The 29-year-old ended a long wait for France in snagging the country’s first win of the Tour, reaching the line just one second ahead of Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Alberto Dainese (Team DSM), Florian Senechal (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) and the rest of the peloton.
His move came after he bridged across to a stubborn three-man breakaway of Fred Wright (Bahrain-Victorious), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), and Alexis Gougeard (B&B Hotels-KTM) with 1.3 kilometers remaining. The trio had formed after Gougeard took flight inside the final 35 kilometers and had fended off the sprinters’ teams in impressive fashion, but Laporte timed his move to perfection.
Wright attacked just as the Frenchman bridged to the break but the Briton was dragged back by Stuyven, with Laporte then unleashing a huge attack to fly past them and solo into the finish.
“I still can’t believe it, I’m so happy. I just can’t believe it,” he said. “The team trusted me today, Wout [van Aert] told me today that it was for me rather than for him. With three kilometers to go, we made sure that Jonas was in a safe place. I then jumped to come back [to the break] and I launched from a long way out, but it’s unbelievable that it came off.”
His victory depended a lot on the efforts of green jersey Van Aert, who sacrificed his own chances of another stage win by riding at the front after the sprinters’ teams had struggled to reel in the break. He swung off in the closing kilometers and rolled in