Tour de France: Politt powers to stage 12 win as Pogacar remains in control

By Sports Desk July 08, 2021

German Nils Politt produced a mighty ride to win stage 12 of the Tour de France on the day his Bora-Hansgrohe team lost star man Peter Sagan from the race.

The 27-year-old Politt held his nerve and showed impressive endurance to cross the line first in Nimes, after a 159.4-kilometre largely flat stage from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux.

The maiden tour win for Politt provided succour for his team, after Slovakian Sagan withdrew before the start, the seven-time Tour points classification winner bowing out due to a knee injury.

Politt formed part of a four-man breakaway with Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ), Imanol Erviti (Movistar) and Harry Sweeny (Lotto Soudal) that splintered over the closing 15km.

Erviti, a 37-year-old Spanish rider and Tour mainstay for over a decade, was chasing his first stage win in cycling's most famous race. For a while it was on, but he ultimately crossed the line in second place, with Sweeny third and Kung eventually a distant fourth.

Politt said on Eurosport: "It's unbelievable. It's a dream to win a stage in the Tour de France. We had to decide that Peter had to leave the race because of his knee problems, so it changed also a little bit of tactics.

"I've been feeling well in the last days and was trying to give my best today. There was quite a lot of sprinters in our group and quite a lot of fast guys.

"I had to do the race hard and I had to attack quite early. There was the first attack with four guys gone. I did it again and to go solo to the finish line was unbelievable.

"It's my passion, cycling, and for my whole family, and I'm away from home so much because of training camps and races and now it's like the biggest win you can have, winning a stage on the tour."

The outcome at the front of the race had no substantial impact on the general classification standings, with Tadej Pogacar remaining over five minutes ahead of closest rivals Rigoberto Uran and Jonas Vingegaard, as the Tour heads towards the Pyrenees.

The bulk of the field arrived in Nimes almost 16 minutes behind Politt, with Mark Cavendish producing a sprint to lead the peloton over the line.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe) 3:22:12
2. Imanol Erviti (Movistar) +0:31
3. Harry Sweeny (Lotto Soudal)
4. Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ) +1:58
5. Luka Mezgec (Team BikeExchange) +2:06

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 47:22:43
2. Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) +5:18
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +5:32

Points Classification

1. Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 221
2. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) 162
3. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) 142

King of the Mountains

1. Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) 50
2. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 44
3. Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation) 42

What's next?

The 219km ride from Nimes to Carcassonne has all the hallmarks of a relatively straightforward stage before the teams head into the Pyrenees over the weekend.

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    Dylan Groenewegen snatched victory from Wout van Aert on the finish line to bring a dramatic end to the Tour de France's three-stage stint in Denmark.

    The caravan packs up and heads to France ahead of stage four on Tuesday, and much of Sunday's 182-kilometre race from Vejle to Sonderborg was calm and controlled.

    Yet a crash with just under 10km to go that almost caught two-time champion Tadej Pogacar sparked a frantic conclusion.

    Fabio Jakobsen, the sprint favourite who triumphed on Saturday, had another fantastic lead-out from Michael Morkov, yet the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider got caught in the pack.

    Lotto Soudal's sprint hope Caleb Ewan was likewise frustrated as Peter Sagan took his line, and it looked as though he would compete with Van Aert, donning the yellow jersey after successive second-place finishes.

    However, Groenewegen caught the pair cold, with a last-gasp lunge just nudging his front wheel across the line ahead of Van Aert, while Sagan was beaten to third by Jasper Philipsen.

    Groenewegen has now won five stages at Le Tour, yet this one is perhaps the most meaningful, with the Dutchman having been banned for nine months in 2020 for causing a crash that left Jakobsen in a medically induced coma.

    "I want to say thank you to my team and my family and friends for getting me back to the Tour in good shape. It's beautiful," said Groenewegen, who suffered a broken collar bone and needed facial reconstruction as a result of that collision at the 2020 Tour de Pologne, for which he subsequently apologised.

    "Not physically a struggle, but mentally it was a hard time of course. This for my wife and my son, it means a lot to me."

    Van Aert fails to find the funny side as Pogacar gets lucky

    Having been pipped to the post by Jakobsen on Saturday, Team Jumbo-Visma rider Van Aert was frustrated by an even finer margin this time around, though can be consoled by the fact he retained the yellow jersey and has a 17-point lead in the points classification.

    "It's not funny anymore," Van Aert quipped. "To finish second three days in a row!"

    Pogacar will be looking to get the famous jersey off Van Aert later in the race as he hunts for his third straight Tour de France triumph, though the Slovenian was fortunate that he escaped the late crash. His back wheel was clipped, but he just managed to keep his balance.

    STAGE RESULT 

    1. Dylan Groenewegen (Team BikeExchange–Jayco) 4:11:33
    2. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) same time
    3. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) same time
    4. Peter Sagan (Team TotalEnergies) same time
    5. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) same time

    CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

    General Classification

    1. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 9:01:17
    2. Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) +0:07
    3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +0:14

    Points Classification

    1. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 107
    2. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 90
    3. Dylan Groenewegen (Team BikeExchange–Jayco) 60

    King of the Mountains

    1. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education–EasyPost) 6

  • Tour de France: Jakobsen enjoys 'amazing day' as Van Aert takes yellow jersey Tour de France: Jakobsen enjoys 'amazing day' as Van Aert takes yellow jersey

    Fabio Jakobsen celebrated "an amazing day" after sprinting to victory in stage two of the Tour de France.

    The second of three stages to be held in Denmark proved to be a frantic one, but ultimately pre-race favourite Jakobsen took his first individual Tour de France triumph.

    Preferred to Mark Cavendish and Julian Alaphilippe for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team, Jakobsen repaid the team's faith with a perfectly executed sprint in Nyborg, following a 202.5-kilometre ride from Roskilde.

    Saturday's route included an 18km crossing of the Great Belt Bridge, on which heavy winds caused havoc, with a huge crash halting the progress of two-time reigning champion Tadej Pogacar and world champion time trialist Filippo Ganna among others.

    Fortunately for the General Classification hopefuls, the crash occurred within the final 3,000 metres, meaning no rider lost time, and the focus was able to switch to the sprinters at the front.

    Wout van Aert and Danish hope Mads Pedersen looked well set coming out of the bunch, but Michael Morkov's exceptional lead-out ability proved crucial for Quick-Step, as Jakobsen was able to launch an attack in the final 150m, and ultimately crossed the line first by a matter of inches.

    For the 25-year-old, who suffered horrendous injuries in a crash at the Tour de Pologne less than two years ago, it marked a remarkable success story.

    "For me it was a long process, step by step," said the Dutchman. "A lot of people helped me along the way – this is to pay them back so they can see that it was not for nothing.

    "I'm happy that I still enjoy riding the bike, racing, and luckily I can win. It was an amazing day.

    "The team kept me in a good position when we exited from the bridge. I could stay behind Morkov, he dropped me off in the wheel of Van Aert. I was next to [Peter] Sagan, we kind of touched each other but luckily we stayed alright, then it was a final stretch where I could launch.

    "It sounds easy, but for sure the legs were in pain. But this is what we train for, this is why we race. And a stage at the Tour de France, I've been dreaming about that for 15 years. It's the biggest race. As a sprinter you want to make it here and to win."

    Van Aert takes yellow

    While he was pipped to the post by Jakobsen, Van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) leads the GC, taking a one-second advantage over overnight leader Yves Lampaert, meaning he will wear yellow on Sunday's route from Vejle to Sonderborg.

    Van Aert also leads the points classification after his efforts in the sprint, ending Quick-Step's run of 34 successive Tour de France stages in which one of their riders has held the green jersey.

    STAGE RESULT 

    1. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 4:34:34
    2. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) same time
    3. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) same time
    4. Danny van Poppel (BORA-Hansgrohe) same time
    5. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) same time

    CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

    General Classification

    1. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 4:49:50
    2. Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) +0.01
    3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +0.08

    Points Classification

    1. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 60
    2. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 59
    3. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) 30

    King of the Mountains

    1. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education–EasyPost) 3

  • Tour de France: 'Something I never dreamed of' – Lampaert claims shock stage one victory in rainy Copenhagen Tour de France: 'Something I never dreamed of' – Lampaert claims shock stage one victory in rainy Copenhagen

    Yves Lampaert claimed a shock victory on stage one of the Tour de France in rainy conditions in Copenhagen to take the first yellow jersey of this year's race.

    The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider came out on top in Friday's opening 13.2-kilometre time trial in a time of 15 minutes and 17 seconds.

    Lampaert dislodged Belgian countryman Wout van Aert, who finished five seconds back, while Tour favourite Tadej Pogacar was a further two seconds behind in third.

    Time trial world champion Filippo Ganna and fellow heavyweight Mathieu van der Poel completed the top five, but it was surprisingly Lampaert who was celebrating at the end.

    An emotional Lampaert said in his post-race interview: "My mind is exploding right now – I can't believe it. Top 10 would have been my expectation but to win is unbelievable.

    "I know I'm in good condition, but to win the first stage of the Tour de France, the prologue, is something I never dreamed of.

    "To beat Van Aert, Van der Poel, Ganna… it's unbelievable for me."

    Lampaert, the fourth Belgian to win the opening time trial in the Tour de France, added: "I'm just a farmer's son from Belgium, eh."

    Despite finishing in third, Pogacar confirmed his status as the overall favourite for a third title in a row by finishing as the best of the likely general classification racers.

    The Slovenian laid down a marker when posting a time of 15:24, enough to finish just behind Team Jumbo-Visma's Van Aert, who was then usurped by Lampaert.

    Elsewhere on stage one of the 109th edition of the race, Jonas Vingegaard and Primoz Roglic conceded eight and nine seconds to Pogacar respectively.


    STAGE RESULT 

    1. Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 15 minutes and 17 seconds
    2. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) +0.05 seconds
    3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +0.07s
    4. Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) +0.10s
    5. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) +0.13s

    CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

    General Classification

    1. Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 0:15:17
    2. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) +0.05
    3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +0.07

    Points Classification

    1. Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 20
    2. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 17
    3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 15

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