It’s ironic that one of the fastest stages of this year’s 2020 Tour de France was also one that just kept building an almost slow-motion intensity on every kilometre of every climb, and all the way to the finish line. File under Heartbreak of the Solo Break, when Marc Hirschi (Sunweb) spent 90km out in front by himself, only to be reeled in 1.6km from the finish by a group that included Tadej Pogacar (UAE) and Jumbo-Visma’s Primoz Roglic. In the end, Hirschi once again lost the sprint (just like in stage 2 to Alaphilippe), with Pogacar winning and Roglic in second to take the yellow jersey from a distanced Adam Yates.
In his debut Tour, Nan Peters (AG2R La Mondiale) soloed to victory from the day’s break on stage 8 of the Tour de France, ahead of runner-up Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) and third-placed Carlos Verona (Movistar). Today’s short but challenging stage in the Pyrenees also saw a shake-up on GC. It was a particularly bitter-sweet day for the French as Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), suffering from an injury sustained on the opening day, lost touch with the peloton on the penultimate climb. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceunick-QuickStep) and Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) were dropped on the Col de Peyresourde while Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Emirates) clawed back some of the time he lost yesterday. Despite this, no jerseys changed hands and race leader Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) hangs onto yellow.
Would today’s Stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia, which had a sting in its tail, prove as exciting as yesterday’s? Absolutely! Nans Peters (Ag2r La Mondiale) seized his chance, attacking out of the 18-strong break with 16km to go, building a respectable advantage which saw him solo across the line in the Antholz Biathlon stadium arms aloft, to savour his first ever professional victory. Breakmates Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) finished second, with David Formolo (BORA-hansgrohe) third. But there was more excitement 3km back down the course as Mikel Landa (Movistar) attacked from the GC group, followed by Hugh Carthy (EF-Education First). Then race leader Richard Carapaz (Movistar) followed the wheel of Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) leaving Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) flailing in their wake. Birthday boy Carapaz is now 1:54 ahead of his nearest rival.