Basque rider Ion Izagirre broke away for a solo triumph on stage 12 of the Tour de France on Thursday after a hilly run through the Beaujolais vineyards.
In the overall standings defending champion Jonas Vingegaard retained a slender 17sec lead over Tadej Pogacar on a fast-paced day of relentless attacking before three mountain stages.
It was a second win for Izagirre’s team Cofidis after Victor Lafay won in San Sebastian, and also a second Basque win after Pello Bilbao won stage 10 on Tuesday.
There was around 25km of climbing on the run from Roanne to Belleville as the peloton tore across the hilly 189km route with the pack splintering.
Cutting an infernal pace over 100 riders soon fell off as they pedalled through some of France’s most prestigious vineyards.
An elite escape group formed only 80km from home and even this splintered many times before the 34-year-old Izagirre made his decisive move on the fifth and toughest ascent, the Col de la Croix Rosier 5.km long at eight percent gradient 28km from the finish line.
Friday’s stage marks the French national holiday of July 14 with a marquee route and an iconic summit finish at Le Grand Colombier in the Jura mountain range — a regular obstacle on recent Tours.
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