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Bradley Wiggins lauded the performance of Tom Pidcock in winning the Alpe d’Huez stage in his debut Tour de France, saying that taking victory atop the famous mountain is an indication of his pure ability.
“I witnessed his mountain bike Olympic gold win last year, just over a year ago now,” the 2012 Tour winner said on Eurosport after stage 12. “And to see him at Alpe d’Huez here. I mean I still think of him as a young kid, racing in the UK, winning national circuit races, and he has won on Alpe d’Huez in his first Tour de France.
“The extent of his talent, I don’t know where he goes from here, really. We say that every time he does something, but it is amazing. It truly is amazing. And congratulations to him and his family.”
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- Tour de France: No regrets for Chris Froome with best performance in years and third on Alpe d’Huez
- Tour de France: Geraint Thomas climbs to third after strong ride on Alpe d’Huez
- The current overall standings in the Tour de France
- Tour de France: Stage 12 video highlights
Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) tried to shake off the bunch early on in order to join up with the day’s early breakaway, but was closely marked by race leader Jonas Vingegaard’s Jumbo-Visma team.
He later established a gap on the descent of the Galibier, using stunning descending skills to make up time to those in front.
He caught Chris Froome (Israel-PremierTech), who had gone clear on the climb, and together they bridged across.
Wiggins listed the things that Pidcock had to do to pull off the win:
“To go on the Galibier, down on the descent there, to descend the way he did, to get across to bridge to that group, and then be one of the instigators in driving that group forward the whole day, up the Croix de Fer, down the valley … his descending today was off the scale.
“And then to do what he did on the slopes of Alpe d’Huez. He has got such a mature head on him, such a mature athlete in that body. It is just incredible to see.”
As has been noted countless times in the past 24 hours, Pidcock is, at 22, the youngest-ever stage winner at Alpe d’Huez.
The legendary Colombian climber Luis Herrera held the previous record at 23. Pidcock is also the reigning Olympic mountain bike champion plus the world cyclocross champion, and last year won Brabantse Pijl and was second in the Amstel Gold Race.
Wiggins also hailed the efforts of Froome, third on the stage, in what was his biggest showing yet after an horrific crash three years ago.
“That was the return of Chris Froome,” he said. “That is testament to all the hard work and the sacrifice him and his family have put through this last couple of years since that big crash. So great ride for Chris Froome.”
Wiggins said it was a particularly good day for British cycling, and had words of praise for Geraint Thomas, who was the only one of the riders in the top eight overall who was able to match race leader Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) on the final climb.
“It was fantastic [for British cycling]. Because we had Adam Yates there, we had Chris Froome, we had Tom Pidcock and Geraint Thomas. It was a fantastic day.
“And Geraint Thomas, when those guys accelerate, when Tadej Pogačar and those guys accelerate, he just drifts off the back. He rides his own tempo, he rides with such a good head, such a mature head on him. He is master of staging his effort, and it was fantastic to see.”
The 2018 Tour winner Thomas moved up one place to third overall as a result of his effort. Pidcock had slipped from eighth to 11th overall on Wednesday’s stage 11, but rebounded to eighth again on Alpe d’Huez.