Tinkoff-Saxo's Nico Roche. Sirotti

Nico Roche wins combativity award on stage 11 of the Tour de France

The Irishman was named as ‘most aggressive rider’ on a stage won by Frenchman Tony Gallopin.

TWO DAYS AFTER wearing the yellow jersey on Bastille Day, Frenchman Tony Gallopin won the 11th stage of the Tour de France, as Irishman Nicolas Roche also impressed with an aggressive showing.

26-year-old Gallopin escaped from a depleted peloton on a fast descent in the last 10km of the 187.5km run from Besancon to Oyonnax.

Although he was caught by a trio of chasers, he attacked them in the final 3km and held on for victory ahead of John Degenkolb and Matteo Trentin.

Italian Vincenzo Nibali finished safely in the chasing pack and held onto the leader’s yellow jersey.

Richie Porte remains second at 2min 23sec with Alejandro Valverde third at 2:47.

Irish rider Nico Roche rode aggressively throughout, and earned the award for being the most combative competitor on the stage. The Tinkoff-Saxo man also managed to lift himself to 22nd in the ‘best climber’ classifications.

While he remains 52nd on the overall leader board, it was encouraging to see Roche show his individual quality with teammate Alberto Contador having pulled out of the race.

Following Tuesday’s rest day it was a hilly challenge for the remaining 179 riders in the peloton.

But for one in particular it seemed too much.

Cycling Tour de France Roche ahead of Switzerland's Martin Elmiger and Belgium's Jan Bakelants. Christophe Ena Christophe Ena

American Andrew Talansky woke up with a bad back and lost touch with the peloton in the first half of the race.

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.

Up front a three-man breakaway that lasted more than 100km was gobbled up before a succession of other attacks on a series of short climbs served only to increase the peloton’s speed and reduce its numbers.

But Gallopin picked the ideal moment to attack and although he seemed to have come up short, he went again and this time made it stick.

Having worn yellow already in this Tour, he now added his first stage victory in the Grand Boucle and the second by a Frenchman this year.

- © AFP, 2014

- Additional reporting by

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