The Latest from the 11th Stage of the Tour de France (all times local):
Surgeons have removed the left testicle of two-time Giro d’Italia winner Ivan Basso, Alberto Contador’s teammate who left the Tour this week after doctors diagnosed a tumor.
Milan’s San Raffaele hospital says the operation on Wednesday went well and the 37-year-old is ”already in great condition” and will be discharged on Thursday.
The hospital’s statement says ”the long-term prognosis for this type of testicular tumor is excellent.”
– By Andrew Dampf in Rome.
The manager of Chris Froome’s team suggests that in addition to drug tests, cycling perhaps also should start analyzing all riders’ performance data in its battle to convince skeptics that doping is no longer widespread in the sport.
Calculating how much power riders generate with their pedal strokes is again a hot topic as Tour observers seek to understand why race leader Froome is crushing his rivals. Video posted on social media this week purported to show his heartbeat, power and other performance numbers on a brutal climb at the 2013 Tour, which he won.
After Stage 11 finished with Froome still comfortably leading, Sky manager Dave Brailsford said analysis of such data ”should be left to the experts.”
Brailsford suggested cycling could ”move toward a power passport,” where all ”teams could give their power data to experts” so ”that way everything would be clear.”
Chris Froome says he might consult an independent expert to better explain why he’s crushing the Tour.
After Stage 11, the race leader said he’s ”open minded to potentially doing some physiological testing.” Froome said such tests, done post-Tour, would produce ”some interesting things” and ”maybe as a team we might even learn something.”
Froome’s dominance is raising questions. Is it nature or is something fishy again going on in a sport badly hurt by dopers?
Froome insists he rides clean and he’s passed hundreds of doping tests. His cause isn’t being helped by skeptics number-crunching his rides, analyzing how much power he produces to suggest he might not be playing fair. Video posted on social media this week purported to show his performance data from a punishing climb at the 2013 Tour he won.
Froome said that ”supposed leaked file” has ”done no one any good” and ”doesn’t prove one thing or another.”
On the bumpiest day of riding in the Pyrenees, Rafal Majka of Poland has won with a daring solo effort, giving his Tinkoff-Saxo team its first stage win at this year’s Tour de France.
The 25-year-old Majka surged away on the ascent of the Tourmalet, the toughest of six climbs on Stage 11. He rode alone over the high-mountain pass, at an altitude of 2,115 meters (6,939 feet), and clung on to his lead for nearly 40 kilometers (25 miles) to win at Cauterets.
The teammate of 2007 and 2009 champion Alberto Contador is a recognized climber after winning the polka dot jersey for climbing at his first Tour in 2014, when he also won two stages.
Behind him, race leader Chris Froome was looking to conserve energy and stay safe after his stage win Tuesday that put the leader of the Sky team in firm control of the race.
A tough day of mountain riding up six ascents under the sun is proving too much for some at the Tour de France, with organizers announcing that six riders have dropped out well before the finish at Cauterets.
The Lampre-Merida team has lost Rui Costa, its leader from Portugal, on Stage 11. French team AG2R La Mondiale is down two riders, Johan Van Summeren and Ben Gastauer.
Organizers say German rider Dominik Nerz, leader of the Bora-Argon 18 team, and Astana’s Rein Taaramae, from Estonia, have also abandoned, and a crash ended the Tour of Italian rider Daniele Bennati of the Tinkoff-Saxo team.
At the start Wednesday in Pau, 183 riders set off on the 188-kilometer (117-mile) trek.
One of Chris Froome’s rivals has complained that the British rider’s team is being overly aggressive in protecting the Tour de France leader.
Steve Morabito, a rider on the FDJ team, says ”some punches and elbows were thrown” as Froome’s teammates with Sky positioned themselves at the front of the peloton for the last climb on Stage 10. Froome handily won that stage in the Pyrenees, putting him in control of the race for Wednesday’s Stage 11, which was another trek through the mountains straddling France and Spain.
In a video posted on the team’s Twitter feed, Morabito said FDJ ”had a spot at the front” at the foot of the long climb to the La Pierre-Saint-Martin ski station and that Sky riders ”were very aggressive in repositioning themselves.”
He complained that the tactics weren’t ”very fair,” saying ”that’s not my vision of cycling.” Morabito, who isn’t a contender for victory, appealed for ”a bit of calm,” noting that the Tour is only in its second week.
Sky riders led Froome up the first portion of Tuesday’s ascent before he accelerated to win.
After crushing his top opponents a day earlier, Chris Froome is wearing the Tour de France leader’s yellow jersey and the pack has set off for a tough 11th stage over six mountain climbs.
More Pyrenean punishment looms in Wednesday’s stage over the famed Tourmalet pass and five lesser ascents along a 188-kilometer (117-mile) loop from Pau to Cauterets in deep southern France.
Froome’s dominant performance – like when he won the Tour in 2013 – has revived suspicions about doping that has plagued cycling. The British rider says he is clean, and he has never tested positive for doping.
Froome leads Tejay van Garderen, the American leader of the BMC team who is second, by 2 minutes, 52 seconds.