• Tinkoff's accidental mountains classification leader, Rafal Majka (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
As Alberto Contador struggles from the after effects of injury, Tinkoff's Rafal Majka is keeping spirits high within the team as he rode to the mountains classification lead on Stage 8.
Cycling Central

10 Jul 2016 - 7:45 AM  UPDATED 10 Jul 2016 - 8:04 AM

The talented Majka came into the Tour with muted expectations after a hard ride at the Giro d'Italia netted him a 5th place overall in Torino.

But after losing minutes to the leaders as the Tour progressed, Majka has the freedom to ride for himself and to target any opportunities which may come along, while nursing Contador through the stages.

Opportunistic Froome in Tour de France hot seat
Chris Froome confounded expectations on the 184 kilometre stage to Bagneres-du-Luchon jumping away from the rest of the favourites over the top of the Col de Peyresourde and descending with panache to take the win by 13 seconds from Dan Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).

He made the break on the hot hard 184km stage from Pau to Bagnères-de-Luchon and claimed points on three of the four climbs on offer to pull on an unexpected prize at the end of the day.

“Only after I passed the finishing line, I got to know that I had the polka dot jersey," Majka said.

"I rode away at the foot of the Tourmalet because I didn't know how the climb was and I preferred to be at the front to be able to help Alberto Contador and Roman Kreuziger later on.

"I'm getting better and better after I rode the Giro but I'm still quite far from my best shape. It wasn't easy.

"I'm very happy that I'll have the polka dot jersey for a day at least. I won it in 2014 but it's not a goal. The goal is to make the final podium with Alberto.”

Contador's stage did not go as well, the two-time winner continues to struggle with the pace and climbs, is now more than three minutes behind new leader, Chris Froome (Sky) and it appears his confidence is shaken.

"The stage was very hard for me, very demanding. I was hoping not to lose too much time today, but that's the way it is," Contador said.

"I did the best I can. We are going to talk with the rest of the team for the future because Roman Kreuziger is better placed than I am.

"It's terrible to have crashed like this twice in the first week and to have lost so much time after working so hard to be here. It's cycling, danger is everywhere. Believe me, I did the best I can."

The SBS ŠKODA Tour Tracker is the ultimate TDF app experience
This year’s Tour de France on SBS will offer you more than ever before with exclusive live start to finish coverage of every stage through the SBS ŠKODA Tour Tracker.