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Tour de France 2019: Simon Yates wins Stage 12 from break as GC holds station

Joe Robinson
18 Jul 2019

Yates wins from a three-man break as big break nullifies GC attacks

Mitchelton-Scott's Simon Yates became the latest rider to win stages of all three Grand Tours as the Mitchelton-Scott rider won a three-man sprint on Stage 12 of the Tour de France.

The Lancastrian outfoxed fellow break riders Gregor Muhlberger of Bora-Hansgrohe and Pello Bilbao of Astana to take the final corner in the lead and hold out the sprint to the line.

Yates becomes the second rider in as many days to win a stage in all three Grand Tours after Caleb Ewan's exploits yesterday and the third of the race after Elia Viviani's win on Stage 4.

In terms of General Classification, it was another day of keeping the powder dry as Julian Alaphilippe rolled in with his closest rivals to defend his yellow jersey for a fourth consecutive day.

Team Ineos duo Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal kept hold of second and third as the race headed into its only individual time trial tomorrow in the southern city of Pau.

Mountain amuse bouche

Many - including former Ajax, Barcelona, and Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal - were calling today the true start of the Tour de France.

From Stage 12, there was only one final sprinter's day before the finish in Paris as the mountains looked to be approaching thick and fast.

Today, the race headed into the Pyrenean mountains with its first real taste of the high mountains with ascents of the Col de Perysourde and Hourquette d'Ancizan.

With the final summit topping out 30km from the line, it never felt like a day for the General Classification guys to jostle it out, rather a day for a big break, which was exactly what we got.

After a few thankless attacks, a huge 45-man break escaped. I won't name all in the move - nobody has the time - but some notable inclusions were Simon Yates, Peter Sagan, Greg Van Avermaet and Michael Matthews to name but a few.

With no real threats to the yellow jersey, Deceuninck-Quickstep and Team Ineos let the break get a decent six-minute gap which remained for most of the day.

It created a race of two fronts, the peloton seemed content to ride it into the finish while the 45 riders ahead were ready to contest the win.

Chief among those was birthday boy Simon Clarke who made the first notable nudge for the line, leading the race onto the lower slopes of the Hourquette d'Ancizan.

Clarke chipped away but was eventually caught and surpassed by Mitchelton-Scott's Matteo Trentin with his teammate Yates leading a small but strong group only a handful of seconds behind.

Yates then decided to go alone followed closely by Gregor Muhlberger of Bora-Hansgrohe but was unable to drop the Austrian before the long descent to the finish.

In fact, the pace was such that Astana's Pello Bilbao chased back on to the lead duo as the newly-formed trio started to eek out a gap of a minute to the chasers behind.

After some fast but relaxed descending towards the finish, it became pretty obvious that the winner would come from the front three.