Dempster 11th as tour reaches London

HIGH-FIVE: Zak Dempster acknowledges fans before the start of a stage in the Tour de France. Picture: GETTY
HIGH-FIVE: Zak Dempster acknowledges fans before the start of a stage in the Tour de France. Picture: GETTY

ZAK Dempster powered to 11th place as the Tour de France finished its trek throughout the United Kingdom by racing to London early Tuesday (AEST).

The stage was the central Victorian cycling star's best performance so far in his Tour debut with NetApp-Endura.

Riders raced 155km from Cambridge to London.

The stage finish was at Buckingham Palace.

"11th today in a pretty wild slippery finish into London," Dempster tweeted.

"Already in France, but what a show the UK put on for this tour."

Dempster's racing is being closely followed by many cycling fans, especially those in Bendigo and Castlemaine.

Dempster was the third-highest placed of the Australian stars racing in the tour as it hit London.

The 11th placing in the stage lifted Dempster to 152nd in the tour's general classification at 17.09 minutes behind race leader, Italy's Vincenzo Nibali.

Dempster's team-mate, Tiago Machado from Portugal is best placed of the NetApp-Endura team at 14th overall and just two seconds behind Nibali.

In the battle for team honours, NetApp is fourth overall.

All nine riders in the NetApp-Endura team are racing the Tour de France for the first time.

The opening three days of the tour in England drew thousands of fans each day.

Dempster has raced in many parts of England, but was astounded by the turn-out.

"The first few stages were a surreal experience, I've never seen so many people out to watch a sporting event and to be actually in it was crazy," Dempster told the Bendigo Advertiser.

"Sometimes it was pretty dangerous as people were pushing onto the road, so the first few stages have been affected by crashes.

"I crashed in the late part of the first stage which was disappointing because I was hoping to go for the finish.

"Stage three was great, I recovered well, could position myself and was able to finish 11th with a pretty average run through the last km. If I can pick the right wheels and be in the right place at the right time then I think I could get a lot further up.

"The next two days will be hard, no mountains but plenty of wind, and tomorrow is the Paris-Roubaix cobble stage, so that'll be one of the most exciting, dangerous and decisive days of the Tour."

Tuesday night's (AEST) racing in the tour was a 163.5km stage from Le Touquet-Paris-Plage to Lille.

Dempster's feat to earn selection for the Tour de France earned the June award in the Bendigo Advertiser-Prime 7 Sports Star of the Year award.

Now in its 50th year, Sports Star is proudly sponsored by Bendigo Bank and is the longest-running award of its type in the country.

Dempster is now a four-time monthly winner in Sports Star.

Career highs for Dempster include victory in the Melbourne to Warrnambool, and the Bendigo International Madison track classic. 


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