Nils Politt gets tactics spot on to land stage 12 of Tour de France

German rider wins maiden Grand Tour stage as Mark Cavendish lets breakaway go ahead

Nils Politt celebrates his stage 12 victory in the Tour de France. Photograph: Guillaume Horcajuelo/EPA

Nils Politt celebrates his stage 12 victory in the Tour de France. Photograph: Guillaume Horcajuelo/EPA

 

Nils Politt, one of cycling’s accomplished breakaway experts, took his first Grand Tour stage win in Nîmes, on stage 12 of the Tour de France. The German rouleur, racing for the Bora Hansgrohe team, attacked his final breakaway companions, Harrison Sweeny of Lotto Soudal and Imanol Erviti of Movistar, to finally lay the ghost of his many near-misses.

The 27-year-old from Cologne has a string of top-five results in races such as Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders, but had never before won a stage in one of Europe’s Grand Tours of Italy, France or Spain.

After the abandonment of his team leader, Peter Sagan, before the stage start due to an injured knee, Politt rode hard to distance his pursuers in the larger group behind, which contained the world road race champion, Julian Alaphilippe, and the veteran German sprinter André Greipel, of Israel Start Up Nation.

After a gusting mistral split the peloton apart in the opening kilometres, the pace settled down after the race entered the more sheltered roads through the Gorges de l’Ardèche, with a 13-rider breakaway, containing Politt, moving clear.

With Mark Cavendish’s Deceuninck Quick-Step teammate Alaphilippe riding in the breakaway, the Manx rider and his teammates were more than happy, the day after the double ascent of Mont Ventoux, to take things easier and let the move go ahead.

Fifty kilometres from the finish the break still led the slumbering peloton by more than 12 minutes, but on the approach to Nîmes, the group split with Sweeny, Erviti, the time-trial specialist Stefan Kung, of Groupama FDJ, and Politt, racing ahead to contest the finish. This time, however, Politt, so often outmanouevred by his rivals, got his tactics just right. - Guardian

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