Ion Izagirre powers to solo win in 12th stage of Tour de France
Ion Izagirre soloed to victory at the end of an explosive stage 12 of the Tour de France to Belleville-en-Beaujolais.
Eleven days after Victor Lafay ended a 15-year wait for a stage win for the Cofidis team, Izagirre doubled up with a perfectly-timed attack from the breakaway.
The Basque rider, 34, went solo during the final climb, still with 31 kilometres remaining of the 169km stage through wine country from Roanne that was again raced at a ferocious pace.
The much-reduced peloton came in more than four minutes after Izagirre, with Jonas Vingegaard retaining his 17-second lead over Tadej Pogacar as the Alps loom this weekend, but only after putting a big effort in over the first part of the stage which could come with a price to pay in the days ahead.
The stage was always seen as one for the breakaway, but it was a war of attrition from the off as the peloton was quickly whittled down to a few dozen riders by a series of attacks.
With his Jumbo-Visma team-mates Wout Van Aert and and Tiesj Benoot seemingly determined to be in any move, Vingegaard was repeatedly left isolated in the yellow jersey, repeatedly forced to chase down moves as Jai Hindley, third overall, followed the wheels to protect his own position.
It was not until 85 kilometres to go that a 15-strong group got away, but even as a peloton by then reduced to just 39 sat up, their lead never ballooned, the efforts of the first half of the stage perhaps leaving them with little energy left to apply themselves.
Having taken half the stage to form, the break lasted less than 40km as a fighting force. Mathieu Van Der Poel attacked from that front group along with Andrey Amador on the penultimate climb of the Col de la Croix Montmain, soon leaving Amador behind to set out alone with 47km left.
But it was too much for the Dutchman, who was caught midway up the final climb of the Col de la Croix Rosier as the front group swelled to eight.
Izagirre had led the chase, but still had the power left to launch the stage-winning move as he arrived at the line 58 seconds clear Mathieu Burgaudeau and Matteo Jorgenson in second and third.
The Ineos Grenadiers had done much to pace the main contenders in the latter part of the stage, ensuring that Thibaut Pinot’s presence in the breakaway did not threaten Pidcock’s eighth place overall as the Frenchman moved up as far as 10th.
The Tour now heads into the Alps with Friday’s stage a 138km test that ends with the climb of the Grand Colombier.
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