Swiss rider Marc Hirschi tastes victory at last at the Tour!
Persistence finally paid off for Marc Hirschi as the Swiss soloed to victory on stage 12 of the Tour de France on Thursday, putting behind him two gut-wrenching near misses
There was no change in the overall standings a day ahead of a massive mountain slog with Jumbo's Primoz Roglic 21 seconds ahead of defending champion Colombia's Egan Bernal of Ineos. The 22-year-old Hirschi was first pipped at the line by flying Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe on Nice's iconic Promenade des Anglais on stage two.
He then suffered another blow when the Slovenian pair Tadej Pogacar and Roglic caught and beat him at Laruns in Sunday's stage nine.
But the Sunweb man finally found the right formula to produce a heroic long-range solo victory on the Tour's longest stage of 218km from the chateau-dominated town of Chauvigny over four rolling hills to Sarran in central France's pastoral heartland.
I haven't been sleeping well and I had a bad back but I said to myself just go for it," said the bearded escape artist.
I never would have believed it and even in the final kilometre I still didn't allow myself to hope," said the 2018 under-21's world road race champion.
I was so close twice, so it's an unbelievable feeling."
Hirschi was given a late scare again by Alaphilippebut the Frenchman quickly abandoned his late pursuit.
"He deserved his win, I'm glad for him, I just didn't have the legs. He was too strong," Alaphilippe said at the line.
The Tour takes in Europe's largest volcano Friday with the 70km in diameter Puy Mary on the Cantal Massif with the peloton to ascend to 1783m.
Our team needs a win," Bernal warned at the finishing line Thursday.
Sagan Sweeps Up Points
On the longest day of the Tour de France, the 218km distance wasn’t the only thing that would be weighing on the peloton’s mind – there was also the four categorised climbs and the fact that the undulating parcours would give the Classics riders a chance to push for a win on a stage that would be tougher for the sprinters – but only if they made it over the second category Suc au May, 25km before the finish line.
Today’s intermediate sprint was 51km from the start, and so the points contest contenders were trying to keep attempts to break away under control and while there were four riders making their way up the road, others were trying to bridge, forming a group of six. With these riders taking the bulk of the intermediate sprint points, Peter Sagan took third from the bunch to add seven to his total.
In the peloton, with the majority of sprinters having been dropped from the hard efforts on the final climb, Peter Sagan took first from the bunch, recovering well from the day’s efforts to push for the last remaining points. Sagan is 68 points behind Bennett overall.
VIDEO: 2020 Tour de France Stage 12 Highlights
2020 Tour de France Stage 12 Top 10
1 Marc Hirschi (Swi) Team Sunweb 5:08:49
2 Pierre Rolland (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept 0:00:47
3 Soren Kragh Andersen (Nor) Team Sunweb 0:00:52
4 Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
5 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
6 Max Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
7 Hugo Houle (Can) Astana Pro Team
8 Sebastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
9 Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:56
10 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sunweb
2020 Tour de France GC after Stage 12 Top 10
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 51:26:46
2 Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 00:00:21
3 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 00:00:28
4 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 00:00:30
5 Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic 00:00:32
6 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Pro Cycling 00:00:32
7 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:44
8 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 00:01:02
9 Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Astana Pro Team 00:01:15
10 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain McLaren 00:01:42