Le Tour 2019 - Stage 12


The first day in the Pyrenees, but with a downhill finish of 30 km, meant, as I suggested yesterday, that there would be no change to the GC.

With a large break forming early on, which was eventually whittled down over the two passes, there was an eventual break from the break which contained Simon Yates and the three up break continued on to the finish, where they sprinted it out between themselves, and the GC peloton came in 10-minutes or so down.

The 3 up sprint was won by Simon Yates. They’d descended beautifully off the pass touching speeds of up to 80 km/hr, and built their lead over the chasers and the main peloton. Although it’s likely that Yates was the fittest of the 3 breakaway companions (in terms say power to mass ratio at FTP), it was apparent that Yates’ win wasn’t due to his physical prowess (although that obviously helped, it’s not like I could have rocked up to the stage and taken the win) but also due to the instruction he received from his director sportif in the team car behind him.

And, this is an important point. Although, we may do races and not have a director in a team car behind us, that doesn’t stop us from reccying a course/circuit before hand and understanding where we might need to position ourselves coming in to the finish. Today, Yates had been told that there was a sharp left hander a couple hundred metres prior to the line, and needed to be first into the corner to take the win. And, that’s exactly what he did as he outfoxed his breakaway companions and took a great win.

Tomorrow, there’s going to be changes in the GC. A 27.2km individual TT will change the GC. The big question is whether Alaphilippe will still be in yellow. My gut feeling is that he will. He’s had a fantastic Tour so far.

Richard Stern