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Marc Hirschi hails victory

Marc Hirschi hails victory

AP

Marc Hirschi hails victory

It was third time lucky for Switzerland's Marc Hirschi as he claimed his maiden Tour de France stage victory in Sarren Correze while Primoz Roglic retained the yellow jersey.

Hirschi, making his Tour debut at the age of 22, had twice been on the podium in the opening week after attacking efforts fell 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.

It gave Hirschi his first victory as a professional cyclist, and built on second and third places in the first week of the Tour.

"It's unbelievable," Hirschi said. "Two times I was really close so today I never believed I could make it. I can't describe it, it's hard to find the words.

"I had the picture in my mind from the last two stages when I was close. Then in the last 3km I believed I could make it. It's my first pro victory and it's in the Tour so it couldn't be better."

Julian Alaphilippe, who pipped Hirschi on stage two in Nice, was part of a large chase group on the descent to the finish.

But the group lacked organisation, with Hirschi's team-mates Soren Kragh Andersen and Nicolas Roche working to shut down attacks, before a mechanical problem for Alaphilippe ended his own challenge.

"I think if I had tried any harder I would have been disappointed," the Deceuninck-QuickStep rider said. "I tried my best but Hirschi was the strongest man today. I tried my best."

In the general classification, Jumbo-Visma's Roglic leads by 21 seconds from defending champion Egan Bernal of the Ineos Grenadiers.

Irishman 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 home the peloton to pick up scraps on the line and cut his deficit in the fight for green to 66 points.

Belfast Telegraph