TdF Stage 12: Hirschi Gets His Stage Win

After finishing second and third already on stages in his first Tour de France, Marc Hirschi, soloed to victory 30km on stage 12 defying the strongest riders in the race also wanting that win

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TdF Stage 12: Hirschi Gets His Stage Win

After finishing second and third already on stages in his first Tour de France, Marc Hirschi, 22, became the first Swiss rider to win a stage since his mentor Fabian Cancellara. Hirschi soloed to victory after attacking 30km before the end of stage 12 in the small town of Sarran in the Corrèze department. The 2018 Under 23 world champion took his first pro win in his first Grand Tour. Pierre Rolland and Soren Kragh Andersen rounded out the podium. Primoz Roglic retained the yellow jersey.

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There were 161 riders who took to the start of stage 12 in Chauvigny. World champion Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) was first to stamp on the pedals hard. Then, Imanol Erviti (Movistar), Max Walscheid (NTT), Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) and Nils Politt (Israel Start-Up Nation) managed to ride away from the peloton at km 8.

The peloton reacted strongly to keep them on a very tight leash before Mathieu Burgaudeau (Total Direct Energie) and Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick Step) managed to bridge the gap at km 63 while Bora-Hansgrohe set the pace at the head of the peloton to maintain the breaks lead to under two minutes. It went up to 2’55″ at the first categorized climb of St-Martin-de-Terressus (km 104.5).

CCC Team was also involved in the chase behind as the six leaders passed St-Léonard-de-Noblat (km 114), the village of Raymond Poulidor halfway into the race. Asgreen and Erviti forged on after passing the 50km to go mark while the peloton strongly led by Bora-Hansgrohe, CCC and Sunweb was only 25″ behind. After the regrouping, a different front group of six riders formed with Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Kragh Andersen, Tiesj Benoot and Marc Hirschi (Sunweb), Quentin Pacher (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) and Marc Soler (Movistar).

Hirschi countered Soler to take the lead by himself 30km before the end as he was climbing to category 2 Col de Suc au May. Hirschi crested the mountain first with an advantage of 18″ over Soler and Schachmann.

Hirschi extended his lead on the downhill, to the chasers and also the yellow jersey group that was now two minutes down. Soler and Schachmann battled on 30″ behind him. With 10km to go, Soler and Schachmann were brought back by the chasing group including Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step).

The Frenchman attacked out of that group on two occasions, the last one with 4km to go but there was nothing to do catch the Swiss debutant who came second to him on stage 2 in Nice. Another Frenchman managed to go clip off the group to finish second: Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept). Peter Sagan won the sprint of the peloton comprising yellow jersey Primoz Roglic who came home safely.

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Marc Hirschi: “It’s unbelievable. Two times, I’ve been really close. I never thought I could win today. I went full gas in the last few hundred metres. I can’t describe my feelings. I’m lost for words. On the bike, I was always doubting I’d win. I had in my mind the picture of the last two times when I lost. To get my first pro victory at the Tour de France… it couldn’t have been any better. It’s incredible. In the Pyrénées, I got the confidence for trying to win today, otherwise I would have never attacked solo in that climb. What I did last week gave me this extra power. Two podiums and my first pro win at the Tour, it’s like a dream.”

“The plan for today was to go for the breakaway, we really wanted to be there,” smiled a jubilant Hirschi after the stage. “At the start we saw that CCC and Bora really controlled the race so we switched our tactics. Then we decided that Søren and Tiesj would go on the Category-3 climb and I would wait until the next climb. It was the plan that I followed Alaphilippe or the other big guys”.

“Then at a moment I saw there was a lot more jumping from the bunch and just went for it and followed Jungels. The guys sat up ahead and brought me to the front and then the gap opened and we went full gas, before I then attacked on the last climb. I’m happy that I had the confidence to go there, because without the last few stages where we were so close to the win, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to go for it today. I just went all out. I didn’t believe I would make it until the last kilometre; it is a dream come true.”

Matt Winston (Sunweb coach): “It was a really good performance today by the whole team and everyone fully committed to the plan for the finale. It was great to see them ride with so much confidence in each other. We wanted to make it hard on the third category climb, where Søren and Tiesj a brilliant job after some great position by our sprint guys, where they put them into a position where they could attack.

Marc then followed across and we had three guys in a group of six. We knew it would be tough on the second category climb so Marc made his move there. Nico and Søren were in a group of chasers and they did a fantastic job of just blocking behind, not letting anyone else jump across to Marc, and Marc was able to solo to the finish. It was a super team effort. After all our hard work in the stages before, it is really nice victory.”

Pierre Rolland (2nd): “I didn’t miss much today. Marc Hirschi was too strong, he started at the most difficult moment and made the difference on the ascent and on the descent …  Behind, however, we were driving very fast! There is no regrets. We understood that we were going to play for second place. I tried all-out in the end  but Hirschi was untouchable. Since the resumption of the season, I feel good, fulfilled. The confinement allowed me to treat my wrist, which I was still suffering from after my double fracture. I feel like I’m brand new. This result did me good. Second is good, but it’s only victory that counts. I have good feelings and I hope to hit one! I checked off some boxes but I won’t tell you which ones. (Laughs). We will see how the legs respond in the coming days. I made the choice to be far down on the general standings; I can please myself as much as possible until Paris. The result is encouraging but we are missing the victory.”

Primoz Roglic: “It was not an easy stage. At the beginning we expected the break to go up the road immediately, but there were riders from other teams pulling and attacking which delayed this. We raced at a high pace all stage long. Especially at the end, on the climbs. The team has again kept me in the front. This was a good day for us.” So it turned out to be far from a rest day for our legs… Actually, it’s been a good warm-up thinking of the mountains that we will tackle tomorrow. We expect tomorrow’s stage to be very hard – especially its final. It will be a new challenge for us. It will be tough, with the sequence of climbs and the mountaintop finish. I expect the necessary attacks and a fight for the GC on the final climb. The team is very strong and we have to keep riding like we have been doing the entire Tour. I am looking forward to it.”

Julian Alaphilippe: “Today was very fast. I was thinking at the start that the breakaway would make it, but some teams had other plans, so they chased hard. When we arrived on the penultimate climb, I made my effort and had some help from Dries and Bob, who did the maximum, but we couldn’t catch Hirschi, who was the strongest today. I am a bit disappointed, but at the same time confident that other opportunities will come before we reach Paris next Sunday.”

Guillaume Martin (3rd overall): “It was a good day. I don’t know if we can say that I have recovered as the stage was long. In any case, I remained safe and, as I repeat every day, super well looked after by my teammates. We always stayed in front of the peloton, always vigilant. Jesus (Herrada) was able to integrate the breakaway and aim for the stage victory. It was also about the goal of the day. For us, it’s still a very good day. ”

Egan Bernal: “Finally there weren’t attacks among the favourites. Most of us were thinking all day about the time bonus up for grabs [at the bonus point of Suc au Muy]. Others went to catch the escapees and we, the GC riders, could be quieter. We haven’t stopped all day. Bora-Hansgrohe pulled very strongly and made the race very hard. I think this stage will be felt in the legs in the coming days. Tomorrow I believe it’ll be a day to make differences, for sure. It’s a stage with a lot of elevation gain. It’s long as well, with almost 200km, and it comes after a 220km long stage. It’ll be more demanding than today with an explosive finale to finish. We’ve recced the stage and the last kilometres are very steep. We’ll have to approach them in the best position possible because there’ll be differences.”

Nairo Quintana: “The average was high throughout the day still in the peloton, because the Bora-Hansgrohe did not want to give up any field with the morning break of six riders. The stage was still fast, rhythmic and difficult, but once again I remember that we worked perfectly as a team. We arrived in the first peloton, Winner, Warren and me. Both were precious to me at the end of this stage. Tomorrow looms the stage which will arrive at the top of Puy-Mary. It will be very important. I hope that we will once again be in the fight with the best in the race, enjoying a good condition ”.

Warren Barguil: “This stage was the longest of the Tour de France 2020. My mission was to protect Nairo, especially during the ascent of the 2nd category pass. I had to make sure he didn’t get dropped. On the last climb, I rode alongside the Lotto-Jumbo and so Nairo was in a good position and couldn’t be broken. I have fulfilled my mission. Nairo is still very well positioned in the general classification of the Tour, and above all the whole Arkéa-Samsic team is doing well ”

Jesus Herrada (5th on the stage): “My intention was to be part of a breakaway today. At the beginning, there was not a big breakaway that formed since some teams wanted to control the race. The goal then was to protect Guillaume (Martin) in the best possible way. And on the last difficulty, I tried to catch Marc Hirschi with a group of riders. But he was unbeatable today! I remain very happy with my feelings and I will do everything tomorrow to help Guillaume as much as possible. ”

Maximilian Schachmann (6th) : We didn’t have a very specific plan today, it was more about how the race would develop in the first kilometres. Actually, we expected a bigger breakaway group, maybe 20-25 riders, since it was one of the last chances the Classics guys have in this Tour de France. Suddenly, four riders were gone and the bunch already slowed down, so we decided to control the race for Peter. In the final kilometres, the race unfolded as a pretty hard one when Sunweb started to accelerate in the penultimate categorised climb. I followed and I fought till the finish. Peter had already told me that if it was going to be fast, I shouldn’t wait for him and just go for myself, and I knew how fast Peter can go in the climbs. We might have had some bad moments but this isn’t a reason to give up, it just makes us fight in order to have good moments again.”

Hugo Houle (7th): It was really hard in the end and I am really happy I’ve been there with the best. Firstly, we attacked together, me and Alexey Lutsenko, to join a good group. On the last climb the group went really fast, but I was able to stay with them to the top and later on the descent. We rode a bit together as a group, but in the end, there were many teams with a few riders and near the end they started to attack, destroying our chasing.

With 2 km to go I made an attack but was caught back with 500 meters to the line. I still tried to do my sprint with the energy left in my legs and finished 7th. I had good legs, it was a nice try for me, so I am pretty happy with this day. For me it is a big day. This is the Tour de France and on a stage like this I was able to race up there in front with the best guys. If we compare with the last year, I’ve made a big step ahead. So, 7th place is good and next time I will try to improve it”

Luis Leon Sanchez: It was a stage with a clear opportunity for the break to do it until the end, so it was our plan to have a rider in the leading group. I was ready to do a good stage in the breakaway and when I saw a possibility I just went away. Well, in the end we had a small group and the peloton was chasing us hardly, 2 minutes behind. So, it was impossible to do something today. However, I felt quite good and maybe we will have another opportunity in the following days”

Sébastien Reichenbach (8th): “In the final, which was difficult, the peloton came very close and we had to be attentive to the moves that could go”, said the Swiss rider. “I followed a group that practically fought for victory, but Marc Hirschi was untouchable today. The feelings are good, it’s always nice to go up front and it feels good going forward”.

Stage result

1 Marc Hirschi Team Sunweb 05:08:49
2 Pierre Rolland B&B Hotels-Vital Concept @ 47
3 Søren Kragh Andersen Team Sunweb @ 52
4 Quentin Pacher B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
5 Jesus Herrada Cofidis
6 Maximilian Schachmann Bora-Hansgrohe
7 Hugo Houle Astana Pro Team
8 Sebastien Reichenbach Groupama-FDJ
9 Kenny Elissonde Trek-Segafredo @ 56
10 Nicolas Roche Team Sunweb

11 Julian Alaphilippe Deceuninck-Quick Step @ 01:48
13 Peter Sagan Bora-Hansgrohe @ 02:30
19 Wout Van Aert Team Jumbo – Visma @ 02:30
21 Adam Yates Mitchelton-Scott
22 Tom Dumoulin Team Jumbo – Visma
24 Primoz Roglic Team Jumbo – Visma
25 Egan Bernal jersey INEOS Grenadiers
26 Tadej Pogacar UAE Team Emirates
46 Guillaume Martin Cofidis
47 Nairo Quintana Team Arkea-Samsic
71 Daniel Martin Israel Start-Up Nation @ 02:49
78 Jack Bauer Mitchelton-Scott @ 08:50
120 Connor Swift Team Arkea-Samsic @ 19:57
140 Hugh Carthy EF Pro Cycling @ 25:46
160 Sam Bennett Deceuninck-Quick Step

1 Primoz Roglic Team Jumbo – Visma 51:26:43
2 Egan Bernal INEOS Grenadiers @ 21
3 Guillaume Martin Cofidis @ 28
4 Romain Bardet AG2R La Mondiale @ 30
5 Nairo Quintana Team Arkea-Samsic @ 32
6 Rigoberto Uran EF Pro Cycling @ 32
7 Tadej Pogacar UAE Team Emirates @ 44
8 Adam Yates Mitchelton-Scott @ 01:02
9 Miguel Angel Lopez Astana Pro Team @ 01:15
10 Mikel Landa Bahrain-McLaren @ 01:42
11 Richie Porte Trek-Segafredo @ 01:53
12 Enric Mas Movistar Team @ 02:02
13 Bauke Mollema Trek-Segafredo @ 02:31
14 Tom Dumoulin Team Jumbo – Visma @ 03:22
15 Richard Carapaz INEOS Grenadiers @ 03:42

38 Julian Alaphilippe Deceuninck-Quick Step @ 55:52
41 Hugh Carthy EF Pro Cycling @ 01:00:00
58 Daniel Martin Israel Start-Up Nation @ 01:15:57
82 Peter Sagan Bora-Hansgrohe @ 01:53:29
90 Jack Bauer Mitchelton-Scott @ 02:02:04
111 Connor Swift Team Arkea-Samsic @ 02:21:24
154 Luke Rowe INEOS Grenadiers @ 02:57:35


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