The day after the Tour de France faced Mont Ventoux twice, the riders had the option of riding easily or riding aggressively in Thursday’s 12th stage breakaway.
Julian Alaphilippe, wrapped in the world champion’s rainbow jersey, was on the attack again on Thursday. He was one of the leaders of the first ascent of Ventoux yesterday, and it seems he didn’t just let the Tour de France roll without trying to dig.
Before the start of the stage, Bora-Hansgrohe announced that Peter Sagan would not take the start because he was suffering from knee pain following a fall earlier in the Tour.
Without his star sprinter – and without a win so far in this year’s tour – Bora-Hansgrohe sent Nils Politt into the break, where he rode solo to claim the first stage victory of his career on the Tour. .
Here is what the stars said after the 12th stage of the Tour de France 2021.
Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ): 4th, at 1:58 p.m.
Küng was the breakaway leader for most of Stage 12. While André Greipel was the most feared sprinter in the peloton and Julian Alaphilippe was named as the rider who could attempt to escape on the climb before the finish it was Küng, a skilled time trial, who was named the rider most likely to attempt a long-distance attack from the front.
“After only thirty kilometers today, I felt like I was a little empty,” said Küng. “I thought everyone felt the same, but in the end, I was left with nothing. I was at the limit. I just didn’t have enough energy today to be able to play for the win.
And like others, he was still recovering from yesterday’s double assault on Mont Ventoux, and just didn’t feel it.
“I held on, gave it my all and really tried everything. I fed myself very well during the stage, but if you don’t have energy from the start, that’s not a good sign, ”said Küng. “I started having cramps and my body was just exhausted. I couldn’t do more. We have limits and my body reminded me of that ”.
Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates): at 21, at 15h53
Pogacar contented himself with letting the Tour roll and recovering from the previous stage. The yellow jersey rolled without a doubt, as the day’s flat course was designed for sprinters – or for a successful break.
“So far I haven’t wasted any time, everything is going well. I felt much better than yesterday (Wednesday), my legs were turning perfectly, maybe because the temperature has dropped, ”said Pogačar. “I didn’t even notice the peloton’s breakaways, [and] I stayed in front.
“The priority is to defend the jersey. But of course if I feel good on stage I’ll try to do my best [for a win]Pogacar added.
André Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation): 6th, at 2:06
40km from the finish, Greipel was the best sprinter of the 13 men in the breakaway. And with 11 Tour stage victories on his prize list, the “Gorilla” was one of the riders to be feared if the finish ended at a gallop with the peloton for the line.
While making the initial selection for the stage, the German sprinter failed to reach the four who escaped ahead in the final hour of the race.
“It was pretty nervous with the crosswind at the start. We set off on a short climb and after that, the peloton split in the wind. It was a strong group of guys and we worked really well together, ”said Greipel. “I knew Küng would go early and I could have gone with him, but I wasn’t sure it would be the right decision. In the end, I’m happy for Nils. I watched him grow up and we train together every day. He’s a very good friend. However, I would have liked to have won the sprint in the chase group, but I got locked in at the end.
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) : 42nd, at 15h53
Wout van Aert had a busy 10 and 11 stage. During stage 10, he tried to get ahead of Mark Cavendish. In Stage 11, van Aert became a one-man wrecking team who smashed the entire peloton when he flew over Mont Ventoux twice to win the stage.
An easy day could be what the Belgian rider needed if he was to try to win more stages of the Tour. With opportunities to take sprint stages or uphill victories in the Pyrenees, van Aert has options to practice, while also dealing with the hope of his team, Jonas Vingegaard.
” In the beginning [of the stage], there was stress. It was a quick start and I was happy that at one point a group walked away. So it became a little quieter day, ”said van Aert. “I think I could use today’s race after a tough day on Wednesday. I would have liked to try it in a possible sprint, but the Tour continues and there will be more opportunities.