Marc Hirschi (Sunweb) secured his first stage win at the Tour de France after soloing to the stage 12 victory in Sarran. The Swiss rider made his winning move over the Suc au May and covered the final undulating 25 kilometres alone, arriving at the finish line 47 seconds ahead of an unorganised chase group. Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) raced in just ahead of the chase group to take second place while Hirschi’s teammate Søren Kragh Andersen finished third.
It was the Swiss rider's third solo breakaway in the Tour de France but his first success after his attacks in Nice on stage 2 and Laruns on stage 9 were nullified in the closing kilometres.
“It’s unbelievable because I was close two times,” said Hirschi in a post-race interview. “I never believed that I could make it because I was really doubtful. I went full-gas until the last 200 metres, and this is super nice, I can’t describe it. It’s hard to put this into words.”
Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) maintained his overall lead after the longest stage of the three-week race and heads into stage 13 with 21 seconds over Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) and 28 seconds over Guillaume Martin (Cofidis).
Hirschi was part of the decisive attacks over the penultimate ascent of the day, Cote de la Crouz du Pey, that formed the main late-race breakaway. However, it was his powerful move over the Suc au May that saw him ride away from his breakaway companions, Marc Soler (Movistar) and Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), and then solo the final 25km into Sarran to take his the stage victory.
Soler and Schachmann were swept up by the next chase group led by Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) but the group wasn’t organised enough to affect Hirschi’s success on the day. Several attacks came from the chase group, however, they were ultimately racing for second.
“I was always doubting because [the chase group] was super close,” Hirschi said. “It was the last three kilometres that I first believed I could make it. It’s hard to find words. This is my first pro victory, and it’s at the Tour. It’s like a dream.”
How it unfolded
After two days of sprinting, the peloton returned to a moderately hilly stage 12 at the Tour de France with a 218km race between Chauvigny and Sarran. The stage was dedicated to the late Raymond Poulidor, an eight-time podium finisher at the Grande Boucle, as the peloton raced through his hometown of Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat.
The peloton raced southeast into the Massif Central in what was the only stage of the 2020 Tour de France that covered more than 200km. While the profile offered no major ascents there were four categorised climbs over the Cote de Saint-Martin-Terrasus (104km), Cote d’Eybouieuf (121km), Cote de la Crouz du Pey (177km) and lastly at the Suc au May (192km), which also marked the day’s intermediate time bonus.
The early breakaway included Luis León Sánchez (Astana), Imanol Erviti (Movistar), Nils Politt (Israeel Start-Up Nation) and Max Walscheid (NTT Pro Cycling), who were pursued by chasers Mathieu Burgaudeau (Total Direct Energie) and Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-QuickStep).
The move initially struggled to gain more than a minute as they approached the intermediate sprint for points. The peloton, led by Peter Sagan’s Bora-Hansgrohe team, bore down in an effort to pick up some additional points to put toward the green jersey competition after the Slovakian was relegated and lost points during the stage 11 sprint in Poitiers.
The breakaway picked up the bulk of those points in Le Dorat, 50km into the stage, however from the peloton, green-jersey leader Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) nabbed nine points ahead of teammate Michael Mørkøv, while Sagan took seven points and Matteo Trentin (CCC Team) picked up six.
Burgaudeau and Asgreen eventually made it across to the four men out front and the six riders worked together to gain two minutes, as Bora-Hansgrohe and Jumbo-Visma took up the pace-setting in the main field heading into first category climb of the day.
Cote de Saint-Martin-Terrasus, just 1.6km but an average gradient of 8.1 per cent, didn’t entice any real action from the breakaway or the peloton, and Burgaudeau rolled over the top to collect the only point on offer. It was also a relatively subdued affair over the Cote d’Eybouleuf, a longer climb at 3km but less steep averaging 4.4 per cent, as Burgaudeau, again, rolled over the crest to pick up the solitary point.
CCC Team added several riders to help Bora-Hansgrohe set the pace and the gap to the breakaway gradually dropped to a minute and a half as they raced along the rolling approached the third climb Cote de la Crouz du Pey. It was the longest climb of the four at 6km and an average grade of 5.1 per cent.
It was a heartbreak day for the six-rider breakaway, who knew early on that the peloton wasn’t going to give them enough leeway to attempt a stage win. As such, Asgreen was the first to attack on the Crouze du Pey, and was followed by Erviti, however, their gap was slashed down to just 15 seconds because of Bora-Hansgrohe’s chase on the lower slopes. Jumbo-Visma, Astana, Trek-Segafredo and Movistar also moved forward to position their respective GC contenders safely near the front.
The sprinters found the pace a little too high over the climb and Bennett, Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) and Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels) were distanced into the third group on the road.
The Sunweb duo, Tiesj Benoot and Kragh Andersen, along with Movistar’s Soler were the first to attack from the main group and formed a new lead trio halfway up the climb. Solar jumped ahead to take the two points over the top and continued on alone but he was ultimately reeled back in.
More attacks came from the main group with riders trying to go across to the move. Those who made it were Schachmann and Hirschi, who joined his teammates Benoot, Kragh Andersen. Also in the move was Quentin Pacher (B&B Hotels) and Soler.
Bob Jungles (Deceuninck-QuickStep), led a larger chase 20 seconds that included Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), Alessandro De Marchi (CCC Team), Dries Devenyns (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Sebastien Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ), Hugo Houle (Astana), Rolland, Pello Bilbao (Bahrain McLaren), Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Jasper Stuyven and Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo).
The winning move was always expected to happen over the fourth and final climb Suc au May. It was a new climb added to the Tour de France pacrours this year, 3.7km long with steeper pitches but an average of 7.7 per cent. Its proximity to the finish, roughly 25km, made it a perfect launching pad for final attacks from the puncheurs in the field.
Hirschi was the rider to launch that powerful, winning attack, and he gained 10 seconds on Schachmann and Soler.
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) bridged across to what looked like a promising chase, which had reshuffled to include his teammate Devenyns, Lutsenko, Reichenbach, Kragh Andersen, Herrada and Rolland, along with Nicolas Roche (Sunweb) and Alessandro De Marchi (CCC Team).
Hirschi crested the climb alone, descended the tricky switchbacks at speed, and went on to power through the final 25km in a time trial position, fully committed to reaching Sarran with the stage win. The precarious 30 seconds over Soler and Schachmann, and 50 seconds to Alaphilippe’s group, caused some doubts for him but those all washed away as he covered the final 3km with a healthy 45 seconds.
There was little cooperation in the chase and Alaphilippe attacked several times in an attempt to bridge across to riders ahead and to get himself in contention for a podium. He was unsuccessful in his attempts, but the group did manage to reel in Soler and Schachmann inside 10km of the race. The chase wasn’t organised enough to have any effect on Hirschi’s victory, and they were reduced to attacking one another for the minor places on the day.
|Place||Rider (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Marc Hirschi (Swi) Team Sunweb||05:08:49|
|2||Pierre Rolland (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept||00:00:47|
|3||Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb||00:00:52|
|4||Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept||00:00:52|
|5||Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis||00:00:52|
|6||Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe||00:00:52|
|7||Hugo Houle (Can) Astana Pro Team||00:00:52|
|8||Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ||00:00:52|
|9||Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo||00:00:56|
|10||Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sunweb||00:00:56|
|11||Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep||00:01:48|
|12||Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team||00:02:05|
|13||Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe||00:02:30|
|14||Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team||00:02:30|
|15||Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo||00:02:30|
|16||Michael Gogl (Aut) NTT Pro Cycling||00:02:30|
|17||Cyril Barthe (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept||00:02:30|
|18||Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R la Mondiale||00:02:30|
|19||Wout van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:02:30|
|20||Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo||00:02:30|
|21||Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott||00:02:30|
|22||Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:02:30|
|23||Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Ineos Grenadiers||00:02:30|
|24||Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:02:30|
|25||Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers||00:02:30|
|26||Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates||00:02:30|
|27||Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:02:30|
|28||Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||00:02:30|
|29||Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis||00:02:30|
|30||Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Pro Cycling||00:02:30|
|31||Cyril Gautier (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept||00:02:30|
|32||Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain McLaren||00:02:30|
|33||Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team||00:02:30|
|34||Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation||00:02:30|
|35||Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott||00:02:30|
|36||Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ||00:02:30|
|37||Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott||00:02:30|
|38||Matteo Trentin (Ita) CCC Team||00:02:30|
|39||Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Astana Pro Team||00:02:30|
|40||Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team||00:02:30|
|41||Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo||00:02:30|
|42||Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren||00:02:30|
|43||Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers||00:02:30|
|44||Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis||00:02:30|
|45||Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates||00:02:30|
|46||Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis||00:02:30|
|47||Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic||00:02:30|
|48||Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale||00:02:30|
|49||Niklas Eg (Den) Trek-Segafredo||00:02:30|
|50||Roman Kreuziger (Cze) NTT Pro Cycling||00:02:30|
|51||Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott||00:02:30|
|52||Romain Sicard (Fra) Total Direct Energie||00:02:30|
|53||Neilson Powless (USA) EF Pro Cycling||00:02:30|
|54||Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain McLaren||00:02:30|
|55||Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team Sunweb||00:02:30|
|56||Andrey Amador (CRc) Ineos Grenadiers||00:02:30|
|57||Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team||00:02:30|
|58||Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||00:02:30|
|59||Jens Keukeleire (Bel) EF Pro Cycling||00:02:30|
|60||David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||00:02:30|
|61||Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott||00:02:30|
|62||Omar Fraile Matarranz (Spa) Astana Pro Team||00:02:30|
|63||Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Movistar Team||00:02:30|
|64||Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale||00:02:30|
|65||Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||00:02:30|
|66||Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal||00:02:30|
|67||Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic||00:02:30|
|68||Robert Gesink (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:02:30|
|69||Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team||00:02:30|
|70||Winner Anacona (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic||00:02:30|
|71||Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation||00:02:49|
|72||George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:02:53|
|73||David De la Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) UAE Team Emirates||00:03:20|
|74||Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe||00:03:22|
|75||Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers||00:03:43|
|76||Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Cofidis||00:03:50|
|77||Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Ineos Grenadiers||00:06:05|
|78||Jack Bauer (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott||00:08:50|
|79||Dries Devenyns (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep||00:08:50|
|80||Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) CCC Team||00:08:50|
|81||Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Mitchelton-Scott||00:08:50|
|82||Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling||00:09:37|
|83||Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb||00:09:37|
|84||Michael Valgren (Den) NTT Pro Cycling||00:11:09|
|85||Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation||00:12:58|
|86||Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck-Quickstep||00:12:58|
|87||Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain McLaren||00:13:38|
|88||Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain McLaren||00:13:38|
|89||Fabien Grellier (Fra) Total Direct Energie||00:13:38|
|90||Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates||00:13:38|
|91||Tim Declercq (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep||00:13:38|
|92||Michael Schär (Swi) CCC Team||00:13:38|
|93||Dayer Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic||00:13:38|
|94||Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) NTT Pro Cycling||00:13:38|
|95||Dario Cataldo (Ita) Movistar Team||00:13:38|
|96||Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team||00:13:38|
|97||Ryan Gibbons (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling||00:13:38|
|98||Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Team Sunweb||00:13:38|
|99||Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale||00:13:38|
|100||Jonas Koch (Ger) CCC Team||00:13:38|
|101||Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe||00:13:38|
|102||José Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team||00:13:38|
|103||Tejay Van Garderen (USA) EF Pro Cycling||00:13:38|
|104||Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team||00:13:38|
|105||Daniel Felipe Martinez Poveda (Col) EF Pro Cycling||00:13:38|
|106||Jan Hirt (Cze) CCC Team||00:13:38|
|107||Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis||00:13:43|
|108||Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain McLaren||00:16:14|
|109||Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team Emirates||00:16:14|
|110||Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie||00:16:14|
|111||Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) Total Direct Energie||00:16:14|
|112||Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-Quickstep||00:16:14|
|113||Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale||00:16:14|
|114||Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers||00:16:14|
|115||Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||00:16:14|
|116||Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal||00:16:14|
|117||Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Start-Up Nation||00:16:49|
|118||Clément Russo (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic||00:19:57|
|119||Kevin Ledanois (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic||00:19:57|
|120||Connor Swift (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic||00:19:57|
|121||Tony Martin (Ger) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:19:57|
|122||Marco Haller (Aut) Bahrain McLaren||00:19:57|
|123||Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates||00:19:57|
|124||Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept||00:19:57|
|125||Jens Debusschere (Bel) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept||00:19:57|
|126||Maxime Chevalier (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept||00:19:57|
|127||Kevin Reza (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept||00:19:57|
|128||Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Total Direct Energie||00:19:57|
|129||Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) NTT Pro Cycling||00:19:57|
|130||Casper Phillip Pedersen (Den) Team Sunweb||00:19:57|
|131||Mathieu Burgaudeau (Fra) Total Direct Energie||00:19:57|
|132||Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Israel Start-Up Nation||00:19:57|
|133||Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale||00:19:57|
|134||Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe||00:19:57|
|135||Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Pro Cycling||00:19:57|
|136||Harold Alfonso Tejada Canacue (Col) Astana Pro Team||00:19:57|
|137||Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:19:57|
|138||Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo||00:19:57|
|139||Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team||00:25:46|
|140||Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Pro Cycling||00:25:46|
|141||Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck-Quickstep||00:26:25|
|142||Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo||00:26:25|
|143||Roger Kluge (Ger) Lotto Soudal||00:26:25|
|144||Nils Politt (Ger) Israel Start-Up Nation||00:26:25|
|145||Frederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal||00:26:25|
|146||Cees Bol (Ned) Team Sunweb||00:26:25|
|147||Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale||00:26:25|
|148||Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale||00:26:25|
|149||Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis||00:26:25|
|150||Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe||00:26:25|