Tour de France: Simon Yates ready to return to 'day job' after winning Stage 12
Geraint Thomas and Julian Alaphilippe finished the slog over two tough climbs together as any anticipated top 10 shake-up failed to materialise
Simon Yates said his primary target is still to help his brother, Adam, win the Tour de France after claiming Stage 12 on Thursday.
Defending champion Geraint Thomas and current overall leader Julian Alaphilippe finished the slog over two tough climbs together as any anticipated top 10 shake-up failed to materialise.
Simon, twin brother of Mitchelton Scott captain Adam Yates, is the Vuelta a Espana champion. He also led the Giro d'Italia earlier in 2018 before a meltdown under pressure from eventual champion Chris Froome.
"I'm here to help Adam, he's doing well and is ready," he said of his sibling who is seventh in the overall standings. "But I'm really happy with this win, I got the green light to go from the team and timed it well. Now it's back to the day job."
Simon Yates is over an hour adrift in the overall standings, but punched the air in joy after adding a Tour de France stage to victories in the Vuelta and Giro.
Yates came over the final climb with Bora's Gregor Muehlberger and Astana rider Pello Bilbao, but launched a long range sprint for the line to win by a clear bike length.
Overall leader Alaphilippe led the peloton south the pink-bricked city of Toulouse for stage 12's two mist shrouded Pyrenean peaks after vowing to hold on to the yellow jersey.
The two major obstacles on the road to the rural outpost of Bagneres-de-Bigorre were Tour classic: the 13.2km ascent of the Col de Peyresourde at an average of seven per cent followed by a steeper climb to Hourquette d'Ancizan. The day finished with a downhill charge to the finish line.
Peter Sagan won the intermediate sprint at the foot of the first climb, the burly fast-man having gamely joined the more slightly built riders on the escape, earning an increase in his green jersey points lead the hard way.
"I wanted to be in the breakaway, the sprint was my win," said the 30-year-old Slovakian.
Thomas traditionally does well in the time trial, the next major test on Friday, which is a 27.2km individual time-trial around Pau.
Alaphilippe has again vowed to defend his overall lead at Pau as he looks to continue his bid of becoming the first French Tour de France champion since Bernard Hinault in 1985.
"I have a lead of one minute, 12 seconds, and I'm really looking forwards to pushing myself to a new limit," said the 27-year-old former soldier, who Thomas has described as "the darling of France".
Updated: July 18, 2019 10:32 PM