Marc Hirschi has put on a real show on the descents of the 2020 Tour de France, going on the attack in three stages before finally nabbing a victory on stage 12 to Sarran. But the Sunweb rider’s insatiable desire to go on the offensive – in particular on the descents – was his undoing on stage 18 to La Roche-sur-Foron.
After taking the first three mountain sprints from the day’s breakaway and racking up 17 points toward the polka dot jersey, the Swiss rider uncharacteristically slid out on the descent of the Col des Saisies.
“I felt good, I took points for the mountains jersey, then I crashed,” Hirschi said in the post-stage interview. “I tried to come back but it didn’t work out.”
Hirschi had made the selection along with eventual stage winner Michal Kwiatkowski and the Polish rider’s teammate Richard Carapaz and Bahrain McLaren’s Pello Bilbao. “Carapaz had a small gap and I wanted to close the gap – I also had a different tyre on and I wasn’t used to this tyre – then I slipped. I just took too many risks,” Hirschi admitted.
“It was a left corner I came with too much speed and slipped away. It was shit because I already took some points for the mountains jersey. I don’t know if I could have taken it, but my legs were good but then I crashed. It’s disappointing.”
The Swiss rider suffered abrasions on his arm and leg and finished behind the group of race leader Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) in 13th place, unable to keep both pace and motivation up over the final 80km of the stage, and 4th in the mountains classification, now 12 points behind new polka dot jersey holder Richard Carapaz and only 11 points left to gain in the Tour.
“It hurt but I think it should be OK tomorrow. For sure I was a little bit scared in the descent. I tried but then saw the gap is growing then I explode also.”
It was a bitter disappointment but one tempered by being awarded the most aggressive rider prize. “For sure it’s less hard when you’ve already won a stage. It’s OK, I will go on,” Hirschi said. “I will anyway fight. It’s the Tour de France, so I think anyway you fight to the end.”
💥 🇨🇭 @MarcHirschi crashes in the descent! Fortunately, he is back on his bike.💥 🇨🇭 Marc Hirschi chute dans la descente ! Heureusement, il remonte aussitôt sur son vélo. #TDF2020 #TDFunited pic.twitter.com/Lh2jvXT1J5September 17, 2020