• Maciej Bodnar spent 203 kilometres out the front of stage 11 of the 2017 Tour de France, missing outo n victory by 242 metres (Getty)Source: Getty
Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe) needed just 242 extra metres of road for victory on stage 11 of the 2017 Tour de France, caught by the sprinters after 203 kilometres out the front from Eymet to Pau.
Cycling Central

13 Jul 2017 - 9:47 AM  UPDATED 13 Jul 2017 - 9:49 AM

The Polish rider escaped the bunch with Frederik Baeckaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Marco Marcato (UAE Team Emirates) once the flag dropped.

Their lead grew to five minutes at one stage, but was reduced to just thirty seconds with 28 kilometres to go.

That's when Bodnar bravely struck out on his own and by the 10km flag enjoyed a forty second buffer. 

High-five for Kittel as he wins again
Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) again came from a long way back to claim another emphatic victory in Stage 11 of the Tour de France.

But with a bunch kick on their minds, the sprint trains bayed for Bodnar's blood, catching him agonisingly close to victory. 

"In the end it was so close – just a few hundred metres – but what can I do," Bodnar said somewhat despondently. "I tried my best. The bunch was going really fast, so that was that – just ten seconds more and I’d have taken it." 

"I was slowing down a little in the last 10km and the wind was a problem. With two kilometres to go, the bunch still hadn’t caught me and I was starting to think I could do it, but the last four hundred metres were really hard for me."

Bodnar's team was ecstatic about his performance which earned him the combativity prize.

"Congratulations to Bodi for his superb performance!" Bora-Hansgrohe director Patxi Vila said. "He was so close – that was our plan in the morning, to send Bodnar or Burghardt in the early breakaway and let them try their chances.

"There were moments I thought he could make it and others when I thought it was all over. Still, to be caught in the final 250m after nearly 205km in the breakaway, of which 30km were alone, is a great achievement.

"We had a tough start in this Tour, but the spirit is high in the team. We will never give up and will give the best we can every day, taking advantage of any opportunity that we see.”

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