The 2020 Olympic mountain bike champion Tom Pidcock sealed his first Tour de France stage victory on Thursday.
The 22-year-old Briton also became the youngest rider ever to win at the iconic Alpe d’Huez as he powered ahead of Louis Meintjes and four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome – who finished second and third, respectively – to take Stage 12 on Bastille Day in France.
The defending champion and UAE Team Emirates’ Tadej Pogacar took fifth ahead of the general classification leader Jonas Vingegaard of Jumbo-Visma, both finishing on the same time.
That result moved Pogacar from third to to second but the Dane Vingegaard retained the yellow jersey with a lead of 2 mins 22 secs.
“Today was also a super, super hard day,” Vingegaard, who held on to the yellow jersey for the second successive day, said.
“It was incredibly warm today. At the bottom of the Croix de Fer it was plus 35C, it felt like, and in the end it was a really hard day.
“Tadej attacked me a few times at the end and I would also expected him to, luckily I was able to follow him every time and I'm happy with that.”
Pidcock won the stage by 48 seconds, brining all his mountain biking experience to negotiate the steep climbs and the slopes downhill.
“I didn't really know what to do,” an ecstatic Ineos Grenadiers rider said. “I kept going because I didn't want to get caught. I honestly don't know if I went too hard or whatever, but actually I paced it really well.
“Even if something happens and I get dropped everyday, I don't care. A stage win at my first Tour, it's not bad.
“The idea was to get in the break,” Pidcock added. “I lost enough time yesterday that hopefully, I'd be given freedom.
“If I had gone up the climb on the Galibier, I don't think I would have gotten away, but on the descent, Jumbo don't want to risk chasing me, and also, the gap was small enough to get across.
“It worked out perfect in the end. It is certainly one of my best experiences in cycling. It was unreal.
“When you are literally slaloming through people's flags, fists and God knows what else, you can't experience that anywhere else, in anything, other than on L'Alpe d'Huez at the Tour de France.”
Stage 12 results
1. Tom Pidcock (GBR) Ineos Grenadiers 4hrs 55mins 24secs
2. Louis Meintjes (RSA) Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux +48secs
3. Chris Froome (GBR) Israel-Premier Tech +2mins 06secs
4. Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-EasyPost +2mins 29secs
5. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) UAE Team Emirates +3mins 23secs
6. Jonas Vingegaard (DEN) Jumbo-Visma Same time
7. Geraint Thomas (GBR) Ineos Grenadiers Same time
General classification after Stage 12
1. Jonas Vingegaard (DEN) Jumbo-Visma 46hrs 28mins 46secs
2. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) UAE Team Emirates +2mins 22secs
3. Geraint Thomas (GBR) Ineos Grenadiers +2mins 26secs
4. Romain Bardet (FRA) DSM +2mins 35secs
5. Adam Yates (GBR) Ineos Grenadiers +3mins 44secs