Tour de France: Politt powers to stage 12 win as Pogacar remains in control
The 27-year-old Politt held his nerve and showed impressive endurance to cross the line first in Nimes, after a 159.4-kilometre largely flat stage from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux.
The maiden tour win for Politt provided succour for his team, after Slovakian Sagan withdrew before the start, the seven-time Tour points classification winner bowing out due to a knee injury.
Politt formed part of a four-man breakaway with Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ), Imanol Erviti (Movistar) and Harry Sweeny (Lotto Soudal) that splintered over the closing 15km.
Erviti, a 37-year-old Spanish rider and Tour mainstay for over a decade, was chasing his first stage win in cycling’s most famous race. For a while it was on, but he ultimately crossed the line in second place, with Sweeny third and Kung eventually a distant fourth.
Politt said on Eurosport: “It’s unbelievable. It’s a dream to win a stage in the Tour de France. We had to decide that Peter had to leave the race because of his knee problems, so it changed also a little bit of tactics.
“I’ve been feeling well in the last days and was trying to give my best today. There was quite a lot of sprinters in our group and quite a lot of fast guys.
“I had to do the race hard and I had to attack quite early. There was the first attack with four guys gone. I did it again and to go solo to the finish line was unbelievable.
“It’s my passion, cycling, and for my whole family, and I’m away from home so much because of training camps and races and now it’s like the biggest win you can have, winning a stage on the tour.”
The outcome at the front of the race had no substantial impact on the general classification standings, with Tadej Pogacar remaining over five minutes ahead of closest rivals Rigoberto Uran and Jonas Vingegaard, as the Tour heads towards the Pyrenees.
The bulk of the field arrived in Nimes almost 16 minutes behind Politt, with Mark Cavendish producing a sprint to lead the peloton over the line.
1. Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe) 3:22:12 2. Imanol Erviti (Movistar) +0:31 3. Harry Sweeny (Lotto Soudal) 4. Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ) +1:58 5. Luka Mezgec (Team BikeExchange) +2:06
1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 47:22:43 2. Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) +5:18 3. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +5:32
1. Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 221 2. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) 162 3. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) 142
King of the Mountains
1. Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) 50 2. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 44 3. Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation) 42
The 219km ride from Nimes to Carcassonne has all the hallmarks of a relatively straightforward stage before the teams head into the Pyrenees over the weekend.
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