Ion Izaguirre, from the Cofidis team, scored his second stage victory in a Tour de France – the previous one was in 2016 – after breaking away from a breakaway group to reach the finish line alone on the twelfth day of the contest, held over 169 kilometers between Roanne and Belleville-en-Beaujolais.
This was the second stage victory for a Spanish cyclist in the 110th edition of the gala round. Izaguirre did it two days after the triumph of Pello Bilbao, the first for an Iberian since 2018.
The course took riders through the Beaujolais vineyards for two demanding climbs in the second half of the route. The first two hours of competition were disputed with tremendous intensity, leaving several runners off the hook after the first 25 kilometers.
Izagirre launched his attack in the middle of a group of high-level runners in the last ascent -5.3 kilometers to the Col de la Croix Rosier-, and completed a solo break of more than 30 kilometers.
“This is incredible,” Izagirre said. “I have spent the entire Tour de France trying to break away, knowing that I had good legs and without getting the right movement. Today it has happened”.
In an aerodynamic position, the Basque cyclist risked everything on the descent and capitalized on all his attributes for the time trials to leave his rivals behind, taking them one minute apart. Izaguirre has also won stages in the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España.
“Thirty kilometers alone can be very long, you never know what will happen,” said Izagirre. “I had started from a long way off, yes, but I knew there was a tailwind at the end and I trusted my strength. If I built a sufficient income, my rivals would be left without a visual reference and that would play in my favor.
It was also the second victory for a Basque runner after Bilbao took victory in the tenth. “It is a very Basque Tour de France. It started at home and we have two stage victories”, said Izagirre when referring to this year’s start in the city of Bilbao.
Frenchman Mathieu Burgaudeau (Totalenergies) came second on the stage, with American Matteo Jorgenson (Movista) completing the podium.
There were no major changes in the general classification. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) maintains a 17 second lead over Slovenian Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates).
The bid for the yellow jersey will resume on Friday when they return to the high mountains, for the first of three days of riding in the Alps. They will have the ascent to the mythical Grand Colombier, culminating in the Jura Massif.
“We’re going full throttle on every stage, and today’s was no exception,” said Vingegaard. “I am sure that, from the point of view of the spectators, this is turning out to be a great Tour de France… the consequences of all these efforts will be seen in the third week. Everything is lining up for this Tour to be very tough. I am ready for a big battle tomorrow at the Grand Colombier. I hope I have legs.”