Zak leads pack in Tour chase

DAUNTING CLIMB: Action on the Col d'Izoard climb during Saturday's 14th stage in the Tour de France. Picture: GETTY

DAUNTING CLIMB: Action on the Col d'Izoard climb during Saturday's 14th stage in the Tour de France. Picture: GETTY

Click here to see all the Bendigo Advertiser's Zak Dempster Tour de France 2014 coverage

CENTRAL Victorian fans who have been playing "where's Zak in the pack" had plenty to cheer about when Zak Dempster led the peloton during Saturday night's stage in the Tour de France.

Racing in his first Tour de France, Dempster and many others had another tough day of climbing in a fast-paced stage from Grenoble to Risoul.

"Woah I suffered after briefly chasing.. I wanted the Col d'Izoard out of my life ASAP but there it was, for ages.. But I'm off it now," Dempster tweeted.

Born in Castlemaine, Dempster did a lot of racing with the Bendigo and District Cycling Club.

His career includes victory in the Bendigo International Madison on the Tom Flood Sports Centre track.

The 177km duel in the Tour was won by Poland's Rafal Majka, also a Tour de France rookie.

Tour leader Vincenco Nibali from Italy again showed his climbing prowess and all-round strength by being second at 24 seconds behind Majka as Jean Christophe Peraud continued another great day for France by being third at -26.

Dempster and his NetApp-Endura team-mates again played a key role for Leopold Konig from the Czech Republic.

Konig finished the stage in ninth place at 1.20 behind Majka and is eighth in the overall standings.

Best-placed Australian in the climb to Risoul was MIchael Rogers in 14th place as England's young gun Simon Yates, racing for Orica GreenEdge also figured prominently.

Dempster finished the stage at 27.40 behind Majka.

Sunday night's stage is from Tallard to Nimes. The distance is 222km.

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