Tour de France rookie Hirschi wins race’s longest stage

SARRAN, France (AP) — Tour de France rookie Marc Hirschi won the longest stage with a bold solo breakaway on a previously unused sharp ascent, signaling a precious talent on Thursday.

The Swiss rider powered away on the Suc au May climb, new to the 117-year-old Tour. He extended his lead by racing with hair-raising speed down the other side and held off pursuers over the last 25 kilometers (15 miles) to win Stage 12 by a comfortable margin in Sarran. This marked his inaugural victory at his inaugural Tour.

The Tour’s top contenders, including yellow-jersey wearer Primoz Roglic, were still some two minutes behind when Hirschi finished the 218-kilometer (135-mile) stage into the Massif Central, one of five mountain ranges scaled by this Tour.

Roglic kept the overall race lead, still 21 seconds ahead of Egan Bernal, last year’s winner from Colombia.