On this national holiday, France was hoping for a victory for a tricolor rider in this 12e stage leading the Tour de France peloton from Briançon to Alpe d’Huez. A climb that usually succeeds fairly well for French riders who have won three times in the last four arrivals in the resort. Alas, it soon became apparent that this would not be the case and that victory on July 14 would carry another flag. It is finally the Briton Thomas Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) who offers himself his day of glory.
It all started with a breakaway of nine riders who did most of the race in the lead, passing through the Galibier and the Croix-de-Fer. The small group then split into two on the ascent of the Col de la Croix de Fer, the second big difficulty of the day. And when it was time to tackle the 13.8 kilometers of the road leading to Alpe d’Huez, a small group of five runners, in which there were no longer any Frenchmen, presented themselves in the lead with a lead of more than 6 minutes. on the main body.
The legendary bends
On these slopes at an average of 8.1%, the breakaways managed to hold off the leaders of the peloton. They still had to explain themselves to each other in the mythical 21 numbered bends leading to the ski resort.
Thomas Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) was the first to launch hostilities by starting more than 10 km from the summit. The Briton took a little time to take to the open sea but he gradually let go of his last breakaway companions, the South African Louis Meintjes who finished second, the British Christopher Froome (3e of the stage) and Nelson Powless as well as the Italian Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo).
As for the favourites, the last climb remained relatively calm. The Jumbo-Visma team of the new yellow jersey, the Dane Jonas Vingegaard, led a hell of a train. But it was the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, revengeful after the loss of his yellow jersey the day before, who tried to attack first. Without however succeeding in winning his rival who keeps his yellow tunic without problem.
The two Frenchmen well placed in the general classification had a difficult ascent while limiting the damage. David Gaudu, 7e this morning, was distanced from the yellow jersey group halfway up the climb. Romain Bardet, 3e at the start of the stage, gave way shortly after. The latter remains the first Frenchman but comes down from the podium. It is now 4e 2 minutes and 35 seconds from the Danish yellow jersey.