Tour de France 2022: Tom Pidcock wins stage 12 on Alpe d’Huez – as it happened | Tour de France

Key events:

GC after stage 12

  • 1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den/Jumbo-Visma) 46hrs 28mins 46secs
  • 2. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) +2mins 22secs
  • 3. Geraint Thomas (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) +2mins 26secs
  • 4. Romain Bardet (Fra/DSM) +2mins 35secs
  • 5. Adam Yates (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) +3mins 44secs
  • 6. Nairo Quintana (Col/Arkea Samsic) +3mins 58secs
  • 7. David Gaudu (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +4mins 07secs
  • 8. Tom Pidcock (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) +7mins 39secs
  • 9. Enric Mas (Spa/Movistar) +9mins 32secs
  • 10. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus/Bora-Hansgrohe) +10mins 06secs

Stage 12 result

  • 1. Tom Pidcock (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) 4hrs 55mins 24secs
  • 2. Louis Meintjes (Rsa/Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux) +48secs
  • 3. Chris Froome (GB/Israel-Premier Tech) +2mins 06secs
  • 4. Neilson Powless (USA/EF Education-EasyPost) +2mins 29secs
  • 5. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) +3mins 23secs
  • 6. Jonas Vingegaard (Den/Jumbo-Visma) Same time
  • 7. Geraint Thomas (GB/Ineos Grenadiers)
  • 8. Enric Mas (Spa/Movistar) +3mins 26secs
  • 9. Sepp Kuss (USA/Jumbo-Visma) Same time
  • 10. Giulio Ciccone (Ita/Trek-Segafredo) +3mins 32secs

Here’s our snap report, with Jeremy Whittle’s full piece to follow later.

Tom Pidcock speaks on the occasion of his maiden victory.

It’s not bad that, is it? I guess it’s made my Tour de France. If I get dropped every other day, now I don’t care. My first Tour? Not bad, is it? I lost enough time, I guess Jumbo didn’t want to risk it. I guess it worked out perfectly. That was one of any best experiences in cycling. That was unreal, when you are slaloming through people’s fists and flags. It was brilliant getting across with [Chris Froome]. He’s a legend and I just beat him up Alpe D’Huez. But he’s still Chris Froome, ain’t he?

Behind them, Powless comes home for fourth as the GC contenders arrive soon after, with a slight rejig to the overall GC. Pogacar leads the group home, with Vingegaard on his tail. The yellow jersey looks strong, Pogacar unable to land a blow, while Geraint Thomas looks in his best form since winning on l’Alpe in 2018. This time, another Briton is celebrating and looks near to tears.

Tom Pidcock wins the 12th stage on Alpe D’Huez

A heroic ride, one where the foundations were laid by his daredevil descending and his climbing ability. That was executed to perfection. Meintjes comes in second, Froome rolling in third, after his own heroic ride. It’s been great to have the old man back on the grandest stage.

Pidcock crosses the line.
Pidcock crosses the line. Photograph: Alex Broadway/Getty Images

1km to go: Pogacar must make his move now or never, though Vingegaard covers up nicely, sticking to his back wheel. Thomas is again dropped. Pogacar and Vingegaard share a joke as they are caught up by Thomas once more.

1.5km to go: Sepp Kuss comes back up, and will lead Vingegaard up the hill, as Pidcock is on course to become the youngest ever winner on Alpe D’Huez at 22. He’s stayed well clear of Meintjes, and Froome is 90 seconds and more back as Pidcock comes to the gentler gradient, soon enough he will be able to almost enjoy his ride into Tour history.

Pidcock has the finishing line in his sights.
Pidcock has the finishing line in his sights. Photograph: Guillaume Horcajuelo/EPA

2.5km to go: Here goes Pogacar! He goes on the attack, trying his best to crack Vingegaard, who stays on his wheel, as Thomas drops off the back, as does Roglic, with 4km to go for the main GC contenders. The top two are soon caught by Thomas, the podium in motion together.

3km to go: Pidcock has over 30 seconds on Meintjes, Froome well over a minute back. Pidcock exhales, in clear pain but staying determined. Roglic leads Vingegaard into the seething mass of supporters. Adam Yates has gone off the back now, though this has been a red-letter day for Team Ineos.

Allez Tom!
Allez Tom! Photograph: Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images

4km to go: Pidcock has this in his grasp, his first major win in his first Grand Tour will be L’Alpe D’Huez. Back in the pack, it looks as if Jumbo-Visma are attempting to crack Pogacar with Roglic leading them up. Sweet revenge for 2020? Perhaps so. Romain Bardet, second on GC, is in imminent danger of cracking, too. And he’s gone off the back. The GC, for the second day, will be smashed into splinters. Geraint Thomas remains in touch, sitting off the back of Pogacar, with Vingegaard up ahead of the two behind him in the virtual standings.

5km to go: Quintana has dropped off the back, and David Gaudu, who began the day in seventh, is also being spat out. There’s a bad omen for Bastille Day, with les Francais nowhere to be seen in the reckoning for stage or GC.

6km to go: We await a move by Pogacar. He needs to do something, and surely cannot wait until the Pyrenees to make his move. He may not have any teammates by then. The gap meanwhile from Pidcock to Meintjes opens up yet more to 18 seconds, Froome dropping ever further back as the roadside fills with tifosi.

7km to go: In the peloton, Vlasov has gone off the back, as has Thibaut Pinot, and Bob Jungels. Pidcock seems to have opened up the gap on Meintjes who is being closed down by Froome. It’s a lead of 11 seconds on Meintjes and 21 seconds on Froome.

8km to go: Meintjes looks to have the measure of Pidcock, who may have gone too early, and back in the field, Van Aert is done, and signals that his race is over, handing his bottle over to Roglic.

9km to go: The peloton continues to follow Wout van Aert up the mountain, as Pogacar waters himself down. Meintjes and Froome have been making headway on Pidcock, who hasn’t yet broken the chain, though has cracked Powless and Ciccone, whose race looks run bar having to climb the remaining 9km.

Pidcock goes off the front

10km to go: Powless gets back on, there will be plenty of oscillations within this group in the time still to go. It’s been steady, and so steady that Froome feels comfortable in going off the front. Pidcock is up there too, looking strong, and he’s by far the highest on GC, starting the day ten minutes back and in form. He goes off, and tries to crack the rest, Ciccone dropping off the back, Meintjes and Froome the closest to him but already some way back. This is one hell of a move from the Yorkshireman. He has the others in trouble, there is distance between them.

Tom Pidcock pushes on through the crowd.
Tom Pidcock pushes on through the crowd. Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

11km to go: Powless goes out the back of the leaders, and Froome looks in trouble too, but he manages to get back on the wheel. We’ve seen him do that before, but those were different days. Pogacar meanwhile is seeking to make his move, and pushing to the front. He has Marc Soler and Rafał Majka for company, his UAE teammates.

12km to go: There’s time to play with, and the first click is ridden in cagey style. Nobody is taking it up just yet, the crowd is not yet as thick as it will be up the mountain. Ciccone is the rider who is giving off the signs of someone trying to psyche out his opponents. Back in the pack, discussions are taking place, Van Aert ever the road captain, is leading them as he is second man down as Tiesj Benoot leads the peloton to the foot of the climb, and then drops back to let Van Aert take it up. The leaders pass the Dutch and Welsh corners.

They arrive at Alpe d’Huez

13.8km to go: Here we go, the steep ramps and hairpins, and the hammer goes down immediately among the final five. For the opening moments, they hunt in packs. Tom Pidcock meanwhile manages to lob his bottle into a bin and hit the target. A sign?

14km to go: The calm before the storm, and what can Chris Froome produce? It’s been the best ride of his time since his dreadful accident in practising before the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2019, where he broke numerous bones including his pelvis, femur and four ribs. Ahead of him, the climb approaches of queen stage, the mountains towering into the skyline. And Pogacar seems in chipper mode, talking to the camera. “It’s kinda hot, eh?” He performed similar antics yesterday and bonked himself in oblivion. Jumbo-Visma know he is not a rider for the heat, and seem to be riding him into trouble.

Here comes Bourg d’Oisans, the end of the rest of the stage, and the beginning of the end. Six minutes is the lead of the breakaway of the first climb up here in four years.

20km to go: The gap is six minutes or so, Jumbo-Visma having waited for Tiesj Benoot to rejoin their effort and to lead them along, giving Van Aert a rest, and Sepp Kuss, too. The peloton is now a small band of men and among them, Tadej Pogacar has been putting ice down his back but sits comfortably enough in seventh in the pack. The town of Bourg d’Oisans and the start of the final climb fast approaches. Nelson Oliveira, a former member of the breakaway, drops back into the field.

25km to go: The final 14km, l’Alpe D’Huez, approaches fast, and ahead of that, speeding past un lac, some water bottles are taken on. Each of the final five are taking their turn on the front before they all enter their own private hell, though accompanied by a bunch of screaming spectators and those wallies who runs alongside for selfies and in wacky costumes.

Jan Bruck gets in touch: “thanks, Strava, for the suggestion!. Living in Berlin, which is as flat as a pancake, it’s impossible to emulate the enormous effort which the professional cyclists are making when they ride uphill. However, living on the top fourth floor of an apartment block without a lift, I do at least get some idea of how exhausted they must feel when they get to the top.”

Sounds good for the waistline, Jan. Stairs generally are.

30km to go: It’s not all descent, there’s also a four-hairpin climb the field have to negotiate in the mountain pass. There’s really no respite. Up ahead of the peloton, Meintjes is struggling to live with Pidcock’s fearlessness, dropping into fifth in the leading pack. Pidcock looks back, and Froome looked to have lost his chain, as he descends at speed. He is showing admirable fortitude in chasing at such speed. They are going 100 km/h and over, with Pidcock is doing most of the over.

36km to go: There was something of a wobble as Pidcock and Ciccone (any relation to Madonna?) came close to running their racing lines into each other. Their speed down the hill had opened the gap back to five minutes. The shrewdies say they need four minutes – and good legs – to stay away and win up L’Alpe.

Tom Pidcock and Giulio Ciccone lead the charge.
Tom Pidcock and Giulio Ciccone lead the charge. Photograph: Guillaume Horcajuelo/EPA

40km to go: Pidcock and Powless drive the breakaway along with their descending skills, as the moment of truth arrives soon enough. Reminder of the final five: Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost), Louis Meintjes (Intermarché), Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), Chris Froome (Israel-Premier Tech) and Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers).

How long can they stay together? Expect them to be split as soon as the climb begins. Pidcock though, in ripping round those bends, braking at the latest possible moment, is clattering down the Oisans valley.

45km to go: So begins the descent, Van Aert leading the main field down, Pogacar has two teammates for company ahead of the climb that could remake – or break – his Tour. Vingegaard has plenty of company as they fly down the valley. There’s the odd plateau and dip to climb back out of.

50km to go: L’Alpe D’Huez approaches at the bottom of the valley. It takes the average amateur 30 minutes more than the average pro, say Strava.

Van Aert is asked to do Jumbo-Visma’s final pull up the Col, as they seek to crack Pogacar, and the peloton takes 13 seconds off the breakaway in the kilometre Van Aert pulled them along for.

The final ascent of tomorrow’s stage will be up the legendary Alpe d’Huez and its 21 hairpin turns. To get a sense for those incredible efforts, we’re challenging you to climb the same amount of elevation. Saddle up and join the challenge: https://t.co/ljmWSiutaT pic.twitter.com/B4J6ePS4aR

— Strava (@Strava) July 14, 2022

54km to go: With Jumbo-Visma looking so strong, and Tadej Pogacar having lost Brandon McNulty as a UAE teammate, it seems they are going to attempt to deliver a killer blow to follow up yesterday’s crack-up. Nathan Van Hooydonck is leading Jumbo’s jet up the hill. And that have dropped big climbers like Warren Barguill and Pierre Latour, the peloton down to 35 seconds. This is where the guts of the race may lie. Van Hooydonck peels off, having done his turn, as the gap to the front drops to five minutes and they go over the top of the Col de la Croix de Fer, Tom Pidcock looking to fly down the hill after Ciccone takes the mountain points, Powless taking second.

57km to go: Christophe Laporte is the first Jumbo-Visma rider to drop off the front, having led his team at the front of the peloton for the last 40km or so. He’s done a fine job. Up the front. Louis Meintjes, perhaps the best climber there, takes up the strain. Then Froome has a go on the front. As the field goes past these ski villages, plenty are dropping back in the field to the safety in numbers of the grupetto. The Jumbo-Visma pace is whittling down the field.

Alps
Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images

60km to go: Jumbo-Visma seem to be allowing the break to stay away. The gap is 6’ 30” as they enter the steepest part of the Col de la Croix de Fer, and then comes another long, long descent. The nine men are staying away, though Pidcock, going off the front attempt to draw the sting from them, and splits the group. Oliveira, Goosens, Perez and Schonberger look to have gone. Make that five, and that includes Chris Froome.

65km to go: The calculations are being done for the breakaway, and it seems likely that seven minutes should be enough to stay away at L’Alpe, and with Tom Pidcock descending, the Oisans Valley may be be just the place for him to keep the gap at that distance. Much to play for amid the breakaway group, on the back of which Froome sits, though he almost comes a cropper when a director’s car gets a bit too close for comfort. The gap drops down by about 30 seconds, which isn’t a good portent for the group’s survival. At the side of the road, a sign for Laurent Jalabert: “Allez Jaja.”

Jalabert, the disgraced dauphin of French cycling, the last winner of a Grand Tour in winning the Vuelta in 1995, now works as a commentator on French TV. This week, he’s been embracing more controversy in criticising the eco-protestors who disrupted the race earlier this week. ““Perfect that they didn’t appear on screen,” said Jaja. That didn’t go down well with those who recalled his leading role in the protests that followed the Festina Affair.

72km to go: Froome tips a bottle of water over his head. The word is that it may reach 36 degrees on the road today, and they are having to work so hard on this long, long climb. Still, the gap is at seven minutes. The pace of the peloton is 15 km/h. Pidcock and Ciccone at the front are putting the pressure on, and Froome is out of the saddle. looking ungainly. He always looked ungainly at his height so that may be no guide.

75km to go: The peloton is beginning to shell riders out the back, and a grupetto is forming. The breakaway group has seven minutes on the peloton, who are being led along by Christophe Laporte with Wout van Aert covering up the yellow jersey of Jonas Vingegaard.

Pogacar’s team manager leaves Tour after Covid positive

83km to go: This climb up the Col de la Croix de Fer is almost 30km long, and contains some very steep sections.

Col de la Croix de Fer: 28,5 km@5,2%. Needless to say this is a long-ass climb. The climbing record is held by Quintana and Valverde: 1 hour 7 min 53 sec in 2015. Normally, Jumbo-Visma should set a high pace and already drop some of the UAE guys. #TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/4JmOOFd84x

— Mihai Simion (@faustocoppi60) July 14, 2022

Meanwhile, problems mount for the UAE team. To follow the Covid outbreak has struck Pogacar’s team, the manager has now been forced to abandon, following Vegard Stake Laengen and George Bennett pulling out while Rafal Majka, who couldn’t rescue Pogacar on Wednesday, able to ride as he isn’t considered contagious.

UAE team manager, Joxean Fernandez Matxin, has left the Tour following a positive covid test.#TDF2022

— ITV Cycling (@itvcycling) July 14, 2022

85km to go: A slowdown as fuel is taken on, something Pogacar forgot to do enough of yesterday. The peloton seem happy enough for a group containing Pidcock to stay away, though we are not yet halfway, and after this saunter through the Maurienne valley the riders will soon enough reach the bottom of Col de la Croix de Fer. Amid the leadership group, Powless and Ciccone seem to be having words. Here comes the climb, which will soon enough shut them up.

Tiesj Benoot douses his teammates with water.
Tiesj Benoot douses his teammates with water. Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images

90km to go: Pidcock has Powless on the limit, his technique far superior. The gap becomes huge, the Leeds lad reading the camber of the road expertly. It looks terrifying. And he has opened up over a four-minute gap on the peloton, who seem to be idling down in the style of Gladys Emmanuel when they are probably at a speed that would make your hair curl. Powless, at the bottom, joins up with Pidcock, who takes something of a breather. It’s at 4’ 56” as they head to a feeding station, riding into a headwind, as the breakaway group joins back together, Froome’s familiar hunched riding style is unavoidable.

Dan, from Moston, messages in: “Don’t forget to mention Pidcock’s off road palmares.”

With pleasure, per the Huddersfield Examiner:

In 2017, Pidcock joined the Telenet–Fidea Lions team, winning his first British National Under-23 cyclo-cross championships title in Hetton-le-Hole, Sunderland, a year later. In 2018, he joined the new British cyclo-cross team TP Racing, and during the season that followed, he won the under-23 cyclo-cross World Cup, the under-23 Superprestige, the under-23 European Championship, and the under-23 World Championship – as well as the senior British National Championship.

Pidcock, Froome into lead breakaway

100km to go: Pidcock and Froome are soon enough on the tail of the breakaway group of Perez, Ciccone, Meintjes and Powless. Oliveira, Goossens and Schönberger, and then comes a descent, where Froome continues to slipstream as the downhill ride to the bottom of the valley resumes, the Col du Télegraph. Pidcock gets there first, Froome taking longer to get on the tail but managing it eventually. This would be some feat if he manages to pull off a famous win on a stage he has never conquered though worn yellow up l’Alpe. Nelson Powless clearly fears the Brit duo, and pings off the front at breakneck speed. He’s in good form this year, and may have the legs on Froome but not Pidcock, who catches him up, and they speed along together, even catching out a local vulture by surprise with their pace.

110km to go: Dave Langlois gets in touch: “Poor old Tadej’s team is so weak in nearly every sense. The lack of clear instructions yesterday was bewildering. As soon as Pogacar was isolated with JV team pulling the 1-2 trick, surely they should have told him to let Roglic go, playing with the gap, and cover only the Dane. To try to cover both was insane and suicidal. He deserves a much better team.”

Jumbo-Visma will surely try something similar today. They are in control, and the rest seem happy enough with that.

On the road to Alpe d’Huez.
On the road to Alpe d’Huez. Photograph: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

120km to go: Pidcock has flown by Froome, too, old v new. Froome isn’t a bad descender, or came to be a decent one, when thinking of the Giro d’Italia breakaway he mounted to win that race in 2018. Pidcock, clearly fearless, is spinning away from everyone, gaining 40 seconds on the peloton, and showing off his cyclo-cross skills. Pidcock flying along like he is taking on Snake Pass. Froome, to be fair, catches up, and his bravery, considering how smashed up he got in 2019, is admirable. He is slipstreaming expertly.

Tom Pidcock picking up speed on the downhill.
Tom Pidcock picking up speed on the downhill. Photograph: REX/Shutterstock

125km to go: The long descent to Saint-Michel de Maurienne begins, and Tom Pidcock is showing off his skills in flying down the mountain, taking 20 seconds on the pack.

130km to go: Chris Froome, you say? He’s set off in front of the peloton, and fancies doing something. They let him go, as he is some way down the GC. Perez makes it to the summit of the Galibier, of which the riders will not be sad to see the last of for another year. He goes clear 22 seconds of the rest. The bunch go over the top, and there’s signs that a couple of UAE teammates of Pogacar were struggling, and that’s bad news for him. Jumbo-Visma seem to have the race under control. It’s been pretty calm out there.

135km to go: Meintjes has dropped Zimmerman, and joins Ciccone as the chase builds up. Jumbo-Visma are sending their climbers up the road, including Sepp Kuss and Primoz Roglic, and in the same group there’s Tom Pidcock and a few others in this third group. Plans are afoot, though it’s not quite clear what they might be. Van Aert leads the main field, as per usual, Jumbo-Visma in formation, and Thibaut Pinot’s hopes of staging a break are shut down for now. Anthony Perez, of Cofidis, a Frenchman, goes off at the front of the break. It’s Bastille Day, and he probably wants la famille to see him in action. He builds up a lead of 18 seconds, so quite a dig.

140km to go: Giulio Ciccone, the Trek-Segafredo rider, sets off after that leading group, who have opened up a bit more of an advantage but at 1’ 28” is not much. Ciccone has 46’ to make up. There’s still 8km to climb, so let’s see how it shakes out. It looks hot, that summer rain long forgotten. Louis Meintjes and Georg Zimmermann from Intermarche are chasing down, too, and that would make a trio within that group, as Kobe Goossens is up there.

145km to go: Up the Galibier they continue, where they spent much of Wednesday climbing up. The organisers have shown little mercy. Those three flat days in Denmark feel like a long time ago. The leading group’s advantage, once around two minutes, starts to drop rapidly. It’s a fearsome climb but the peloton, starting to split off at the back, is motoring along, with Van Aert leading them, and Vingegaard covered up but occasionally getting out of the saddle.

The pack heads into the mountains.
The pack heads into the mountains. Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images

152km to go: Guy Hornsby gets in touch: “What a day it was yesterday. That last 5km blew the race apart. It was a perfect tactical day for Jumbo and a dismal one for an already depleted UAE. As for Pog, you have to think others will feel they can attack him now. But Pogacar is also such a strong rider he’ll surely have something to come. There’s a really good analysis on the Cycling Podcast saying Pog was tactically a bit naive, such as chasing Roglic when there’s no need and also perhaps putting in attacks at the end of stages but was it worth it?

“But it’s ok, just Alpe D’Huez today. This could get very messy. Or it could turn on its head. Days like yesterday really leave things so exciting.”

It’s hotting up, and there’s a chase of the leaders from a small group but Wout van Aert makes his way to pick up the minor points on offer from an intermediate sprint that otherwise has little to do with the rest of the standings. Kobe Goossens took first position ahead of Oliveira, and Van Aert gains seventh by blazing away from the peloton to collect seventh.

155km to go: An early prang, suggesting that they are going at quite a lick. Yves Lampaert is one of those involved, as is Steven Kruijswijk. Nothing too heavy, but some running repairs are required. Powless stays up front, and a group joins him: Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Nelson Oliveira (Movistar), Kobe Goossens (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert), Matis Louvel (Arkea-Samsic) and Sebastian Schonberger (B&B Hotels-KTM).

160km to go: The first checkpoint of the day will be Le Monêtier-les-Bains , where today’s intermediate sprint takes place, only 11km or so into the stage, reason being that the rest of it is uphill and down dale.

Team Yetimobile.
Team Yetimobile. Photograph: Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images

And away we go!

The stage begins with a steep climb, and as Christian Prudhomme waves them away, Warren Barguill makes an early show before Nelson Powless goes off on his own. And makes instant headway, the American. Those in the peloton won’t be thanking him for these early efforts. Chris Froome looks to be up the front of the pack. Remember him?

As they near the départ réel in Briancon, a reminder of just how up and down the stage will be. There’s a bit of rain around, something we could do with in London.

Richard Moore, in Étape, wrote the following on this famous win for the Colombian.

Herrera remains understated, modest and humble; on the other hand Hector Urrego, who commented on his victory at l’Alpe d’Huez, not so much. He can recall it as though it happened yesterday. Talking about it now inspires the same passion and emotions. He slips into the present tense as he recalls Lucho’s great victory, as though reliving it: ‘In the last three kilometres, Herrera goes solo. Is not possible in the world of cycling, but is true! Herrera goes to the victory with the Colombian flag on his jersey! Millions in Colombia and around the world see the birth of a new champion from Colombia, South America. We’re happy! We’re the best in this moment!’

At Lord’s, but paying homage to Lucho Herrera who won on L’Alpe D’Huez in 1984 @JohnBrewin_. Café de Colombia were not just the most exciting team in cycling then, they were the most exciting team in sport. pic.twitter.com/FL2J7g6idR

— Gary Naylor (@garynaylor999) July 14, 2022

Pogacar, who not long before he cracked was mugging for the camera and miming the eating of his food supplies, said the following at the finish line:

Maybe I was under-fuelled today or I just had a bad day. Everyone always has a bad day [sometimes]. I felt good until the final climb but it’s far from finished, the Tour. I got attacked by Jumbo-Visma. They played it well today [and] tactically they did a really good job. In the last climb it was difficult, but we will see tomorrow. I want revenge. The Tour is not over.

What did Bernard Hinault do the next day after he lost the yellow jersey to Greg Lemond in 1986? He went on the attack on a stage up to Alpe D’Huez, and tried to take the time back. He ended up with Lemond for company as they went over the summit together in one of the famous images of Le Tour.

Already busy at the summit finish, according to Nico Roche.

From 2015, an interactive guide to riding up Alpe d’Huez.

Jeremy Whittle was there to witness history on Wednesday.

“I was a bit surprised that the time gaps were this big,” Vingegaard said after winning the stage. “On the other hand, it was also a super-hot stage. We attacked on the Télégraphe and again on the Galibier, so we really had a plan to make the race hard today. I think the harder it is, the bigger the gaps will be at the end, and I think that was in my advantage.”

But the 25-year-old Dane said that when he attacked he didn’t know Pogacar was struggling. “No, but I took the chance. I didn’t know if he was suffering, but they told me on the radio that it was steeper at five kilometres to go, and I was thinking: ‘Either they make it hard, or I try to attack.’ So that’s what I did.”

Preamble

Wednesday was one of those days that will live on in Tour lore. The late, great Richard Moore wrote a brilliant book on key stages in Le Tour – Étape – in 2014, and were Richard able to pen a follow-up, then surely the cracking of Tadej Pogacar on the Col du Granon would have been included. The same climb once cracked Bernard Hinault, after all, though that was at the end of his career, with five Tours already in the bag, rather than the two Pogacar has collected. He is 23, but the sight of him at the summit yesterday was one of agony, at the effort involved and the probable loss of the Tour to Jonas Vingegaard.

To follow? Only Alpe d’Huez, the most famous summit finish in cycling. It is 13.9km long, bridging 1118 vertical metres with an average gradient of 8% and to win the stage is to join one of the sport’s immortals, those sweeping yet tight hairpin bends, the roads full of tifosi going absolutely bananas. The last winner here was Geraint Thomas in 2018, when he ended up winning the whole Tour. So, four long years since the race visited l’Alpe, and Thomas, in fine form this year, may be in with a chance of being a double winner. Only Gianni Bugno, Marco Pantani, Peter Hinnen and Hennie Cooper have managed that. This is the 70th anniversary of Le Tour’s first visit here, when the winner was Fausto Coppi.

For Pogacar, a chance for instant redemption. For Vingegaard, the chance to cement his status.

From William Fotheringham’s pre-Tour guide:

Cruelly, the organisers make the riders go back up the Galibier the way they came over less than 24 hours earlier, before crossing the Croix de Fer to tackle L’Alpe D’Huez for the first time since 2018. That year’s winner, Geraint Thomas, looks to be back to his best form; today, the chances are the victor will come from an early break, and given it’s Bastille Day all France will be rooting for Pinot or Romain Bardet.

GC standings

  • 1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den/Jumbo-Visma) 41hrs 29mins 59secs
  • 2. Romain Bardet (Fra/DSM +2mins 16secs
  • 3. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) +2mins 22secs
  • 4. Geraint Thomas (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) +2mins 26secs
  • 5. Nairo Quintana (Col/Arkea Samsic) +2mins 37secs
  • 6. Adam Yates (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) +3mins 06secs
  • 7. David Gaudu (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +3mins 13secs
  • 8. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus/Bora-Hansgrohe) +7mins 23secs
  • 9. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz/Astana) +8mins 07secs
  • 10. Enric Mas (Spa/Movistar) +9mins 29secs

L’Alpe D’Huez

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