Tour de France 2019: Stage 12 – Simon Yates sprints for the stage, Alaphilippe holds yellow

Stage 12 of the Tour de France saw the GC favourites take the day off, allowing Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) to take the stage win in the peloton’s first day in the Pyrenees. Julian Alaphilippe holds yellow for another day, but the main excitement of the day revolved around the strange case of a “missing” Bahrain rider.

Welcome to phase 2 of this year’s Tour de France. Goodbye transitions and sprints, hello the Pyrenees. The day started with a mega-break of 40 riders full of names who had the potential to get a result. That break whittled down quickly on the day’s first category one climb, the Col de Peyresourde. On the next big uphill, Simon Yates and Gregor Muhlberger (Bora-hansgrohe) managed to get themselves clear by the summit with Astana’s Pello Bilbao joining them on the descent.

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It was slightly more soporific behind in the group with the yellow jersey and GC favourites. No risks were taken and, maybe with an eye on tomorrow’s TT, they left the breakaway well alone to contest the stage win.  

Our leading trio worked well together on the drop-down and run into Bagneres-de-Bigorre and, let’s be honest, it wasn’t the most thrilling Pyrenean adventure the Tour has ever had.

Back to the GC group – so little happened with them that their cresting of the category 1 Hourquette d’Ancizan wasn’t even shown on the TV coverage. It was one of those stages where so much could have happened but not much did. Like when you go for a night out, spend two hours in the same pub and go home to read a book.

Anyway, at the front, our three combatants all took fair pulls until the flamme rouge – the sprint for the line broke out with 200 metres to go and Simon Yates was too strong for others and took the win.

Rider of Race

Slim pickings today but Simon Yates can have it. There are two reasons he deserves it: Firstly, his guile in the last kilometre, pulling on all his old track skills, he held back and didn’t unleash the power until a time where he could take the best line on the last corner and hit the finish first.

Secondly, he’s completed the set – he now has stage wins at all three grand tours. Not bad for the boy from Bury Clarion.

I’ve been saving energy for this, it was my first chance to try something. I had my own chance and grabbed it with both hands. I wasn’t confident (of winning the sprint) the directors in the car told me to be in the front on the last corner so that’s what I did. I’m proud (to have win stages at all three grand tours) but my main priority is to help Adam.

Grand Tour Slam

Simon Yates is the third rider at this race to complete the set of Tour, Giro and Vuelta stage wins. Elia Viviani (Quickstep) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) are the other two.

Break out

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Can you guess the three teams that didn’t have at least one rider in the 40 man mega-break? They were Katusha Alpecin (although they tried, maybe they had garlic at tea last night?), Groupama-FDJ and … surprise surprise … Ineos. The British team may have changed their name but still seem to suffer an allergic reaction to having riders up the road.

The riddle of Rohan Dennis

Today the race lost Jasper Philipsen of UAE and Dimension Data’s Giacomo Nizzolo (who was part of the crash that took Niki Terpstra out yesterday), but these were mere abandons compared to the curious case of Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida).

During the course of the stage, it became clear Dennis had climbed off but no one was sure why. Least of all his team or at least the people who run their Twitter feed.

Rumours that he’d just disappeared floated until he was spotted at the finish, apparently having got off at the feed zone and getting in the team car. At the time of writing the story is still slightly murky but it appears all is not well between the Aussie and the team’s management. We do wonder what the ‘immediate investigation’ that the team launched uncovered, though …

What’s up for tomorrow, LouLou?

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Over to the man himself…

It’s difficult to explain what it means to hold the yellow jersey on its 100th birthday tomorrow. It means a lot and firstly, it makes me proud. I’m very happy to lead the Tour de France. It’ll enable me to start the time trial last tomorrow. It motivates me to hurt myself even more than usual. I’ll push my limits.

He’s being too modest…

Stage 12 – Top 5

1 Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) 4:57:53

2 Pello Bilbao (Astana) same time

3 Gregor Muhlberger (Bora hansgrohe) s/t

4 Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) +1:28

5 Fabio Felline (Trek Segafredo) same time

General Classification – Top 10

1 Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) 52:26:09

2 Geraint Thomas (INEOS) +1:12

3 Egan Bernal (INEOS) +1:16

4 Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) +1:27

5 Emanuel Buchmann (BORA-hansgrohe) +1:45

6 Enric Mas (Deceuninck-Quick Step) +1:46

7 Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) +1:47

8 Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +2:04

9 Dan Martin (UAE Emirates) +2:09

10 Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) +2:33

All the Jerseys

Maillot Jaune:  Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step)

Maillot Vert: Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe)

Maillot Blanc: Egan Bernal (INEOS)

King of the Mountains: Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal)

For the full race review, go to cyclingnews

Header image: GETTY/Velo/Chris Graythen

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