Rafal Majka led a solo breakaway to win the 11th stage of the Tour de France on Wednesday, dusting a small group of rivals on the hardest climb of Day 2 in the Pyrenees mountains as Chris Froome easily retained the yellow jersey.
The stage victory by Majka, a Pole who won two at last year's Tour, gave some new glory to his Tinkoff Saxo Bank team that has been downbeat over then troubles of its leader, two-time Tour winner Alberto Contador. Tinkoff Saxo became the seventh squad to win a stage this year in a sign of well-distributed honors in a race otherwise dominated by Froome's powerful Team Sky.
The 25-year-old Majka presented little threat to Froome: He had begun the 188-kilometer (117-mile) stage from Pau to Cauterets more than 44 1/2 minutes behind the British race leader. Froome finished more than five minutes back along with the other pre-race favorites.
Majka, who last year took home the polka dot jersey awarded to the race's best climber, burst out of a breakaway bunch on the way up the Tourmalet pass — the highest and most frequently visited Tour peak in the Pyrenees — and was the first over it. For that achievement, he won a 5,000 euro ($5,500) prize awarded in honor of a former Tour race director.
The day's results had little impact on the overall standings, a day after a superior Froome impressed his top rivals by winning Stage 10, which featured a tough uphill finish.
Froome's gap after 10 stages was the biggest at this phase of the race since at least 2006 — the year after Lance Armstrong won his last Tour before his seven titles were stripped for doping throughout his career.