Ion Izagirre (Cofidis) soloed clear of the breakaway to win Thursday’s stage 12 of the Tour de France, the second Tour stage win of his career.
Izagirre launched his winning move on the second-category Col de la Croix Rosier, the final climb of the day, and he held on all the way to the line in Belleville-en-Beaujolais. Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies) took second ahead of Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar) in third.
Behind, all of the big GC favorites finished safely in the peloton, with Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) maintaining his race lead.
- With such a breakaway-friendly profile on the docket, the fight to get into the move was fierce and the pace was very high over the early climbs after the race left Roanne. The main breakaway of the day did not solidify until nearly 90 km into the stage, and attacks were constant off the front.
- There was some action in the GC group too, with Vingegaard and Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) each making a few probing attacks on the steep stuff that the other rider followed, and both Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) and Simon Yates (Jayco-AlUla) forced to chase at one point.
- Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) was a major animator of the stage in the break, going over the day’s penultimate climb alone out front, but he was brought back on the final climb. It was there that Izagirre, who had been biding his time all day, launched a powerful surge that no one could follow.
- In the chase group behind, Izagirre’s teammate Guillaume Martin policed any attempt to bridge up to Izagirre, and despite intermittent efforts by Jorgensen and others, the gap never came down much. Izagirre had plenty of time to celebrate his fourth Grand Tour stage win at the line, with Burgaudeau and Jorgensen jumping clear to battle for the second and arriving nearly a minute later.
- Ion Izagirre (Cofidis) 3:51:42
- Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies) @ :58
- Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar) at same time
- Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma) @ 1:06
- Tobias Johannessen (Uno-X) @ 1:11
- Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 50:30:23
- Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) @ :17
- Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) @ 2:40
- Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers) @ 4:22
- Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) @ 4:34
- Anyone hoping to save energy ahead of the challenging mountain stages to come would have been sorely disappointed with the way things played out over a breathless first few hours on Thursday. The pace was high for everyone, with breakaway hopefuls riding aggressively on the two third-category climbs in the early going and the GC teams keeping the pressure on too.
- David de la Cruz (Astana-Qazaqstan) crashed heavily on an early descent and was taken to the hospital for further evaluation of injuries sustained in the fall. Giulio Ciccone (Lidl-Trek) was another rider hitting the deck on the day in a later incident, although the Italian was able to continue in the race.
- About 60 km into the stage, the breakaway that would ultimately contest the win began to take shape as groups of attackers came together. Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep) and the aforementioned Van der Poel seemed like solid favorites out of the break, though the former was dropped relatively early from the group in the second half of the stage. Van der Poel fared better, attacking and riding solo out front for a time before running out of gas and being dropped, ultimately finishing behind even the GC riders. He did say afterward that he at least felt better than he had on the previous stage, when, for the first time, he did not factor in leading out teammate Jasper Philipsen for the sprint.
- Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) was another big name animating the break, and although he was unable to capitalize on the opportunity for a stage win, he did jump back into the top 10 overall, moving just ahead of Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma).
- Jorgensen was especially active as well, but it was Izagirre’s attack, helped by Martin’s stalwart teamwork in the chasing group, that won the day, earning Cofidis a second stage win in this Tour after the team went a decade and a half without nabbing even one.
- Fabio Jakobsen did not start stage 12. In a statement from his team, the Soudal Quick-Step sprinter said “I am not recovering, and my body is not healing from the crash” on stage 4. “I will now take some time to recover and clear my head, and hopefully be back at my best later this season.” There are now 167 riders left of the original 176 starters.
What’s next: Stage 13 preview
The Tour peloton will head into the Jura Mountains and take on the mighty Grand Colombier on Friday, Bastille Day. It’s an interesting profile for a very short 138 km stage from Châtillon-Sur-Chalaronne. It features just the one categorized climb, the hors categorie Grand Colombier, although there is an uncategorized ascent at the midway point of the day. In any case, all the action should come down to the final slopes. Tadej Pogačar and Jonas Vingegaard are obvious favorites, although if the break battles for the stage win, Felix Gall, Mike Woods, Mikel Landa, and Egan Bernal could be among those getting involved, as could basically anyone French, with Warren Barguil as a decent possibility.
- Jumbo-Visma will figure out the plan for Wout van Aert leaving the Tour if and when it comes to that.
- Fred Wright is coming into his own.
- It feels like there haven’t been quite as many huge crashes at this Tour as usual. Caley Fretz ponders why.
- Jasper Philipsen did just fine on stage 11 even without Mathieu van der Poel leading him out.
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