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Majka wins stage, Nibali solidifies lead

(AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

PLA D'ADET, France (AP) On the last of four Pyrenees ascents, Rafal Majka winked at a French TV camera and tugged playfully at a motorcycle's antenna.

Even this late in the Tour de France, the Polish rider made winning look easy as he took Stage 17 on Wednesday.

For Vincenzo Nibali, the second ride in the mountains on France's border with Spain was more serious. "The Shark" nibbled yet more seconds away from several of his closest challengers, and the yellow jersey that he has worn for all but two days of the race seemed to fit just a little more tightly ahead of the finish Sunday in Paris.

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1 more crucial day in steep Pyrenees

PLA D'ADET, France (AP) Four massive Pyrenean mountains featured in Wednesday's Stage 17 of the Tour de France, won by Poland's Rafal Majka.

The 166 riders still standing out of the 198 who set out from Leeds, England on July 5 have one more lung-busting day in the mountains on Thursday, when the legendary 2,115-meter Tourmalet and the infamous Hautacam climbs could well settle the race's final podium placings. (MORE)

Back pain finally forces Talansky out

BOURG-EN-BRESSE, France (AP) American rider Andrew Talansky withdrew from the Tour de France on Thursday a day after riding for several hours with excruciating back pain.

Talansky says he's "absolutely heartbroken to leave the Tour de France" because "I built my season around the Tour and the team has supported me every step of the way." (MORE)

Contador breaks shin in fall, no surgery

MADRID (AP) Former Tour de France champion Alberto Contador does not need surgery on his injured right leg and hopes to defy his doctors by racing in next month's Spanish Vuelta.

Contador, a two-time winner of cycling's biggest race, broke his shin in a violent fall on Monday to leave the Tour at the 10th stage. (MORE)

Wiggins stays with Sky despite omission

MILAN (AP) Bradley Wiggins is planning to remain with Team Sky next season despite being left off the squad's roster for this year's Tour de France.

In Italy for a sponsor's event, the 2012 Tour champion tells the Gazzetta dello Sport that he would also like to attempt the hour record next year, and says "I'll do it with these bikes because I'm staying with Sky." (MORE)

Menchov has 3 Tour results stripped

GERARDMER, France (AP) Retired Russian rider Denis Menchov - who won the Spanish Vuelta twice and the 2009 Giro d'Italia - has been given a two-year ban and stripped of his results in three Tour de France races for anti-doping rule violations, a spokesman for the International Cycling Union confirmed on Saturday.

The ruling came to light in a table of doping sanctions posted on the UCI website on June 30, but it passed largely unnoticed until Saturday. (MORE)

Cavendish pulls out with shoulder injury

YORK, England (AP) British sprinter Mark Cavendish pulled out of the Tour de France on Sunday with a serious shoulder injury likely to require surgery.

Cavendish, with his arm in a sling underneath his sweatshirt, said outside the team bus before the start of the second stage that he was "absolutely devastated." (MORE)


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