Marc Hirschi made it third time lucky as he claimed his maiden Tour de France stage victory in Sarran Corrèze.
The Swiss rider, making his Tour debut at the age of 22, had twice been on the podium in the opening week of the race after seeing attacking efforts fall short, but delivered for Team Sunweb on stage 12 as he broke clear on the climb of the Suc au May before soloing to victory.
Julian Alaphilippe, who pipped Hirschi to the line in stage two in Nice, was part of a large chase group on the descent to the finish, but a lack of organisation prevented them from closing Hirschi down before a mechanical issue ended Alaphilippe’s own challenge.
The main group of contenders were content to ride in together to ensure there was no change at the top of the general classification, in which Jumbo-Visma’s Primoz Roglic leads by 21 seconds from defending champion Egan Bernal of Ineos Grenadiers.
Sam Bennett used the day’s intermediate sprint to slightly stretch his advantage over Peter Sagan in the points classification, but the former world champion led in the peloton to pick up the scraps at the finish line, cutting his deficit in the battle for green to 66 points.
The lumpy 218km stage from Chauvigny was the longest of the entire Tour, before a return to the mountains on Friday.
Jeremy Whittle’s report to follow …