18/07/19 - 10:50
Toulouse - Bagnères-de-Bigorre
Tour de France • Stage12

Toulouse - Bagnères-de-Bigorre

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Team Ineos lead the peloton home around 9'35" down on winner Simon Yates. No changes in the GC with Alaphilippe entering tomorrow's ITT with a gap of 1'12" over Thomas and 1'16" over Bernal. Thanks for joining me today and see you tomorrow for that race against the clock in Pau...


Here's how Simon Yates did it...


Back with the peloton and it's Team Ineos with all their eight riders on the front. But the pace isn't high and so expect no changes today in the top 10.


It's Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) who steals a march over the chasers to take fourth place around 1'30" down on the leading trio.


It's second place for Pello Bilbao (Astana) and third for Gregor Muhlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe).


Victory for Simon Yates of Mitchelton-Scott! The British rider knew exactly when he wanted to attack and that knowledge paid off...


Yates waits and waits... then puts in the dig ahead of the chicane...


They start to look at each other... Bilbao drops back and it's Muhlberger on the front with Yates on the back...


This trio is very well matched so it's hard to pick one out - even if I've already opted for Muhlberger, it's really just a stab in the dark. Under the flamme rouge they go. Bilbao is on the front as the tension grows and the pace slows...


They're into the barriers now as they pass the 2-to-go banner. Behind, the chasing group has been caught by the remnants of the break.


The mind games begin... no one wants to be on the front... but it's Yates who leads them through a tight turn before flicking the elbow for Muhlberger and Bilbao to come through.


Just five clicks now for the three leaders now, who have 1'50" over the chasers.


Meanwhile, the peloton has just passed through the town of Sainte-Marie-de-Campan which is where Eugene Christophe - who wore the first yellow jersey back in 1919 - stopped to repair his forks in a forge near the Tourmalet in the 1913 Tour, only to be disqualified because a boy helped him by blowing the bellows...


It's worth adding that Bilbao is riding his first Tour whereas Yates has ridden four and Muhlberger two.


Inside the last 10km go the three leaders. None of these three riders have ever won on the Tour. Yates' best finish is 5th, Muhlberger's is 8th and Bilbao's is 28th.


Lilian Calmejane has been caught by the pack, still led by Ineos. They have just passed the 20km to go banner, so are well back.


The trio still has 1'20" on the eight chasers who are: Roche, Trentin, Frank, Schachmann, Teuns, Felline, Gallopin and Pauwels.


It's a hard call for the win today. It's a slightly downhill run to the line. Yates will complete his grand slam if he wins today but Bilbao showed good attacking and sprinting instinct in the Giro. Muhlberger, though, may be a better bet than both - after all, he pushed Alaphilippe all the way in that stage in the Dauphine in June.


Mike Teunissen, this year's first yellow jersey, is the latest escapee to be caught by the pack, swiftly followed by Michael Matthews. The peloton is still 8'25" down and so they're taking things easy ahead of tomorrow's decisive time trial.


So, it looks like Julian Alaphilippe will keep his yellow jersey for at least another day after today's stalemate in the pack. They're on that small uphill lip that breaks up the descent.


It's worth adding that Mitchelton-Scott and Bora-Hansgrohe have dual hands to pay: if Yates doesn't win then there's Trentin behind, and the Italian is a far faster finisher. Likewise, if Muhlberger can't do it than there's Schachmann...


These three leaders have 1'07" over the chasers.


Here was Yates going over the top in pole position. The pack crested the summit 8'05" down.


And more intrigue...


There's a little uphill lip which breaks up this descent and Bilbao has caught Yates and Muhlberger on it, so the three will continue the drop town towards the finish together.


Meanwhile... the plot thickens.


We forgot to say earlier that Vincenzo Nibali was dropped by the peloton on the climb. His Tour of increasing mediocrity continues.


Simon Yates comes out of the saddle and crests the summit of the Hourquette d'Ancizan in pole position ahead of Gregor Muhlberger, with Pello Bilbao passing through five seconds later. There's a big gap back to the chasers, who cross over around 50 seconds in arrears.


The peloton more than seven minutes down now...


Tim Wellens is about to be caught with the pack. He's done his work for the day and added 11pts to his KOM tally. But with so many high-altitude climbs coming up - eight over 2,000m - you sense that the Belgian will struggle to keep hold of the polka dots.


Just as Bilbao is about to join the leaders, Yates puts in an acceleration which distances the Spaniard. He won two stages in the Giro and so clearly has the climbing legs and form - Bilbao, that is, not Yates, who had a pretty torrid Giro. Well, he finished eighth, but that was well below expectations.


Yates looks very calm and serene as he sets the tempo with Muhlberger - but Bilbao is about to join them on the front with 2.5km remaining of this climb.


Yates accelerates clear of the leaders and takes Muhlberger with him. They have Bilbao and Trentin in pursuit.


Pauwels is the latest rider to join the chasers after Clarke is reeled in. Trentin will be next - and very soon. Although already Clarke and Pauwels have been tailed off.


More new arrivals for the chasing group: Bilbao and Schachmann have made it seven. Just a bit up the road, Trentin has caught and past Clarke.


Mystery partially resolved: we know where Dennis is, just not why he quit.


Trentin is closing in on Clarke but in turn he's been reeled in by that Yates chasing group, which is now five-strong after the arrival of Tony Gallopin.


A few riders have tangled up towards the back of the pack, which is being driven by Team Ineos. The pace can't be too high because Luke Rowe is still setting the tempo and the main peloton has yet to be whittled down.


Some attacks have come from the break and it's Simon Yates who zips clear with Nico Roche. They catch the duo ahead in a jiffy. Yates looks very strong here and is surely the favourite for the stage win today.


ATTACK: Mathias Frank (Ag2R-La Mondiale) has put in the first dig from the break and the Swiss rides clear with Gregor Muhlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe).


The peloton hits the foot of the climb with Ineos and QuickStep on the front. This climb has been sparsely used in the Tour and only first appeared in 2011.


Michael Matthews is pulling on the front of the break - probably setting things up for his man Nico Roche. This polka dot jersey group trail Clarke by 1'20" with Trentin 30 seconds up the road and the peloton 5'55" down.


Back with the peloton and French climber Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Gobert) needs to change his bike and will have to fight back on.


Lone leader Simon Clarke has the European champion Matteo Trentin in pursuit as he hits the start of the Cat.1 Hourquette d'Ancizan (9.9km at 7.5%).


Clarke continues to extend his lead ahead of the next climb. He has 1'10" at the latest check with the pack over six minutes back. Peter Sagan is now back with the peloton after being dropped on the climb following his win in the intermediate sprint.


We're hearing that Caleb Ewan crashed on the descent in the peloton. Let's hope yesterday's stage winner is alright. One day you're the hammer, the next the nail, eh?


Wow, that was a fast descent for Clarke, who is almost at the bottom with a lead of one minute over his fellow escapees, who are down to around 25 riders.


An interesting sub-plot today is the literal disappearance of Rohan Dennis. The Australian apparently quit the race earlier on but his Bahrain Merida team have no idea why, and his directeur sportif is unable to get in contact. If you have any information on Dennis' whereabouts, please let us know... In the meantime, check out this bizarre statement from Bahrain Merida.


And Simon Clarke has attacked just after the summit. The Australian - 33 today - has ridden clear of the break on the descent.


With the summit approaching, Calmejane's advantage has been whittled down to practically nothing as Wellens puts in a dig behind - and yes, the Belgian times it to perfection to take the maximum 10pts over the summit of the Peyresourde despite a last-ditch attempt to hold on by Calmejane. In fact, Serge Pauwels also nipped in front of the Frenchman, with Benoot, Clarke and Frank mopping up the points.


Have to say, Daniel Oss's impression of teammate Sagan is spot on! Or is it just Sagan in a wig??


With 10pts up for grabs for the first man over the summit, expect an acceleration from Tim Wellens soon. The Belgian is leading the polka dot jersey standings and we're 2km from the top of the Peyresourde.


Calmejane memorable won Stage 8 of his maiden Tour in 2017 at Station de Rousses as well as a stage in his maiden Vuelta a year earlier. He still has 35 seconds on the break but you sense that today won't be his day. The pack, however, is 6'35" down and so have most likely given up hope of contesting for the win today.


From earlier today - Sagan being Sagan...


A Bora soigneur comes a cropper trying to give a bottle to one of his riders in the break: he's lured across the road but then realises that he's in the way and so jumps to avoid taking down Greg van Avermaet and ends up on a heap on the road. Let's hope he's ok because he took a big bash to the head there...


The break is splitting up, with Sagan dropped alongside Boasson Hagen, Bol, Kristoff, Groenewegen and Scully. They're 1'30" down on Calmejane, who has 45" on the other 30-odd chasing riders. The peloton is 5'50" down.


Here's that descent by Froome on the Peyresourde from 2016.

Sorry, this video is no longer available


Calmejane has now dropped Colbrelli, which was inevitable.


Colbrelli and Calmejane have 20 seconds on the rest of the break. Meanwhile, Elia Viviani, who was working hard setting tempo for QuickStep, has already been dropped.


After the intermediate sprint, Colbrelli rode on and it's the Italian who leads on the early slopes of the Peyresourde - initially with Kristoff, but the Norwegian can't keep up. Colbrelli's soon joined by Lilian Calmejane, who was in yesterday's break. Kluge, meanwhile, is the first of the escapees to be dropped.


It's show time: the break is onto the Cat.1 Col de Peyresourde (13.2km at 7%). They're attacking it from the side that Chris Froome famously descended down so fast a few years ago - remember, when he hugged his top tube with carefree abandon?


The break passes through the spa town of Bagneres-de-Luchon - where Julian Alaphilippe took his second win last year - with a gap of five minutes over the pack. The first of those two big climbs just ahead...


And Sagan duly takes maximum points ahead of Colbrelli, Kristoff and Stuyven.


Kluge's move comes to nothing and it's now Oss leading out Sagan for the sprint...


Roger Kluge zips clear, perhaps in a bid to get points and spoil things for the other sprinters. With his Lotto Soudal teammate Caleb Ewan in mind?


We're approaching the intermediate sprint and - what with Sagan, Groenewegen, Colbrelli, Matthews, Kristoff, Trentin etc all here - we could have a bunch sprint in the middle of today's stage.


And another withdrawal: Rohan Dennis of Bahrain Merida. That's unexpected - the Australian was in the mix earlier today, trying to force the break - and a blow ahead of tomorrow's time trial. Vincenzo Nibali said at the start that he had some stomach issues so perhaps Bahrain, like Cofidis earlier, have been hit by a tummy bug.


News in that Italy's Giacomo Nizzolo has quit the race. The Dimension Data sprinter was involved in that crash yesterday that saw Niki Terpstra quit the race, and he's been off the back since early on today.


The break enters the feed zone with a gap of 4'45" over the QuickStep-led peloton. I'm also going to take this chance to grab my lunch. I'll be back ASAP to take you through the the intermediate sprint and then up those mountains...


Bardet still hasn't rejoined the peloton after his issues. But fear not, he seems to have now caught up. Scrap that, he's dropped back for a third time to his team car. The Frenchman negotiated those crosswinds the other day to move up to 14th in the standings but he's still 3'20" down on compatriot Alaphilippe in the battle for yellow.


This breakaway includes 12 riders who have already won a stage on the Tour de France: Sagan, Teuns, Trentin, Matthews, Calmejane, Van Avermaet, Groenewegen, Boasson Hagen, Gallopin, Teunissen, Costa and Kristoff. Meanwhile a further five of them have finished second in a Tour stage: Colbrelli, Benoot, Arndt, Pauwels and Roche.


Romain Bardet has dropped back to the Ag2R-La Mondiale car, perhaps after a mechanical, so is the Frenchman is now chasing back on with some teammates.


The leaders are onto a small lump with Daniel Oss setting the tempo with some help from Rui Costa. There are so many riders in this break it's impossible for them to get organised, with so many riders happy to be dragged along. Expect it to stay together until the first climb, where it will break up once the intermediate sprint is out of the way. The gap is 4'10".


During this calm before the storm why not catch up with yesterday's episode of The Breakaway?


The average speed today so far has been a whopping 45.89km. There are going to be some tired legs by the time they hit those two climbs.


No wins for Germany so far in this year's Tour in the absence of Marcel Kittel and the continued deterioration of Andre Greipel. Perhaps Bora-Hansgrohe's Max Schachmann can change that today? His teammate Emanuel Buchmann is, at least, well poised on GC in fifth position.


With Jasper Philipsen out of the race after being withdrawn by his UAE team, Egan Bernal is now the youngest rider in the race. The 22-year-old Colombian, currently third on GC at 1'16", leads the white jersey youth standings by 30" on Enric Mas of QuickStep.


It's still QuickStep doing all the work on the front of the peloton, giving Ineos a free ride to the foot of the Pyrenees. That's understandable - they do have their man in yellow - but it's hard to envisage a better scenario for the British team, who have two riders (Thomas and Bernal) poised in podium positions ahead of these climbs and tomorrow's ITT.


The gap is up to four minutes for the forty leaders.


Meanwhile, away from the Tour, and Chris Froome - the four-time winner - is apparently back on his bike, albeit riding with just the one leg (we presume the one that he didn't break). Or so says Sir Dave Brailsford...


A reminder of today's stage profile...


And, indeed, it is Wellens, the rangy Belgian in polka dots, who edges clear to pick up the single point over the summit.


We're onto today's amuse bouche climb, the Cat.4 Cote de Montoulieu-Saint-Bernard (1.7km at 5.2%). Just the one KOM point up for grabs, which Wellens will no doubt try to snare.


Here was that odd manoeuvre by Peter Sagan, who looked to have scared the lady in yellow more than anything...


The peloton are 3'25" down and are being led by the Deceuninck-QuickStep team of Alaphlippe, the yellow jersey. Couldn't be a better scenario for Team Ineos, who are not having to do anything right now.


Three teams failed to make it into the break although it's no huge surprise not to see Ineos or Groupama-FDJ there. Katusha-Alpecin, on the other hand, must beon the naughty step. Mads Würtz Schmidt tried to bridge over but he couldn't make it, along with Mikaël Chérel and Rein Taaramäe.


Peter Sagan, Gregor Mühlberger, Daniel Oss and Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Michael Morkov (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Oliver Naesen, Tony Gallopin and Matthias Fränk (Ag2r La Mondiale), Sonny Colbrelli, Iván García Cortina and Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida), Imanol Erviti (Movistar Team), Pello Bilbao (Astana), Dylan Groenewegen and Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), Alberto Bettiol, Simon Clarke and Tom Scully (EF Education First), Matteo Trentin and Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Greg Van Avermaet and Serge Pauwels (CCC Team), Rui Costa and Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates), Fabio Felline and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Michael Matthews, Nikias Arndt, Cees Bol and Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb), Pierre-Luc Périchon and Julien Simon (Cofidis), Tiesj Benoot, Roger Kluge and Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal), Lilian Calmejane (Total Direct Energie), Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Edvald Boasson Hagen and Michael Valgren (Dimension Data) and Kévin Lédanois (Arkéa-Samsic).


Thanks to the Tour's official website, we can now bring you the full list of riders involved in this 40-man break. Here we go... ready?


Sunweb are clearly motivated today as their hunt for a stage win continues...


Some 43 riders involved off the front of the peloton, including those three chasers (at the bottom of the list).


Sagan has been joined by Bilbao, who won two stages at the Giro. They have a small gap over the others, with the peloton at three minutes now. The yellow jersey of Julian Alaphilippe has been joined by some of his QuickStep teammates alongside the Ineos train on the front of the pack.


Sagan, bizarrely, has ridden clear of the break on a small uphill rise and then, inexplicably, he did a tail-whip. I'm not 100% sure if he went off to cajole them into action, or if he was making a joke, or being serious. But he currently has a small gap.


There are a few riders trying to bridge over from the pack, which is now 2'05" down.


There are 40 riders in this break, the best placed of which is Greg Van Avermaet of CCC Team, who is 14'25" down on GC. That's why Ineos are happy to let it go. Some other interesting names for you: Nico Roche, Matteo Trentin, Michael Matthews, Sagan, Boasson Hagan, Max Schachmann, Gregor Muhlberger, Dylan Teuns (the winner at La Planche des Belles Filles), Tiesj Benoot, Michael Valgren, Gallopin, Tim Wellens (the polka dot jersey), Simon Yates (who is over an hour down on GC), even Dylan Groenewegen...


This HUGE group now has 55 seconds on the peloton and it includes Peter Sagan and some other sprinters - motivated by the intermediate sprint - as well as some strong climbers. Names coming up when we have them.


Team Ineos have come to the front of the peloton to lock things down - which is interesting because, out ahead, there are about 40 riders who have managed to zip clear in a series of long lines. Intriguing, but we may have today's break...


Kamna has been doing his best to force a move but his latest effort is foiled with Thomas De Gendt comes to the front to pull hard, stringing out the peloton once again. We've almost had 40km now and still nothing has stuck.


Simon Clarke (EF Education First) had a dig on his 33rd birthday but now it's the familiar sight of the green jersey of Sagan trying his luck again. Is that Tony Gallopin who's joined him? The Frenchman signed a two-year extension to his contract at Ag2R-La Mondiale on the rest day.


Kamna is joined by a few other riders - including Pello Bilbao of Astana and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg of Dimension Data. Then Wellens tries to bridge over and this proves the death knell of the move and it is reabsorbed by the pack.


That attack from Sagan came to nothing and it was followed by a dig from Matej Mohoric of Bahrain Merida. But it didn't stick and we now have another rider trying his luck - Lennard Kamna of Team Sunweb.


One thing you may have missed form yesterday's sprint finish was Nicola Bonifazio colliding with a mobile phone on the home straight. The stupidly of fans never ceases to amaze me...


Yesterday's highlights, if you didn't catch the action...

Video - Highlights: Ewan's photo-finish delight, Quintana and Porte fight back after crash


Another attack from Peter Sagan! The Slovakian leads the green jersey standings by 257pts to Elia Viviani's 184pts and perhaps is tempted by the intermediate sprint which comes in Bagneres-de-Luchon ahead of the two climbs later today.


Those early moves came to nothing and the peloton is back as one - although the fast pace has already caused numerous riders to be shelled out the back. Lotto Soudal are marshalling well in order to defend their lead in the polka dot jersey classification, where they have both Tim Wellens and De Gendt in the top two positions.


Besides Sagan, the likes of TT world champion Rohan Dennis (Bahrain Merida), Joey Rosskopf (CCC), Fabien Grellier (Total-Direct Energie) and breakaway specialist Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) are all involved in these early skirmishes. But nothing has stuck as yet.


And it's that man Peter Sagan in green who is trying to get himself into the first move of the day. What a legend...


They're off! Just the one non-starter today - Belgium's Jasper Philipsen of UAE Team Emirates - which leaves 168 riders from the original 176.


Here's today's profile. It may not include a summit finish but the 209.5km ride concludes with back-to-back ascents of the Col de Peyresourde and the Hourquette d’Ancizan ahead of a fast downhill finish. It’s a day where the yellow jersey contenders will not be able to hide – and a first major test for Julian Alaphilippe as he bids to hold Ineos’ two star riders at bay.

Stage 12 profile, 2019 Tour de France

Yesterday, Australia’s Caleb Ewan opened his Tour de France account with a fast finish in Stage 11 at Toulouse to deny Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen and Italian Elia Viviani. A previous stage winner in both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana, 25-year-old Ewan became the first Australian to win a Tour stage on his debut and has joined the elite club of 13 current riders who have taken victories in each of cycling’s three Grand Tours.


Bonjour le Tour! Hello and welcome to live coverage of Stage 12 of the Tour de France as the race hits the Pyrenees for a challenging 209.5km ride ahead of tomorrow's ITT.