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Friday, July 15, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

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Tour de France stage twelve reports

We posted the race organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Tom Pidcock's Team INEOS Grenadiers:

Tom Pidcock put in a ride for the ages as he claimed victory atop Alpe d'Huez on stage 12 of the Tour de France.

The young Brit put in a virtuoso performance of daring descending and climbing prowess to win solo from the breakaway on cycling's most famous climb.

Tom Pidcock wins a big one. Sirotti photo

The Grenadier became the youngest rider to win on Alpe d'Huez at the Tour de France, taking his first Grand Tour stage win by 48 seconds.

Launching clear of the peloton on the descent off the Col du Galibier, Pidcock showed supreme bike-handling skills to bridge across to the breakaway. On the final climb he pushed clear of his counterparts by attacking early and finally breaking the will of Louis Meintjes (Intermarche Wanty Gobert).

The GC battle raged behind, with Geraint Thomas putting in a measured ride to move up to third overall. The Welshman was able to reel in attacks from Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), and finished on the wheel of the Slovenian and race leader Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma).

Thomas now sits 2:26 off the yellow jersey, while Adam Yates limited his losses well to climb back to fifth overall (+3:44). Pidcock's breakaway heroics saw him elevated back to eighth place on the GC (+7:39).

Tom Pidcock:
"A stage win in my first Tour, it’s not bad. I guess it’s made my Tour de France so far, even if nothing else happens and I get dropped every day.

"The idea was to get in the break. I lost enough time yesterday that hopefully I’d be given freedom. If I’d gone up the Galibier maybe I wouldn’t have got away, but on the descent maybe Jumbo don’t want to risk chasing me. Also the gap was small enough to go across so it worked out perfectly in the end.

"That was certainly one of my best experiences in cycling. That was unreal. When you’re literally slaloming through people’s flags, fists and god knows what else! You cannot experience that anywhere else, in anything, other than Alpe d’Huez in the Tour de France."

Geraint Thomas:
"It's great to see [Tom] do well and the second Brit to win up here (in the Tour) – it’s a nice accolade to have. It’s fantastic for him. He’s a super talent and he’s been riding really well. He wasn’t great yesterday but he had the opportunity to go in the move today. Looking at the guys in the break we were confident he could do something.

"It was the plan from the start. Jumbo were covering him quite a bit and Roglic was following him. We just waited, a few guys went on the descent so we just told him to go. (Wout) Van Aert was happy to let him go and they were riding slow to let the gap grow out which was great for us. We were confident he was the best rider in that break.

"I’m feeling good. I was just trying to not get carried away when they were jumping, ride a pace and not accelerate too much. I felt good, I felt like I could have gone in that sprint but unfortunately I should have got the elbows out a bit more."

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Here's the report from GC leader Jonas Vingegaard's Team Jumbo-Visma:

The riders of Team Jumbo-Visma haven't budged in the queen stage of the Tour de France. Yellow jersey wearer Jonas Vingegaard defended his leading position without any problems. Surrounded by his teammates, the Dane felt at ease on the flanks of the final climb of Alpe d'Huez.

Jonas Vingegaard will start stage 13 in yellow.

A nine-rider group broke away and gradually gathered enough of a lead to fight for the stage win. "That was not a problem for us", stated sports director Grischa Niermann. "We had decided to ride defensively today. I think we did that very well. Once again, I saw a solid team. Today's plan succeeded."

Towards the top of Alpe d'Huez, his competitors tried to attack yellow jersey wearer Vingegaard several times, but the Danish classification leader countered the pinpricks without mercy. "A super tough day that I got through well partly due to my teammates' outstanding work", Vingegaard said. "The heat didn't make it easy. I did not feel bad today, but my legs were not as good as yesterday. In the final kilometres I could answer some attacks of the other GC riders well. It was a cool climb. I've rarely seen so many spectators. The fans behaved well and, in most cases, gave us enough space to pass through. Riding in the wheel of my teammates even allowed me to enjoy this tough stage. The team's efforts were phenomenal."

Vingegaard was partly referring to Sepp Kuss' excellent work. The American took on much of the lead on the final climb. "I felt strong enough to assist Jonas for a long time today. It may sound strange, but in the past few days, I tried to save energy where possible to be able to assist Jonas here. It's good to see that he easily countered the competitor's attacks. We have a strong team. Everyone has been able to see that. We know each other's strengths. We head towards this Tour's second half in good spirits. There is still a lot to come."

At an intermediate sprint at the beginning of the stage, Wout van Aert added another couple of points to his total. The green jersey wearer led the entire peloton on several climbs. "It was a super tough day. As a team, we showed that we have recovered well from a tough day like yesterday. It was a battle of which there will be some more. We showed that we are also able to consolidate. I felt good, but I did suffer. I think Jonas suffered the least of all of us. He has gone through a great evolution in recent years. It's really nice to be able to work for him", Van Aert concluded.

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Tadej Pogacar's UAE Team Emirates posted this update:

Tadej Pogačar fought back from a disappointing day yesterday to attack Jonas Vingegaard’s (Jumbo-Visma) yellow jersey on the slopes of Alpe D’Huez on stage 12 of the Tour de France.

Pogacar leads in Jonas Vingegaard and Geraint Thomas at the end of stage twelve. Sirotti photo

Starting from Briancon, the Tour de France climbed Galibier, Col de la Croix de Fer and Alpe d’Huez along the 166 km of the 12th stage: with success for Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers), who preceded Louis Meintjes (Intermaché-Wanty) and Chris Froome (Israel-Premier Tech).

The group of men in the classification was led by Jumbo-Visma and also on the ramps of Alpe d’Huez the pace was kept high by Primoz Roglic and Sepp Kuss.
All this did not prevent Pogačar from attempting two extensions, at – 4.5 km and at -2.5 km: Vingegaard managed to replicate and subsequently also Geraint Thomas (Ienos Grenadiers), Enric Mas ( Movistar) and Kuss.

In view of the finish line, the captain of the UAE Team Emirates produced in a sprint that led him to obtain the 5th place in the stage and, given the decline of Romain Bardet (Team DSM), to climb to 2nd place in the general classification (+ 2’22 ”from Vingegaard).

Tomorrow Pogačar will face the 13th stage in the white jersey, the 192.6 km Bourg d’Oisans-Saint Etienne with two 3rd category GPMs and a 2nd category GPM.

Pogačar:“Yesterday was not completely negative after all, I’m confident the situations that happened yesterday are unlikely to happen again: I am therefore confident for the future stages.

"I got an idea of ​​why I got into trouble, I was reckless in trying to respond to the many attacks made by my opponents and so, after having had good feelings on Galibier, I paid the bill on Granon.

"Today my legs were good, I tried to attack but, after what happened yesterday, I was not 100% convinced. However, today’s performance allows me to face the next few days with my head held high and with good morale.

"It will be nice for cycling enthusiasts to see the fight for the yellow jersey, given that the gaps between the first riders in the overall standings are not so large “.

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And here's the report from David Gaudu's Team Groupama-FDJ:

The second monster stage in the Alps of the Tour de France did not equal the dramaturgy of the first one, on Thursday, but the finish into the Alpe d’Huez still led to a fight between the general classification contenders.

Not amongst the very best, David Gaudu lost a little less than a minute on the yellow jersey at the top and remains seventh overall after stage 12. Before heading to the Pyrenees, the Frenchman is 1’41 off the podium and twenty-seconds away from the top-5. Everything is still on the table.

David Gaudu leads Steven Kruijswijk up Alpe d'Huez. Sirotti photo

After a – legendary – stage featuring some 4000 meters of elevation gain towards the Col du Granon, the Tour de France riders had to survive no less than 4600 meters on Thursday on stage 12 that included the legendary climbs of the Galibier, Croix de Fer and Alpe d’Huez. The road was set to go uphill quite early, but a breakaway of six men was still able to take advantage of the first flat portions to hit the front.

On the slopes of the Galibier, Thibaut Pinot then tried to follow a few moves, but Jumbo-Visma tried to neutralize any new attempt. Only three men were then able to bridge across to the leading group in the very long downhill of the Galibier while the peloton decided to ease down. “The breakaway went in a weird way,” noted Philippe Mauduit. “The first six went out after a few attacks. Then, there were a lot of counterattacksand Thibaut was often in there. However, these counter–attacks were always chased by the peloton, who obviously did not want a larger breakaway”.

The gap later rose to eight minutes and the peloton really increased the pace only in the second part of the Croix de Fer. Only thirty men or so made it to the summit, including five riders from the Groupama-FDJ cycling team. In the day’s other very long downhill, towards Bourg-d’Oisans, David Gaudu was therefore perfectly surrounded by Kevin Geniets, Thibaut Pinot, Valentin Madouas and Michael Storer.

He could then tackle the final climb of the Alpe d’Huez (13.9 km at 7.9%) within the yellow jersey group, while Thibaut Pinot and Valentin Madouas supported him during the first kilometres of climbing. “I missed a little something to stay with David a bit longer”, said Thibaut. “I felt very hot at the bottom, and I struggled to recover from it. It’s frustrating not being able to stay with David, because I think I had decent legs today.”

The young leader eventually followed the best ones until the last six kilometres before he took his own pace,which he kind of regretted later. “It was obviously hard with the heat, but I was afraid of exploding, and I thereforeclimbed at my own pace while I might have been able to follow them”, said the Frenchman. “I’m disappointed because in the end, I just lack a bit of self-confidence since I blew upon the last stage of the Dauphiné. It’s a bit disappointing.”

At the top, David Gaudu lost less than a minute to Pogacar, Vingegaard and Thomas. “I was strong in the last two kilometres, but that’s how it is,” he added. “We missed our chance today but it’s not over. We are only at stage 12, and I know that I usually have good feelings in the third week. Let’s not panic and confidence will come back naturally. The team did a great job again. It’s not a great day, but it’s not the worst we’ve had either.”

Leaving the Alps, David Gaudu therefore sits in seventh place overall, but less than two minutes from second place. “It was a very hard, physical stage, and we unfortunately lost again a bit of time today”, concluded Philippe. “David needs to get used to these situations again, but it is not a big deal looking at what we have ahead of us. He knows he can follow the best”. “It’s a pity, but we will keep on going”, said Thibaut. “There are some great stages ahead, David is still in the mixand there is still plenty to go for on this Tour. There are the Pyrenees, nice stages for breakaways and there may be more surprises. We’re going to keep trying, and it would be nice to bring home a victory with any one of us, and for David to keep doing what he’s been doing until Paris.”

While a few hilly stages are now looming, Groupama-FDJ also sits in third place in the team classification this Thursday evening.

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