Inspired by the end of the 15-year drought for Cofidis and the end of the 5-year drought for Spain in terms of stage wins at the Tour de France, Ion Izagirre, 34, claimed his second stage win in Belleville-en-Beaujolais, seven years after his first one in Morzine as he emulated his team-mate Victor Lafay and his compatriot Pello Bilbao, a Basque rider like him who started with an exceptional motivation in Bilbao. Jonas Vingegaard retained the yellow jersey in an action packed stage in the vineyards.
CLASSICS SPECIALISTS ON THE MOVE
The start proper of stage 12 was given at 13.27 to 168 riders. One non-starter: Fabio Jakobsen (Soudal-Quick Step). Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) was the first on the attack but no one wanted to go with him as he’d be hard to beat from a breakaway group. He was brought back by the compact bunch after 3km and that led to successive and unfruitful attacks for more than an hour. Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-Quick Step), Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) were among the specialists of the big classics eager to break away. David De La Cruz (Astana) crashed out in a downhill to St-Vincent-de-Reins (km 28). At km 45, Van Aert managed to go clear but he was brought back after 8km alone in the lead.
15 RIDERS IN THE LEAD
A strong leading group was eventually formed at half way into stage 12 by 13 riders in several waves: Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma), Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Andrey Amador (EF Education-EasyPost), Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek), Van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Guillaume Martin, Ion Izagirre (Cofidis), Ruben Guerreiro, Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar), Dylan Teuns (Israel-PremierTech), Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Dstny), Tobias Halland Johanessen (Uno-X) and Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies). Alaphilippe (Soudal-Quick Step) and Jasper Stuyven (Lidl-Trek) came across on the line of the intermediate sprint at Régnié-Durette where Pedersen scored 20 points in first position. The peloton was divided in three groups with the likes of Sepp Kuss, Mikel Landa, Emanuel Buchmann and Louis Meintjes among the stragglers, which inclined AG2R-Citroën to pace the yellow jersey group in order to get Felix Gall move up on GC. Van der Poel and Amador rode away from the leading group with 55km to go. The Dutchman sped up and continued solo up the côte de Montmain.
IZAGIRRE ALONE IN THE LAST 31KM
32km before the end, Pinot and Jorgenson caught up with Van der Poel. It became an 8-man group with the reinforcement of Martin, I. Izagirre, Benoot, Guerreiro and Burgaudeau. Izagirre rode away by himself 31km before the finish. After the Kuss group caught up with the yellow jersey group, Ineos Grenadiers set the pace of that main peloton as Pinot was threatening the fourth place overall of Carlos Rodriguez. Izagirre reached an advantage of 50’’ with 15km to go. He forged on as the cooperation in the chasing group wasn’t great. Jorgenson and Burgaudeau attacked with 3km to go to round out the stage podium. The yellow jersey peloton crossed the line 4’14’’ after the Spanish winner.