Ion Izagirre solos to Tour de France stage 12 victory

Basque rider gives Cofidis second stage win of the race in Belleville-en-Beaujolais, Vingegaard stays in yellow jersey

Ion Izagirre
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ion Izagirre soloed to an impressive victory in Belleville-en-Beaujolais on stage 12 of the Tour de France.

The Cofidis rider attacked from the breakaway on the final climb - the category two Col de la Croix Rosier - of the hilly 168 kilometre course. Izagirre’s breakaway compatriots, including the likes of Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma), Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), simply had no answer to the Cofidis man’s vicious acceleration as they reached the summit.

Izagirre continued to increase his advantage on the descent to take his second-ever Tour stage win. Mathieu Burgadeau (TotalEnergies) took second with Jorgenson in third.

Van der Poel put in a big attack on the penultimate climb, but began to fade as the gradients kicked up on the Col de la Croix Rosier.

Behind Izagirre, the general classification group rolled across the line with minimal changes in the overall standings. The only rider to lose out on the day was Jumbo-Visma's Sepp Kuss who slipped out of the top ten to be replaced by Thibaut Pinot in tenth place.

How it happened

Stage 12 was a 168 kilometre affair with five categorised climbs on the menu for the peloton.

It started at a fast and frenetic pace, with multiple big name puncheurs - including the likes of Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal Quick-Step), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Mads Pedersen and Mattias Skjelmose (Lidl-Trek) - all trying to force a split at the head of the race.

Eventually it took more than 80 kilometres for a breakaway to form, although the makeup of the lead group would ebb and flow throughout the day.

As well as Pedersen, the 13 man group who eventually got away contained Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma), Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Andrey Amador (EF Education-EasyPost), Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Guillaume Martin and Ion Izagirre (Cofidis), Ruben Guerreiro and Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar), Dylan Teuns (Israel-Premier Tech), Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Dstny), Tobias Johannessen (Uno-X) and Mathieu Burgadeau (TotalEnergies).

Jasper Stuyven (Lidl-Trek) and Alaphilippe also eventually made it on.

Due to the high intensity of the racing, there were groups of riders all over the road and splits in the group of overall favourites. Panic would have engulfed Jayco-AIUla when they realised that Simon Yates was in the third group on the road - behind the yellow jersey group - but he was eventually brought back into the fold.

With a gap of nearly four minutes, the breakaway pushed on with Pinot, Benoot and Van der Poel all looking like they were the strongest riders present.

Van der Poel moved off the front of the lead group on the descent of the Col de la Crasse Froide leading into the penultimate climb of the day. Amador was the only rider able to follow him, but the Dutchman would soon dispatch the EF Education-EasyPost rider.

With 45 kilometres to go, Van der Poel launched a stinging attack on the slopes of the Col de la Croix Montmain which Amador simply had no answer to. He swiftly had a gap of 30 seconds over his rivals for the stage win.

However, the nephew of Raymond Poulidor would begin to tire as the road continued upwards on the final climb and he was soon caught by Pinot and Jorgenson. More riders were able to bridge across to the trio up the road including Ion Izagirre and Martin from Cofidis, Teuns, Amador and Guerreiro.

Eventually Izagirre clipped off the front of the lead group and pushed on to the summit. Van der Poel was almost immediately distanced as the remnants of the breakaway started to consider the prospect of the stage win.

With 10 kilometres left to race, Izagirre completed a rapid descent off the Col de la Croix Rosier and was flying towards a second ever Tour victory. Jorgenson, Pinot and the other chasers grew increasingly disorganised, allowing the Basque rider to increase his advantage to over one minute.

Izagirre would continue to increase his lead as he flew through the remaining kilometres. The Cofidis rider even had time to look back and punch the air as he passed under the flamme rouge.

Prior to the French Grand Tour getting underway, Cofidis were without a stage win in 15 years. Courtesy of Izagirre and his teammate Victor Lafay earlier in the race, they now have two in the space of eleven days.

There were almost no changes in the general classification. Sepp Kuss was the only loser of the day, dropping out of the top ten to be replaced by Pinot.  

TOUR DE FRANCE, STAGE 12: Roanne > Belleville - en - Beaujolais 168 km

1. Ion Izagirre (Esp) Cofidis, in 03-51-42
2. Mathieu Burgadeau (Fra) TotalEnergies, at 58s
3. Matteo Jorgenson (Usa) Movistar, at same time
4. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Jumbo-Visma, at 1-06
5. Tobias Johannessen (Nor) Uno-X, at 1-11
6. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 1-13
7. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis, at same time
8. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Israel-Premier Tech, at 1-27
9. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Movistar, at same time
10. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto-Dstny, at 3-02 

General classification after stage 12

1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma, in 50-30-23
2. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 17s
3. Jai Hindley (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 2-40
4. Carlos Rodríguez (Esp) Ineos Grenadiers, at 4-22
5. Pello Bilbao (Esp) Bahrain Victorious, at 4-34
6. Adam Yates (GBr) UAE Team Emirates, at 4-39
7. Simon Yates (GBr) Jayco AlUla, at 4-44
8. Tom Pidcock (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 5-26
9. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 6-01
10. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 6-33

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