Nils Politt puts in the performance of a lifetime to pull off perfect late attack and win Tour de France stage 12
After the exertions of climbing Mont Ventous twice yesterday, riders would be grateful for the flatter terrain of stage 12. The parcours covered only one third category climb in the middle of the day, but the peloton would have in the backs of their minds the thought that at the end of the day, the hard climbs of the Pyrenees would be 159.4km closer. While the stage was predicted to finish in a sprint, one rider who wouldn’t be contesting the win was Peter Sagan, whose knee injury had worsened over the past few days and did not start the stage today. In a fast and furious start, Nils Politt jumped in the break, one of thirteen riders that quickly built a lead of two minutes and, from this point, their advantage grew and grew, hitting six minutes after a little more than 20km of racing, and then more than eight minutes after 40km. The flat roads gave Nils’ group a chance to extend this to eleven minutes, before the German went on the attack with 50km to go, a move that shrank the leaders’ group to four, and multiple attacks and counter-attacks put some distance between this group and the nine chasers. Further attacks brought the number in this group to three, but not happy with this, Nils went off the front with 11km left to go solo, maintaining a slim lead over his rivals for the win. Gritting his teeth in sheer determination, there were just twenty seconds between him and the chasers, but this grew to thirty as the number of kilometres remaining dropped. The grimace turned into a grin as he passed under the Flamme Rouge, barely believing what he was about to do. In a career-best performance, Nils held his hands high as he crossed the line to take his first Tour de France stage win and the first stage win for BORA-hansgrohe at the 2021 edition of the race.
01 N. Politt 3:22:12
02 I. Erviti + 0:31
03 H. Sweeny + 0:31
From the Finish Line
"It's unbelievable, it's a dream to win a stage in the tour de France. Before the start it was decided that Peter would leave the race because of his knee problems, so that changed our tactics a bit. Right after the start, we had crosswinds and quite a big break group was formed. I was already feeling better in the last few days, so I gave it my all today and it's unbelievable it ended with a stage victory in the Tour de France. There were quite a few sprinters and fast guys in our group, so I knew I had to make the race hard and attack quite early. I launched the first attack and we ended up with four riders in the front, the sports director told me it was my last chance before the finish, I had to give it a try and give everything. I did it again, I attacked and I was seeing my gap growing to 20, then 30 seconds, and coming to the finish solo was unbelievable. Crossing the line I thought that all the effort, everything I have done, had paid off. Cycling is my passion and I'm so often away from home, from my family with all the races and training camps, so winning a stage in the Tour de France is the biggest victory you can have." – Nils Politt
"It was a roller-coaster day. After the morning shock when Peter had to abandon, we finished off with a brilliant performance and stage victory by Nils. Weather conditions were quite difficult, there were strong winds, so we knew we had to support and protect Wilco as much as possible while going full-on from the start. We wanted to try to possibly drop some of the big GC contenders or at least put them in trouble. The whole squad was there from the start, and there were splits in the bunch. Nils jumped in the break and then the race became a bit easier, with 13 strong riders in the front. We knew it wouldn't be possible for him to win in the sprint, so we were prepared to attack early. Nils executed that perfectly, he attacked 3-4 times and in the finale he soloed to victory. It was a nice win for him and the whole team." – Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director