastille Day.
But he said this victory at the end of the 187.5km stage from Besancon to Oyonnax had topped that.
"It's different because I'd thought about the yellow jersey for five days and all day during the stage (on Sunday) and then the reward arrived," said the Lotto-Belisol rider.
"But here I didn't believe I would do it until the last 100 metres. I thought I'd be caught so the feeling and the joy is greater for a stage win."
Gallopin escaped from a depleted peloton on a fast descent in the last 13km.
Although he was caught by a trio of chasers, he attacked them in the final 3km and held on for victory ahead of the bunch sprint, led by John Degenkolb and Matteo Trentin.
Italian Nibali finished safely in the chasing pack and held onto the leader's jersey, which has been his since the second stage, barring Monday when it was worn by Gallopin.
Richie Porte remains second at 2min 23sec with Alejandro Valverde third at 2:47.
One of the main stories of the day, though was the battle to stay in the race faced by Andrew Talansky.
The American crashed on Friday and Saturday while Monday his victory hopes went up in smoke as he suffered badly and lost more than 10 minutes.
On Wednesday morning, he woke up with a bad back and was dropped by the peloton early in the stage.
At one point he climbed off his bike and seemed to have quit but after a few minutes talking to his team, he got back in the saddle and carried on, in floods of tears, facing a race against time to finish inside the cut-off point.
He rolled in just over 32 minutes behind Gallopin, and more than 11 minutes behind the 'grupetto' of stragglers, but crucially around five minutes inside the cut-off point to live and fight another day.
The 25-year-old Garmin-Sharp team leader, nicknamed 'Pit Bull', said he carried on as a thanks to the work his teammates have done for him.
"My back hurts but I wanted to continue for the team. I continued for the team, for the guys," he said through sobs.
"They trusted me for this Tour, I did not want to stop after everything they did for me."
The day began with a three-man escape involving Swiss champion Martin Elmiger and Frenchmen Cyril Lemoine and Anthony Delaplace that lasted more than 100km
Lemoine and Delaplace dropped off and Elinger was caught by a counter-attack from the peloton including Ireland's Nicolas Roche.
The Irishman attacked on his own on the final third category climb before being caught on a fast descent in the final 20km.
On the next descent following a small bump, Gallopin attacked and although Peter Sagan, Michal Kwiatkowski and Australian Michael Rogers caught him, when he struck out for home again, the chase dallied and he got away.
Green jersey wearer Sagan, who finished ninth, complained that once again his reputation as a fast finisher had cost him.
"For me it's a strange situation because at the front it was a breakaway with strong riders: Kwiatkowski, Rogers and Gallopin," said the 24-year-old Slovak.
"I thought I was in a good position and I wanted to do well but no-one wants to work with me because they know that if I go to the finish (with them) it's hard to beat me in the sprint.
"But then for me it's hard to sprint in the group if I've been in the breakaway."
Standings after the 11th stage of the Tour de France, a 187.5km ride from Besancon to Oyonnax on Wednesday:
1. Tony Gallopin (FRA/LTB) 4hr 25min 45sec (average: 42.3 km/h)
2. John Degenkolb (GER/GIA) at 0:00.
3. Matteo Trentin (ITA/OPQ) 0:00.
4. Daniele Bennati (ITA/TIN) 0:00.
5. Simon Gerrans (AUS/ORI) 0:00.
6. Jos Joaquin Rojas (ESP/MOV) 0:00.
7. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL/BMC) 0:00.
8. Samuel Dumoulin (FRA/ALM) 0:00.
9. Peter Sagan (SVK/CAN) 0:00.
10. Kvin Reza (FRA/EUC) 0:00.
11. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 0:00.
12. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA/IAM) 0:00.
13. Bram Tankink (NED/BKN) 0:00.
14. Bauke Mollema (NED/BKN) 0:00.
15. Jurgen Van den Broeck (BEL/LTB) 0:00.
16. Paul Voss (GER/APP) 0:00.
17. Jakob Diemer Fuglsang (DEN/AST) 0:00.
18. Frank Schleck (LUX/TRE) 0:00.
19. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) 0:00.
20. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) 0:00.
21. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 0:00.
22. Jean Christophe Peraud (FRA/ALM) 0:00.
23. Leopold Knig (CZE/APP) 0:00.
24. Richie Porte (AUS/SKY) 0:00.
25. Rafal Majka (POL/TIN) 0:00.
26. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 0:00.
27. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/BKN) 0:00.
28. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL/OPQ) 0:00.
29. Mikel Nieve (ESP/SKY) 0:00.
30. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) 0:00.
1. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) 46hr 59min 23sec
2. Richie Porte (AUS/SKY) at 2:23.
3. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 2:47.
4. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 3:01.
5. Tony Gallopin (FRA/LTB) 3:12.
6. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) 3:47.
7. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 3:56.
8. Jean Christophe Peraud (FRA/ALM) 3:57.
9. Bauke Mollema (NED/BKN) 4:08.
10. Jurgen Van den Broeck (BEL/LTB) 4:18.
11. Jakob Diemer Fuglsang (DEN/AST) 4:31.
12. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL/OPQ) 4:39.
13. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) 5:17.
14. Rui Costa (POR/LAM) 5:34.
15. Mikel Nieve (ESP/SKY) 6:03.
16. Pierre Rolland (FRA/EUC) 6:47.
17. Chris Horner (USA/LAM) 7:33.
18. Laurens ten Dam (NED/BKN) 7:42.
19. Haimar Zubeldia (ESP/TRE) 8:01.
20. Leopold Knig (CZE/APP) 8:25.
21. Cyril Gautier (FRA/EUC) 9:12.
22. Yury Trofimov (RUS/KAT) 10:32.
23. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/BKN) 10:35.
24. Brice Feillu (FRA/BSE) 11:32.
25. Frank Schleck (LUX/TRE) 11:51.
26. Tanel Kangert (EST/AST) 15:27.
27. Tom Dumoulin (NED/GIA) 15:43.
28. Jan Bakelants (BEL/OPQ) 19:50.
29. John Gadret (FRA/MOV) 21:27.
30. Peter Velits (SVK/BMC) 24:24.
31. Bram Tankink (NED/BKN) 25:51.
32. Tony Martin (GER/OPQ) 28:24.
33. Ben Gastauer (LUX/ALM) 35:06.
34. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL/BMC) 39:58.
35. Peter Sagan (SVK/CAN) 41:08.
36. Giovanni Visconti (ITA/MOV) 41:22.
37. Daniel Navarro (ESP/COF) 42:16.
38. Kristijan Durasek (CRO/LAM) 42:52.
39. Arnold Jeannesson (FRA/FDJ) 43:44.
40. Michele Scarponi (ITA/AST) 44:32.
41. Jos Joaquin Rojas (ESP/MOV) 45:26.
42. Michael Rogers (AUS/TIN) 46:14.
43. Michal Golas (POL/OPQ) 46:46.
44. Andrew Talansky (USA/GRM) 46:49.
45. Michael Schr (SUI/BMC) 50:59.
46. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA/IAM) 51:02.
47. Luis Angel Mat (ESP/COF) 51:09.
48. Marcel Wyss (SUI/IAM) 53:12.
49. Paul Voss (GER/APP) 53:29.
50. Arthur Vichot (FRA/FDJ) 55:03.
51. Tom Slagter (NED/GRM) 55:09.
52. Nicolas Roche (IRL/TIN) 55:10.
53. Simon Gerrans (AUS/ORI) 55:39.
54. Jon Izagirre (ESP/MOV) 56:15.
55. Daniel Oss (ITA/BMC) 56:26.
56. Rafael Valls (ESP/LAM) 56:33.
57. Jos Serpa Perez (COL/LAM) 57:09.
58. Michael Albasini (SUI/ORI) 58:14.
59. Martin Elmiger (SUI/IAM) 58:47.
60. Thomas Voeckler (FRA/EUC) 58:50.
61. Peter Stetina (USA/BMC) 59:58.
62. Jens Keukeleire (BEL/ORI) 1h00:08.
63. Amal Moinard (FRA/BMC) 1h02:31.
64. Tiago Machado (POR/APP) 1h02:37.
65. Alessandro De Marchi (ITA/CAN) 1h07:49.
66. Mickal Cherel (FRA/ALM) 1h08:07.
67. Marco Marcato (ITA/CAN) 1h08:14.
68. Matteo Trentin (ITA/OPQ) 1h08:28.
69. Joaquin Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) 1h08:30.
70. Simon Spilak (SLO/KAT) 1h09:49.
71. Nicolas Edet (FRA/COF) 1h12:16.
72. Adam Hansen (AUS/LTB) 1h13:37.
73. Sep Vanmarcke (BEL/BKN) 1h14:18.
74. Matteo Montaguti (ITA/ALM) 1h14:21.
75. Lars Ytting Bak (DEN/LTB) 1h15:52.
76. Florian Guillou (FRA/BSE) 1h16:02.
77. Lieuwe Westra (NED/AST) 1h18:20.
78. Jos Herrada Lopez (ESP/MOV) 1h18:53.
79. Niki Terpstra (NED/OPQ) 1h19:22.
80. Nlson Oliveira (POR/LAM) 1h20:11.
81. Julien Simon (FRA/COF) 1h20:19.
82. Rudy Molard (FRA/COF) 1h20:20.
83. Matthieu Ladagnous (FRA/FDJ) 1h20:26.
84. Blel Kadri (FRA/ALM) 1h20:40.
85. Gregory Rast (SUI/TRE) 1h20:59.
86. Johan Van Summeren (BEL/GRM) 1h21:01.
87. Rubn Plaza (ESP/MOV) 1h22:27.
88. Cyril Lemoine (FRA/COF) 1h22:32.
89. Markel Irizar (ESP/TRE) 1h22:54.
90. Sbastien Reichenbach (SWI/IAM) 1h23:01.
91. Jens Voigt (GER/TRE) 1h23:09.
92. Koen de Kort (NED/GIA) 1h24:09.
93. Kevin Reza (FRA/EUC) 1h24:16.
94. Daniele Bennati (ITA/TIN) 1h24:18.
95. Benjamin King (USA/GRM) 1h24:34.
96. Simon Clarke (AUS/ORI) 1h25:31.
97. Vasil Kiryienka (BLR/SKY) 1h25:36.
98. Sebastien Minard (FRA/ALM) 1h25:44.
99. Samuel Dumoulin (FRA/ALM) 1h26:04.
100. Jeremy Roy (FRA/FDJ) 1h26:27.
101. Bryan Coquard (FRA/EUC) 1h26:30.
102. Sergio Paulinho (POR/TIN) 1h26:43.
103. Jan Brta (CZE/APP) 1h26:51.
104. Fabio Sabatini (ITA/CAN) 1h26:54.
105. Luke Durbridge (AUS/ORI) 1h27:26.
106. Maciej Bodnar (POL/CAN) 1h27:40.
107. Jerme Pineau (FRA/IAM) 1h27:42.
108. Bartosz Huzarski (POL/APP) 1h27:48.
109. Heinrich Haussler (AUS/IAM) 1h27:50.
110. Yukiya Arashiro (JPN/EUC) 1h28:16.
111. Andriy Grivko (UKR/AST) 1h29:36.
112. Benat Intxausti (ESP/MOV) 1h30:12.
113. Jrgen Roelandts (BEL/LTB) 1h30:24.
114. Simon Yates (ENG/ORI) 1h31:02.
115. Perrig Quemeneur (FRA/EUC) 1h33:08.
116. David Lopez (ESP/SKY) 1h33:28.
117. Lars Boom (NED/BKN) 1h34:09.
118. Maarten Wijnants (BEL/BKN) 1h34:10.
119. Roy Curvers (NED/GIA) 1h34:33.
120. Gatis Smukulis (LAT/KAT) 1h34:33.
121. Rein Taaramae (EST/COF) 1h35:30.
122. Imanol Erviti (ESP/MOV) 1h36:41.
123. Sebastian Langeveld (NED/GRM) 1h36:45.
124. John Degenkolb (GER/GIA) 1h38:25.
125. Alexandre Pichot (FRA/EUC) 1h38:44.
126. Florian Vachon (FRA/BSE) 1h39:44.
127. Reto Hollenstein (SUI/IAM) 1h39:59.
128. Cedric Pineau (FRA/FDJ) 1h40:35.
129. Yohann Gene (FRA/EUC) 1h40:43.
130. Rafal Majka (POL/TIN) 1h43:14.
131. Alexander Kristoff (NOR/KAT) 1h43:32.
132. Alexander Porsev (RUS/KAT) 1h44:06.
133. Jean-Marc Bideau (FRA/BSE) 1h44:21.
134. Alex Howes (USA/GRM) 1h46:49.
135. Svein Tuft (CAN/ORI) 1h48:18.
136. Anthony Delaplace (FRA/BSE) 1h48:29.
137. Maxim Iglinskiy (KAZ/AST) 1h49:07.
138. Dmitriy Gruzdev (KAZ/AST) 1h49:09.
139. Tom Leezer (NED/BKN) 1h49:14.
140. Christian Meier (CAN/ORI) 1h51:09.
141. Matteo Tosatto (ITA/TIN) 1h52:01.
142. Luca Paolini (ITA/KAT) 1h52:48.
143. Kristjan Koren (SLO/CAN) 1h53:25.
144. Matthew Busche (USA/TRE) 1h55:20.
145. Jack Bauer (NZL/GRM) 1h57:08.
146. Dries Devenyns (BEL/GIA) 1h57:27.
147. Mark Renshaw (AUS/OPQ) 1h58:09.
148. Arnaud Gerard (FRA/BSE) 1h58:35.
149. Bernhard Eisel (AUT/SKY) 1h58:53.
150. Marcus Burghardt (GER/BMC) 1h58:59.
151. David De la Cruz (ESP/APP) 1h59:13.
152. Jos Mendes (POR/APP) 1h59:40.
153. Christophe Riblon (FRA/ALM) 2h00:32.
154. Tom Veelers (NED/GIA) 2h02:11.
155. Marcel Sieberg (GER/LTB) 2h03:10.
156. Alessandro Vanotti (ITA/AST) 2h03:55.
157. Albert Timmer (NED/GIA) 2h04:07.
158. Armindo Fonseca (FRA/BSE) 2h05:15.
159. Vladimir Isaichev (RUS/KAT) 2h05:55.
160. Roger Kluge (GER/IAM) 2h06:24.
161. Zakkari Dempster (AUS/APP) 2h07:56.
162. Danny Pate (USA/SKY) 2h09:24.
163. Ramunas Navardauskas (LTU/GRM) 2h09:32.
164. Michael Morkov (DEN/TIN) 2h09:37.
165. Andre Greipel (GER/LTB) 2h10:09.
166. Benoit Jarrier (FRA/BSE) 2h10:30.
167. Janier Acavedo (COL/GRM) 2h11:04.
168. Mickael Delage (FRA/FDJ) 2h11:35.
169. Alessandro Petacchi (ITA/OPQ) 2h13:03.
170. Andreas Schillinger (GER/APP) 2h13:17.
171. Romain Feillu (FRA/BSE) 2h14:43.
172. Jean-Marc Marino (FRA/CAN) 2h15:02.
173. Adrien Petit (FRA/COF) 2h15:10.
174. Marcel Kittel (GER/GIA) 2h15:43.
175. William Bonnet (FRA/FDJ) 2h17:01.
176. Davide Cimolai (ITA/LAM) 2h18:21.
177. Arnaud Dmare (FRA/FDJ) 2h19:29.
178. Elia Viviani (ITA/CAN) 2h27:35.
179. Cheng Ji (CHN/GIA) 2h41:27.