Marc Hirschi claimed his first TdF stage win on the longest ride of the tour this year
By Chuck Gibson (Interview quotes provided by Le Tour de France)
INTERNATIONAL (September 10, 2020) – Marc Hirschi crossed the finish line first in Stage 12 of the 2020 Tour de France today collecting his first TdF stage victory in his first Tour de France at the age of only 22 years.
Hirschi attacked with about 30 km remaining and was able to create a gap of nearly 18 seconds between him and the next group of riders (chase group) fairly quickly. He increased his lead during the next mountain descent. It is not the first time during this tour he has shown his ability to go on a solo breakaway. On only the second stage of the tour the young rider was beaten for the stage win by Frenchman Julian Alaphillipe at the end for a second place finish. Later, Hirschi was close again finishing third. It was the longest day on the tour so far at 5h-08’-49’, but nobody could catch Hirschi today.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Hirschi. “Two times, I’ve been really close. I never thought I could win today. I went full gas in the last few hundred meters. I can’t describe my feelings. I’m lost for words.”
Alaphillipe counter attacked breaking away from the chase group two different times, but could not bridge the gap as Hirschi continued to ride strong and add to his lead late. On the second counter, Alaphillipe encountered trouble with his bike when it appeared he broke a spoke on his rear wheel. He did not factor in the finish. Hirschi said he had doubts while on the bike still seeing images in his mind of those two close finishes
“To get my first pro victory at the Tour de France… it couldn’t have been any better,” Hirschi said. “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.”
There was no change at all in the overall rankings with Primoz Roglic retaining the Yellow Jersey and his 21 second lead over Egan Bernal. Less than 45 seconds separate the top seven riders in the overall race standings. Stage 13 takes the tour into the mountains on Friday. Stage 12 had some challenges too.
“It was not an easy stage,” said Roglic. “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.”
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