A brutal stage 12 caused a shake-up at the top end of proceedings at the Tour de France, but British climber Simon Yates was able to hold onto the white jersey and move into sixth overall.
The 214.5km stage had no fewer than six climbs, including a 16% wall to the line that saw Romain Bardet (AG2R) take the stage and Chris Froome (Team Sky) lose the yellow jersey to Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team).
Yates arrived to the final 300metres with the front group of favourites before losing touch to finish 27seconds down on Bardet. Best young rider threat Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates) gained a small amount of time, but Yates still maintains a two-minute 38second advantage in the classification.
“It was an extremely hard day as everyone expected,” Yates said. “I had a little bit of cramp there in the finish but I think that’s normal at the end of such a long and hard day in the saddle.”
“I gave everything so I’m happy. I was there until the steep pinch, with the best guys in the world. I didn’t have the punch to go for the stage but I have to be happy with that ride.”
How it happened:
After a couple of flatter stages, anticipation was high for another showdown in the mountains.
A breakaway of 12 formed, including those vying for points in the intermediate sprint, and they rode out to around a six-minute advantage.
As they hit the second half of the stage and the road started ramping up with the day’s tougher climbs, Marcel Kittel (Quickstep Floors) lost touch and 11 riders remained in front.
With 50km to go, the gap was down to four minutes and two Team Fortuneo Oscara launched a counter attack from the bunch but it was unsuccessful.
Steve Cummings (Team Dimension Data) attacked from the break in attempt for stage glory but the pace from the favourites saw them hit the front of the race with five kilometres to go.
Ten riders remained in the front group as they ascended the final climb before they began to attacked each other on the steep ramp to the line in the final 350metres.
Aru launched early, but he was overtaken by Bardet as Froome and Yates dropped slightly off the back.
Tour de France – Stage 12 Results:
1. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) 5:49:38
2. Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) +0:02
3. Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team) +0:02
9. Simon Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) +0:27
Tour de France – General Classification afer stage 12:
1. Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team) 52:51:49
2. Chris Froome (Team Sky) +0:06
3. Romain Bardet (AG2R) +0:25
6. Simon Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) +2:13