Étape of the Day – Hats off to Hirschi

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Talent and youth are in abundance at this year’s Tour de France. No surprises then that the young guns are shining at the race. Marc Hirschi is one super talent and after two attempts previously the 22-year-old Swiss rider gets his stage win.

Today was the longest stage – 218 km from Chauvigny on the banks of the Vienne river to Sarran in the hilly Corrèze department. From the off we saw attacks to get in the break fighting for the early intermediate sprint at Le Dorat. Nils Politt, Max Walscheid, Luis Leon Sanchez and Imanol Erviti got themselves in a breakaway and in the peloton, Sam Bennett swept up significant points to extend his lead in the green jersey.

The crucial part of the stage came on the category 3 climb of the Côte de la Croix du Pey when Team Sunweb launched Søren Kragh Andersen and Tiesj Benoot up the road after the break was caught. On the key climb of the day the Suc au May, Marc Hirschi himself attacked as the race split with other stage contenders. Marc Soler and Max Schachmann were in contention before a group with Julian Alaphilippe latched on but the attempt was too late.

Nobody could catch Marc Hirschi today. A fantastic burst of pace to attack on the Suc au May, descend down to the finish as others couldn’t get organised. With three riders finishing in the top ten, Team Sunweb played the day perfectly but Deceuninck Quick-Step did not. We already know the talent of this young man. At the Clásica San Sebastián last year Hirschi came second to Remco Evenepoel and at this Tour he’s already come close.

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Stage 2 in Nice he was just edged out by Alaphilippe and on Stage 9 we saw him do a daredevil descent off the Marie Blanque only to be denied by Tadej Pogačar in Laruns. What we have here is a new Fabian Cancellara and that’s not very surprising considering Marc Hirschi has surrounded himself with Cancellara to gain experience. Spartacus was spectacular so enter the new kid on the block who will undoubtedly go on to do great things! Today was suited to Julian Alaphilippe but he left it too late. The Frenchman might have a new rival for punchy hilly stages at Tour de France editions to come.

Good ride today by Max Schachmann as Bora-Hansgrohe continue to find that stage win they’re missing and also Movistar’s Marc Soler gave it a go too. We haven’t seen much from the Spanish team although they do lead the team classification. Alejandro Valverde has been the quietest we’ve ever seen him at the Tour in recent years which perhaps isn’t entirely surprising as Enric Mas is the team’s big GC hope.

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Sam Bennett’s lead in the green jersey has been extended his hold of green firm. Peter Sagan did everything he could to instigate a move at the start of the stage but was once again shut down at the intermediate sprint. Benoit Cosnefroy stays in the polka-dot jersey and at the moment AG2R are in prime position to take the jersey all the way to Paris. Cosnefroy could get himself in the break tomorrow and win more points but they do have Nans Peters as back up.

No change in the GC, Primož Roglič with another day in yellow tomorrow but will he keep it? Stage 13 is arguably the hardest stage of the entire Tour in the Massif Central – seven category climbs with an incredibly difficult finally up the Puy Mary. Who will attack? One minute 42 seconds separate Mikel Landa in tenth to Roglič in yellow just 21 seconds are between Egan Bernal and him taking yellow.

The Tour climbs again tomorrow. Marc Hirschi delivers a captivating stage win – who else will create some special stories at this year’s race to come?

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