Briton's Simon Yates wins the first mountain stage in the Pyrenees
Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) outsprinted two breakaway companions Gregor Mühlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Pello Bilbao (Astana Pro Team) to win Stage 12 in Bagnères-de-Bigorre
Stage 12 from Toulouse to Bagnères-de-Bigorre was a 202 km mountain stage that featured the big climbs of the Col de Peyresourde and La Hourquette d’Ancizan toward the back end of the stage.
A huge breakaway of 42 riders including Peter Sagan broke away, with Sagan cleaning up the intermediate sprint points along the way.
"I wanted to be in the breakaway, the sprint was my win," said Sagan in the Green Points Jersey.
The breakaway's lead went up to over 9 minutes as the main peloton were disinterested in the chase with the GC favorites preoccupied with tomorrow's 27 km time trial around Pau.
The breakaway thinned to around 30 riders by the time they crested the Col de Peyresourde.
After the climb of the La Hourquette d’Ancizan, Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Gregor Mühlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), Pello Bilbao (Astana Pro Team) attacked and went clear and built up a lead of over a minute with around 11 kms to go.
In the finale Simon Yates overtook his two rivals in the final bend, Bilbao tried to come round but Yates had the strongest legs and won the final sprint ahead of Bilbao and Mühlberger to take the stage win.
Simon, 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 twin who is seventh in the overall and a potential Tour winner.
"But I'm really happy with this win, I got the green light to go from the team and timed it well. But now it's back to the day job," he smiled.
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.
Alaphilippe, still in the Yellow Jersey, aims to defend his overall lead at Pau, "I have a lead of 1min 12sec, and I'm real looking forwards to pushing myself to a new limit," said the 27-year-old, currently 'the darling of France'.
Geraint Thomas, defending champion, currently sitting in second overall, will be looking to take more time from his rivals on the 27km ITT tomorrow.
VIDEO: 2019 Tour de France Stage 12 Highlights
2019 Tour de France Stage 12 Top 10
1 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 4:57:53
2 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team
3 Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
4 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:01:28
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.
2019 Tour de France GC after Stage
1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 52:26:09
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Ineos 0:01:12
3 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Ineos 0:01:16
4 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:01:27
5 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:45
6 Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:01:46
7 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:01:47
8 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:02:04
9 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 0:02:09
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:02:33