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Marc Hirschi nabbed the first pro win of his career on Thursday’s stage 12 of the Tour de France, soloing away just inside the last 30 kilometers of the day and holding on to take the victory in Sarran.
Pierre Rolland crossed the line 47 seconds later for runner-up honors on the day with Soren Kragh Andersen leading a group of escapees over the line in third.
The peloton arrived 2:30 behind Hirschi with Peter Sagan leading across the line and Primoz Roglic finishing safely in the group to stay in control of the yellow jersey.
“I was always doubting because they were always close and I always had the picture in mind from the last two stages I was close,” Hirschi said. “The last k, I first believed that I could make it. It’s my first pro victory and it’s at the Tour. It’s like a dream. It’s incredible.”
The 218-kilometer stage from Chauvigny, the longest of this year’s race, always looked like a good one for the break, but the early move of the day would not be the one contesting the stage victory in the end. The initial escape, which featured six riders after a chasing duo joined an early quartet of attackers, was never given much breathing room on the day. With Bora-Hansgrohe putting in much of the work at the front over the course of the afternoon, the break was brought back with around 40 kilometers to go.
After things came back together, however, a new collection of riders went on the attack. Going up, over, and down the other side of the Côte de la Croix du Pey, the Sunweb trio of Hirschi, Kragh Andersen, and Tiesj Benoot got clear along with Max Schachmann, Quentin Pacher, and Marc Soler. A second group of riders formed behind in pursuit. The lead group built a small gap, and then as things began to splinter on the final climb of the day, the short but steep Suc au May, Hirschi made his move. He quickly built a sizable advantage on the climb and then pressed on solo.
Although a strong collection of chasers, including Julian Alaphilippe, coalesced behind Hirschi, no one came particularly close to catching the Swiss up-and-comer. Hirschi held on take the win, with Rolland jumping out of a small chase group for second and Kragh Andersen nabbing third.
Top 10, stage 12
1 HIRSCHI Marc (Team Sunweb) 5:08:49
2 ROLLAND Pierre (B&B Hotels – Vital Concept p/b KTM) 0:47
3 KRAGH ANDERSEN Soren (Team Sunweb) 0:52
4 PACHER Quentin (B&B Hotels – Vital Concept p/b KTM)
5 HERRADA Jesús (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits)
6 SCHACHMANN Maximilian (BORA – hansgrohe)
7 HOULE Hugo (Astana Pro Team)
8 REICHENBACH Sébastien (Groupama – FDJ)
9 ELISSONDE Kenny (Trek – Segafredo) 0:56
10 ROCHE Nicolas (Team Sunweb)
Top 10, GC
1 ROGLIC Primoz (Team Jumbo-Visma) 51:26:43
2 BERNAL Egan (INEOS Grenadiers) 0:21
3 MARTIN Guillaume (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits) 0:28
4 BARDET Romain (AG2R La Mondiale) 0:30
5 QUINTANA Nairo (Team Arkéa Samsic) 0:32
6 URÁN Rigoberto (EF Pro Cycling)
7 POGACAR Tadej (UAE-Team Emirates) 0:44
8 YATES Adam (Mitchelton-Scott) 1:02
9 LÓPEZ Miguel Ángel (Astana Pro Team) 1:15
10 LANDA Mikel (Bahrain – McLaren) 1:42
In other news
| The Tour’s 7-day COVID testing window resets right before next round of tests
According to Reuters and other outlets, Tour organizers and the French government have decided that the seven-day window tracking positive COVID-19 tests within a team after the first round of rest day tests will reset ahead of the second round.
That determination is big news for the Ineos Grenadiers, Mitchelton-Scott, Cofidis, and AG2R-La Mondiale, each of whom had one staff member test positive for COVID-19 on the Tour’s first round of rest day testing.
It was not clear after that round of race-wide testing whether the next round of race-wide tests, taking place seven days later, would fall within the same seven-day window. If that were the case, a single positive test in that next round within any of the teams that already recorded positive tests would have triggered removal from the Tour, due to protocols stipulating removal for any team with two positive tests with a seven-day window.
According to reports, however, Tour organizers and the French government have now decided that the testing window of the first rest day will reset prior to the second. In other words, unless riders or staff from one of those four teams test positive in the next few days when testing is done only when certain conditions are met on a case-by-case basis, they will each return to having both of their “two strikes” for the next round of race-wide testing.
| Hamilton wins Tirreno stage 4
Lucas Hamilton climbed to his first ever win at the WorldTour level on Thursday’s stage 4 of Tirreno-Adriatico.
On the downhill run towards the finish with around seven kilometers to go in the challenging stage from Terni to Cascia, Hamilton and Fausto Masnada jumped away from the group of GC favorites. The duo held on to contest the stage win between themselves, with Hamilton topping Masnada in a sprint.
Michael Woods led the GC group over the line in third, maintaining his position atop the overall standings.
| Broken collarbone for Izagirre
Ion Izagirre abandoned the Tour de France on Wednesday’s 10th stage following a bad crash.
His team later said that Izagirre suffered fractures to his right collarbone as well as his right third metacarpal. The one-time Tour stage winner spent the night in the hospital and was scheduled for surgery on Thursday.
| Cadex launches new Classics tubeless tire
Giant Bicycles’ high-end component division, Cadex, has a new road tubeless tire designed with mixed surface riding and racing in mind. The Classics tubeless tire offers a file tread pattern with a new silica-based compound, a supple single layer 170 TPI casing, and a Kevlar-based puncture resistant belt.
The Classics tire is exclusively tubeless, and is available in 25, 28 and 32 mm widths. Expect to pay US$100 per tire.
| Coming up at the Tour
A very challenging parcours awaits the Tour de France peloton on stage 13. There is hardly a moment of flat during the 192-kilometer journey from Châtel-Guyon to Pas de Peyrol, which features seven categorized climbs, ending with the very steep Puy Mary ascent.
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Today’s featured image of Marc Hirschi winning stage 12 of the Tour de France comes from Cor Vos.