Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin) confirmed this Wednesday that he is the king of the sprint in this Tour de France. The Belgian added his fourth partial victory in this edition of the French round, after winning the eleventh stage, between Clermont Ferrand and Moulins.
Dane Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo) retained the leader’s yellow jersey after a quiet day for the favourites, only altered by a long breakaway by three riders, including the Costa Rican Andrey Amador, which ended 13 km from the finish line.
Amador (EF Education-Esasypost) was the great animator of the day, launching himself alone after giving the starting gun of this transitional stage of 179 km.
The Costa Rican was soon joined by two fellow breakaways, Italian Daniel Oss (TotalEnergies) and Frenchman Mathis Louvel (Arkea Samsic).
This leading trio maintained a breakaway of more than 100 km, which took just over three minutes, but at 53 km Louvel was off the hook, and at 48 Amador lost contact with Oss, so the Italian cyclist kept the breakaway in lonely.
Oss, who, being the last escapee, took the honorary title of the day’s combativeness prize from Amador, would be absorbed by the peloton 13 km from the finish line.
Soudal Quick Step was the team that worked the hardest to catch up with the escapees, thinking about the possibilities of the Dutchman Fabio Jakobsen’s sprint, in vain, since the victory would be for the intractable Philipsen, ahead of the Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco) and the German Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain).
– Vingegaard remains leader –
“It’s an incredible Tour for me. Everything is going smoothly. I’m happy with my form and I’ve managed to overcome all the difficulties that have come my way at the end,” said the 25-year-old stage winner, who justifiably wears the green ‘jersey’ of regularity.
Philipsen, who had won in the third, fourth and seventh stages, in Bayonne, Nogaro and Bordeaux, was able to prevail without his top pitcher, the Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel, who was distanced in the final part.
“Yes, I can also win without Mathieu (Van der Poel). He usually makes things easier for me. Today I had to look for the good wheel. And I took the one from Groenewegen. He was the one who launched the sprint. And it was perfect” he added.
In general, Vingegaard maintains the minimum advantage of 17 seconds over the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) in this duel of titans in this Tour de France, between the winners of the last three editions.
“It was quite stressful, but my team, once again, did a very good job,” Vingegaard celebrated.
The Danish cyclist believes that “there will be no crazy attack” on Thursday because everyone will want to “reserve themselves for this weekend in the Alps, especially Saturday and Sunday, which are really very tough stages.”
The Spaniards Carlos Rodríguez (Ineos) and Pello Bilbao (Bahrain) maintain the fourth and fifth positions in the standings, 4 minutes and 22 seconds and 4:34, respectively, behind the Danish leader.
The first Latin Americans in the general are also still the Colombians Egan Bernal (Ineos) and Harold Tejada (Astana), in positions 31 and 32 at 36:58 and 38:09, respectively.
The Costa Rican Amador, the great entertainer of the day, came in 158th place, to continue with a modest 139th overall.