Given an opportunity to claim a stage victory on the Tour de France, Simon Yates broke free from his support role to sprint for the line.
Simon Yates abandoned his usual support role for brother Adam to sprint for stage-12 victory in the Tour de France on Thursday.
The 2018 Vuelta a Espana champion made his move with 200 metres to go, darting up the inside of Pello Bilbao and Gregor Muhlberger to reach the final corner in the lead before holding off his rivals to the line.
Victory saw Yates complete the treble of an individual stage success at each Grand Tour, as he revelled in the chance to put personal glory before that of his sibling, who is Mitchelton-Scott’s main general classification contender at one minute and 47 seconds behind leader Julian Alaphilippe.
“So far I’ve been saving energy until we got here in the mountains,” the triumphant Yates told Eurosport.
“This was my first chance to try something. Normally I’d be back in the peloton helping Adam, but today I had my own chance and I grabbed it with both hands.
“I wasn’t very confident of beating either of them, but I just knew from the directors in the car that I needed to be in front coming around the last corner, so I made sure to do that and luckily I held on to win.
“My main priority here is to help Adam; today was one of my chances to get up the road. We’re having a fantastic Tour, and long may it continue.”
— Mitchelton-SCOTT (@MitcheltonSCOTT) July 18, 2019
“I need to push myself in the final a little bit otherwise I get too tired in the head. That’s why I tried to push a few times, just a small acceleration. I felt pretty good but Simon was faster.”
Deceuninck-Quick Step’s Alaphilippe, meanwhile, came home safely in the peloton to retain his 1:12 lead over INEOS’ Geraint Thomas ahead of Friday’s 27.2-kilometre time trial.
“I had a quiet day but it’s still incredible to still have the yellow jersey and so will start last, in yellow, in the time trial. Whatever the outcome and final result, it’ll be a special moment,” Frenchman Alaphilippe said.
“I know the TT course, I’ve looked at it. It’s a hard course and technical. I just hope to enjoy it while suffering more than usual. The jersey will give me extra motivation.”