The iconic ascent and its 21 switchbacks featured again on the course after four years.
In 1952, the Tour de France riders discovered Alpe d’Huez, and on that special day it was Fausto Coppi who took the spoils, soloing to victory after dropping Jean Robic with four kilometers to go. Thursday, on Bastille Day, the mythical climb was visited for the 32nd time in history, but only after the stage threw into the riders’ way the Galibier, Télégraphe and Croix de Fer, the longest ascent of this edition.
For Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s Fabio Jakobsen, it was all about survival on stage 12, once he was dropped some seven kilometers from the top of the Galibier, which was being tackled for the second day in a row. As soon as the brutal tempo of the GC teams distanced the sprinters, the likes of Mikkel Honoré, Yves Lampaert, Michael Mørkøv and Florian Sénéchal rallied around the Dutchman and paced him on the gruelling gradients of this last Alpine stage.
Just like on the Granon, Fabio comfortably made it inside the time cut, with four minutes to spare, and despite the fatigue, he talked at the finish about this experience: “It’s the hardest day I have done on the bike, 4600 vertical meters and so many tough ascents. I suffered a lot, but the energy coming from the crowds, truly amazing from start to finish, and my teammates helped me throughout the stage, and now I’m happy to continue my first Tour de France.”