pour Tom Pidcock, l’ivresse d’une première victoire à l’Alpe d’Huez

pour Tom Pidcock, l’ivresse d’une première victoire à l’Alpe d’Huez

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Briton Chris Froome after arriving in Alpe d'Huez on July 14.
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For a time, we believed in the beautiful story. Imagine the victory of Chris Froome, Thursday July 14, at the top of Alpe d’Huez in the 12e stage of the Tour de France. The script was almost too perfect. The former unloved acclaimed winner on the climb, where he had been booed and sprayed with beer four years earlier.

But, since his fall on the sidelines of the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2019, the quadruple winner of the Tour is no longer the same cyclist and the gaze of the public is more tender. The implacable champion has given way to a courageous runner who clings at 37 to the promise of better days, well helped in this by the generous contract of his training, Israel Protech.

“My relationship with Alpe d’Huez has not been the best over the years. I have often suffered in [s]the laces. So I would love to try and change that, if possible.”slipped the Briton, before the start.

But, during this last alpine stage, if he had the heart, Christopher Froome did not have the engine to put an end to his 1,509 days without a victory. The essence is perhaps elsewhere. He managed to get on the podium of a Grand Tour for the first time since 2018 (3e at 2 min 6 sec) and proved that he was right to postpone the time of retirement even further.

Relive the 12th stage of the Tour de France: Tom Pidcock wins at Alpe d’Huez, Jonas Vingegaard consolidates his yellow jersey

It was his compatriot Tom Pidcock who experienced the intoxication of crossing the white line first at the end of the twenty-one bends in Isère, black with people. Absent from the first group which broke away early in the stage, the Englishman from the INEOS Grenadiers caught up after a descent lesson in the Col du Galibier. Then, the reigning Olympic mountain bike champion released his last four breakaway comrades uphill, on the first ramps of the Alpe.

Was Tom Pidcock presuming his still-nascent climbing skills? “I thought it was ideal for him to be up front, I had my sights set on him. Two, we would have played too much poker and it would have come back from behind. But I never managed to come back to him.regrets Louis Meintjes, 2e and beaten for 48 seconds.

Once at the top, Tom Pidcock burst into tears: “It’s one of my best experiences. It’s just incredible… Obtaining my first victory in the Tour de France in Alpe d’Huez! » At 22, the young man is still calibrating on the big laps after a first, average participation in the Vuelta in 2021.

On French roads, it seems more to its advantage. “He was fantasticpraised his teammate, the Welshman Geraint Thomas, who won at the same place in 2018. He’s been very good since the start of this Tour and that’s a great reward. »

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Despite its excesses and competition, Alpe-d’Huez has a tenacious legend

“This Tour is not over. He will never give up”

Briton Thomas Pidcock during the climb of Alpe d'Huez on July 14. Briton Thomas Pidcock during the climb of Alpe d'Huez on July 14.

The day after Jonas Vingegaard took power at the Col du Granon (Hautes-Alpes), this second stage at high altitude was not “Yes difficult” than expected, sums up – between two coughs – the Frenchman Pierre Rolland. “The breakaway left easily in the Lautaret [la première ascension], behind the Jumbo made the tempo, so it was fine”develops the rider of the B & B Hotel – KTM.

Read also: Jonas Vingegaard and the Granon bring down the invincible Tadej Pogacar

In stifling heat – 36 degrees recorded at the foot of Alpe d’Huez – the candidates for the first places in the general classification waited for the final ascent (13.8 km at 8.1%) to launch the major maneuvers. The Jumbo-Visma of the Danish yellow jersey imposed its train, with the effect of plucking the peloton. Tadej Pogacar has tried twice to attack in the last kilometers, he will not succeed in unhooking Jonas Vingegaard from his wheels.

“After yesterday, I was not as confident as I would have liked to be.analyzes the double holder of the title. I expected that [les coureurs de] Jumbo-Visma control the race that way because they have a very good team to do it. When I tried to attack, Jonas never counter-attacked, which I would have liked, it would have allowed me to respond in turn. But he just followed me, and I wasn’t strong enough to let him go. »

Nothing to worry about Rafal Majka: “Tadej tried to attack today. He will try again. This Tour is not over. He will never give up”promises the Polish lieutenant of the Slovene in the mountains.

This Thursday, the French limited the breakage. Stalled on the final climb, David Gaudu, 13e of the day, keeps its 7e up to general. victim of a “hot spell in Alpe d’Huez”Romain Bardet gives up his place on the provisional podium (4e), but is never more than nine seconds behind Geraint Thomas (3e).

“I had to drag a bit to get to my destination. It was a question of management, I preferred to take my rhythm. It’s the Tour de France too: on days when you’re less well, you have to know how to bend over backwards »asserts the Auvergnat. “Everyone suffered from the heat. In the next few days, we will really have to be careful to hydrate well, there is a risk of failures”abounds Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ, 14e).

The peloton leaves the Alps on Friday, but not the hot weather, with the program for this 13e stage: 193 uneven kilometers between Bourg-d’Oisans (Isère) and Saint-Etienne (Loire).

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