Tour de France 2022 : Stage 12 – Pidcock conquers Alpe d’Huez; Vingegaard stays in yellow

While Stage 12 of Tour de France 2022 didn’t have the dream-crushing quality that Stage 11 had, it did have a powerful narrative all its own. From the youngest ever winner on l’Alpe d’Huez to a (mini) comeback from a rider who used to dominate the Tours, it was a day of contrasts. The GC Top 10 got reshuffled again (though not as drastically as yesterday), Tadej Pogacar couldn’t shake Jonas Vingegaard, although not for want of trying, and the French didn’t get their Bastille Day victory.

Pidcock flies to victory

Three HC climbs : Col du Galibier, Col de la Croix de Fer and Alpe d’Huez – all in 165km. With Jumbo controlling the peloton, the break was hard fought, until 8 riders got away by the time they neared the crest of the Galibier, including EF’s Neilson Powless, Wanty’s Louis Meintjes and Trek’s Giulio Ciccone. Then who should break free from the peloton unhindered but Chris Froome (Israel-Premier Tech). Just after Froome, Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) took a flyer off the front – again, unhindered – and fly he did, down the descent of the Galibier to catch Froome and to bring them to the main break. Pidcock is a supreme descender but he does take a lot of risks and there were a few dicey moments, which luckily never came to disaster.

By this time, Jumbo had lost interest in keeping the break on a short leash so the gap went out to over 7min on the climb of the Croix de Fer. With every climb, there is a descent, and Pidcock again used his outstanding descending skills to scare the hell out of anyone watching (and Ciccone at one point).

A few kilometres into the final climb, with a peloton that has suddenly sprung to life and was devouring the gap’s time, Pidcock decided to make his own race and attacked, with no one able to hold his wheel. For the entire 10km remaining kilometres, Pidcock was on his own, with Meintjes about 30sec behind, and Froome another 30sec or so.

And that was how they took the hairpins. With neither Pogacar nor Vingegaard showing an interest in blasting the race apart to try to catch the Ineos rider and take the stage win, Pidcock was guaranteed the win if he stayed upright and kept pedalling. Which he did.

Froome can put ghosts to rest

Whether you like Chris Froome or not, you do have to give him credit for facing his demons – certainly on the descents, it must have crossed his mind about the horrific crash he had three years ago. A crash that meant he’s never come back to his Tour-crushing former self. But he’s been tenacious – working hard to prove he can still be at the pointy end of a race – and he proved that today on the most iconic climb of them all, coming in third on the stage, after Louis Meintjes and the winner, Tom Pidcock. Whether this is his swan song or the start of a renewed rider is yet to be seen, but for the time being, his ride today deserves a hearty Chapeau

Pog and Jonas

One thing is for sure – Jonas Vingegaard has the stronger team with Jumbo and he had most of his teammates around him for most of the day until the sharp end of the final climb. Tadej Pogacar, on the other hand, did not. Whether that was because of the gruelling stage yesterday, or because they’re just cooked now, is anyone’s guess, but it means that Pog needs to do everything himself.

While Pogacar tried to do some damage and take some time back from Vingegaard, he just could not shake the Dane off his wheel. Even sprinting to the line for a hopeful one-second gap (really?), he couldn’t budge Vingegaard. This is all far from over …

Speaking of the strongest team

A Jumbo snapshot …

Primoz Roglic has been super these past two stages – getting the attacks in, hammering the front of the peloton, riding himself inside out for as long as he can to help weaken Pogacar/set up Vingegaard. I’m beginning to think that Rog has no ego – what a teammate.

Sepp Kuss was the last man on the front for Vingegaard, shepherding him through idiot fans with flares, riding other guys off the back, getting dropped then coming back and going straight to the front.

Further down the standings

Romain Bardet got dropped during the ‘Sepp Make ‘Em Suffer’ bit on the front, and it looked like he might lose a chunk of time. But he kept his cool, rode his heart out and minimised the damage. While Pogacar took Bardet’s second spot and Geraint Thomas moved into third place on the GC, he minimised his losses so that he was only 9sec behind Thomas at the end of the stage. This battle is far from over too!


Stage 12 results

1 Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) 4:55:24

2 Louis Meintjes (Intermarche-Wanty-Goubert) +0:48

3 Chris Froome (Israel-Premier Tech) +2:06

4 Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) +2:29

5 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +3:23

GC Top 10

1 Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 46:28:46

2 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +2:22

3 Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) +2:26

4 Romain Bardet (Team DSM) +2:35

5 Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) +3:44

6 Nairo Quintana (Team Arkea-Samsic) +3:58

7 David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) +4:07

8 Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) +7:39

9 Enric Mas (Movistar) +9:32

10 Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-hansgrohe) +10:06

All the jerseys

Leader’s jersey : Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma)

Points jersey : Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)

King of the Mountains jersey : Simon Geschke (Cofidis)

Young Rider Jersey : Tadej Pogacar (UAE)

Most combative : Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers)

Team competition : Ineos Grenadiers

For the full stage review, go to cyclingnews

Go here for the official Tour de France website


Leave a Reply