Stage Report: Mitchelton-Scott’s Simon Yates won the first Pyrenean stage of the 2019 Tour de France. The English rider out-sprinted his fellow escapees in Bagnères-de-Bigorre. The favourites for the overall victory decided to take it easy the day before the individual time trial. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) managed to keep the yellow jersey.
Good final sprint from Simon Yates
We are now halfway through the 2019 Tour de France, but the battle for the final yellow jersey has yet to start. Today the riders were presented with the first Pyrenees stage, over the Peyresourde and the Hourquette d’Ancizan, but the favourites didn’t take any chances.
Lastman standing on stage 11, Aime De Gendt, shakes hands with Julian Alaphilippe on the start line
Stage 12 Route:
Today should see some (more) gaps in the overall standings. Three climbs on the 209,5 kilometres to Bagnères-de-Bigorre; the first is a Cat. 4 climb after 62,5 kilometres, which could be the launching pad for the break, if it hasn’t already gone. The two main difficulties are Col du Payresourde (13,2km at 7%) after 146 kilometres and the Hourquette d’Ancizan (9,9km at 7,5%) with 30 kilometres to go, both climbs are Cat. 1. From the summit of the Hourquette d’Ancizan the course is all downhill, so there should be some attacks on the way up. The spa town of Bigorre has seen triumphs by the leading names in cycling, such as Raphaël Geminiani, who won the first stage to come to the town in 1952, or his protégé Jacques Anquetil, eleven years later in 1963. It was also in Bagnères-de-Bigorre that Laurent Fignon set up a dedicated cycling centre.
Special orange Dimension Data helmet for Nelson Mandela day
On yesterday’s stage few riders wanted to do much, but today half the peloton wanted to be in the early escape. It took more than 40 kilometres before a leading group managed get away. It was some leading group! Deceuninck – Quick-Step – the team of jersey wearer Julian Alaphilippe – was chasing 42 riders up front. The Belgian team allowed the lead to a maximum of 9 minutes, but the situation was under control.
The big break of the day
No fewer than 19 of the 22 Tour teams had a man in the front group. The battle for the stage victory promised to be interesting, with riders like KOM Tim Wellens, his teammate Tiesj Benoot, Pello Bilbao, Rui Costa, Gregor Mühlberger, Nicolas Roche, Greg Van Avermaet and Simon Yates. They were joined by quite a few fast finishers: Peter Sagan, Sonny Colbrelli, Michael Matthews, Matteo Trentin, Jasper Stuyven, Alexander Kristoff, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Dylan Groenewegen!
Strange to see sprinter Dylan Groenewegen in the break – Thinking of later in the day?
No danger for Alaphilippe
Groenewegen, along with his Jumbo-Visma right hand Mike Teunissen, had slipped into the move of the day, but no doubt not with the ambition of the stage win. The only teams that were missing at the front were; Ineos, Groupama-FDJ and Katusha-Alpecin. In the peloton, Alaphilippe did not have to worry about his yellow jersey, as green jersey wearer Peter Sagan was the best placed rider in the leading group at more than 25 minutes.
Cees Bol was keen to get up the road early
Sagan was particularly interested in the only intermediate sprint, just before the start of the Peyresourde. The Bora-Hansgrohe rider took 20 points and then sat up. The triple world champion was not the only rider who had to drop out at the front as Cees Bol, Groenewegen, Boasson Hagen and Kristoff also took it easy on the Col. Lilian Calmejane accelerated from the leading group which caused a few problems for the others.
Peter Sagan trying his climbing legs
A day for the big break
Clarke goes solo
The attack from Calmejane quickly gained a good lead, but he was caught just before the top by a group including KOM Wellens, who was the first over the line. On the descent of the Peyresourde it was then Simon Clarke who came down like a brick. The EF Education First rider took many risks and distanced the others and was the first to start the climb of the Hourquette d’Ancizan.
Lilian Calmejane split the big lead group
The riders behind had to make up a minute and a half on Clarke. European champion, Matteo Trentin, crossed to Clarke 5 kilometres from the top of the Ancizan. Simon Yates tried to drop his fellow escapees at half a minute, but Mühlberger, Roche, Tony Gallopin and Mathias Frank were having none of it.
The peloton didn’t try too hard
Time trial tomorrow
Trentin was clearly feeling good, as the Italian went up to and past a struggling Clarke. The man from Borgo Valsugana seemed to have a good chance for the stage win, but Trentin soon had the company of the two best climbers from the leading group: His teammate Yates and the Austrian Mühlberger. This turned out to be the death blow for Trentin, who soon had to ride at his own pace. Yates and Mühlberger were the first to start the descent of the Col de Peyresourde.
Yates wanted the win
Yates and Mühlberger, Bibao was on his way
Pello Bilbao was also on his way to the front. The Spaniard managed to connect with Yates and Mühlberger in his characteristic rocking style with 20 kilometres to go. A chase group consisting of Trentin, Frank, Gallopin, Fabio Felline, Maximilian Schachmann, Dylan Teuns and Serge Pauwels followed at 1 minute. Was it still possible for the chase group? The answer was no, since the three front runners managed to take more and more time to the finish.
Three sprinting climbers
Strong and smart Yates takes his first Tour victory
Yates, Mühlberger or Bilbao – one of these riders would win his first Tour stage in Bagnères-de-Bigorre. The three riders looked at each other in the last kilometre, but it was Yates who kept the poker face. The Mitchelton-Scott rider was the first to go through the last corner, and then managed to hold Bilbao and Mühlberger off in the short final sprint.
Tour stage for the Vuelta winner – Simon Yates
Stage winner, Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott): “I wasn’t very confident in beating them. I didn’t know how fast these two riders [Pello Bilbao and Gregor Mühlberger] were but my sport director told me to take the last corner in first position and I’m glad it work out well. To have a stage at all three Grand Tours makes me very proud. This was probably a unique opportunity for me to it this year. My main goal is to help Adam in the mountains and we thought that wouldn’t be needed today, that’s why I took the breakaway. After Daryl Impey’s win the other day, we’re having a fantastic Tour and hopefully it’ll continue.”
Back to the usual work for Ineos
The battle for the stage victory was particularly interesting, but the favourites for the overall victory were mainly looking at each other. The classification riders decided to take a day off, as the individual time trial in Pau is tomorrow. The thinned peloton – with leader Alaphilippe – finished 9 minutes after stage winner Yates.
Tour de France Stage 12 Result:
1. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott in 4:57:53
2. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana
3. Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
4. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:28
5. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
6. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
7. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
9. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First
10. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
11. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC
12. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida
13. Serge Pauwels (Bel) CCC
14. Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R-La Mondiale
15. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Sunweb
16. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
17. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
18. Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Dimension Data at 1:33
19. Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar at 5:13
20. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education First
21. Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Cofidis Solutions Credits
22. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Ineos at 9:35
23. Luke Rowe (GB) Ineos
24. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Ineos
25. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Ineos.
Tour de France Overall After Stage 12:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 52:26:09
2. Geraint Thomas (GB) Ineos at 1:12
3. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos at 1:16
4. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:27
5. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 1:45
6. Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:46
7. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:47
8. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 2:04
9. Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates at 2:09
10. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 2:33
11. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 2:46
12. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First at 3:18
13. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
14. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 3:20
15. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 3:22
16. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 3:26
17. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Dimension Data at 3:28
18. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Gobert at 3:42
19. Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo at 3:59
20. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar at 4:15
21. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 4:25
22. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 4:32
23. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 4:34
24. Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 5:57
25. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert at 5:59