Briton Tom Pidcock, of the Ineos group, Olympic mountain bike champion, mastered the climb of Alpe d’Huez on Thursday to win the 12th stage of the Tour de France alone. In one of the legendary finishes of the event, Dane Jonas Vingaard, from the Jumbo team, resisted two starts from Tadej Pogacar and retained the leader’s yellow jersey with an intact lead of 2 min 22 sec over the Slovenian.
On the line installed at 1,850 meters above sea level, Pidcock beat South African Louis Meintjes, another member of the breakaway, by 48 seconds. Briton Chris Froome, a four-time Tour winner, took third place in the stage, more than two minutes away, by far his best since his serious accident in June 2019.
Pidcock, 22, who is also the reigning cyclo-cross world champion, distinguished himself from his first participation in the Tour. He succeeded in the list of Alpe d’Huez winners to his team leader, the Welshman Geraint Thomas, who won in 2018. The day after the crazy stage of the Col du Granon, the candidates in the classification general were explained only in the final ascent (13.8 km at 8.1%) in this 165.1 kilometer stage transformed into a large format hill climb.
Frenchman Bardet fourth overall
They explained the climb six minutes behind the breakaway and the skimming was done over the kilometers, due to the sustained train printed by the Vingaard teammates (van Aert, then Roglic, Kruijswijk and finally Kuss) . Pogacar attacked before the last four kilometers without managing to clinch Vingaard. He tried again two kilometers further, with the same result. The Frenchman Romain Bardet fell slightly in the last kilometers. He lost about twenty seconds and fell from second to fourth place in the general classification.
The breakaway was introduced in the first hour of the race well before the summit of Galibier, the first of three hors category climbs of the day. Its elements – Powless, Oliveira, Pérez, Goessens, Schönberger, Meintjes, Ciccone – were later joined by Pidcock and Froome.
On the final climb, Pidcock took the lead nearly seven miles from the summit. Meintjes and Froome kept him in sight but the young Briton ended up widening the gap approaching the last seven kilometers to claim the second success of his career on the road, in his second year with the pros.