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Press Releases | 18.07.2019

BORA-hansgrohe go big in the break on Tour de France stage 12 to win points for Peter Sagan while mammoth effort sees Gregor Mühlberger take third

From the halfway point of today’s 209.5km stage, things were going to get serious. For eleven days, the Tour de France had been edging closer to the mountains, and today, it hit the Pyrenees. Setting off from Toulouse, riders would warm up on a category four ascent, but it would be a small mound compared to the first category climbs of the Col de Peyresourde and the Hourquette d’Ancizan, with slopes of 7% and 7.5% respectively. After this, it was all downhill to the finish in Bagnères-de-Bigorre, but it was unlikely the bunch would make it here all in one piece on such a difficult day. From the drop of the flag, the GC riders and those chasing points were on the front trying to shut down the breaks – a strong group with a GC rider in it could change the shape of the overall standings, while the intermediate sprint at 130.5km would be pivotal in the quest for the Maillot Vert. Trying time and again to get out in front, after almost 50km of racing, Peter Sagan broke free of the peloton, bringing with him a huge group of forty-two riders. Knowing they couldn’t fight such a strong move, the peloton sat up and let them go; there was no stopping the holder of the green jersey when he knew there were points available, helping the escapees build a lead of a shade under five minutes. Approaching the intermediate sprint in Bagnères-de-Luchon, Daniel Oss was on lead-out duties for Peter, the Slovak rider taking first here to add twenty points to his total. From this point, the remaining BORA-hansgrohe riders in the break – Gregor Mühlberger and Maximilian Schachmann – took over in the race to the finish. After a solo attacker went off the front, Gregor took up the challenge to bridge over, forming a small group of four that, try as they might, couldn’t shake the Austrian rider. Cresting the final climb, he was riding confidently as the group of four became three, and with the route turning downwards, he knew he was in with a shot at taking the win. Approaching the finish, waiting to see who would go first, Gregor was on the front as the metres to the line disappeared under the trio’s wheels. On the hard left turn before the finish line, the sprint started and after his hard efforts throughout the stage, the other two were simply faster in the finale. While unable to take the win today, Gregor could take comfort in his lighting up the stage and never giving up no matter what his rivals threw his way. After the excitement of the finish, the GC riders came across the line more than nine minutes later, but there were no changes in the overall standings with the top ten all finishing together and, in the points contest, Peter Sagan tightened his grip on the top spot and the Maillot Vert.

 

Results

01 S. Yates                 4:57:53

02 P. Bilbao                +0:00     

03 G. Mühlberger        +0:00 

16 M. Schachmann      +1:28

 

From the Finish Line

"It was so close to being a perfect day. I'm proud I was able to stay on the wheel of Yates in the climb but I think this effort took its toll on me. It cost a lot of energy and maybe this is why I missed that small edge in the finishing metres of the sprint. I knew Yates was fast, given he's coming from track racing, but I was hoping I would have a chance if I saved enough energy. Unfortunately, he was just better today and I don't think I could have caught him in the sprint. Nevertheless, I'm happy with my performance and my result and I look forward to the next stages where I will again take a shot and, hopefully, succeed." – Gregor Mühlberger

"For me, in this first stage on the Pyrenees, it was extremely important to get the maximum amount of points I could in the intermediate sprint. The pace in the first part was frantic, with so many attacks and counter-attacks. I spent a lot of energy but together with Maximilian, Gregor and Daniel we made it to the big group. Daniel did a great job helping me in the intermediate sprint and it's very good I was first. After getting the maximum points and with difficult stages ahead, I tried to save as much energy as possible and finish the day in the gruppetto." – Peter Sagan

"This stage was nearly impeccable for BORA-hansgrohe. Our plan was for Peter to get as many points as possible. He took the intermediate sprint and full points, something important for the green jersey. In addition, in the large breakaway group, we had Gregor and Maximilian, the right riders that could aim at the stage win. Both had a strong race and in the final climb, Gregor was able to stay on the wheel of Yates. Maximilian was in the chasing group behind them and that gave us some tactical options if the three leading riders hadn't worked together. They did cooperate, so it was clear they would be the ones to fight for a stage victory. In the end, it all came down to a sprint where Yates was the best of the three.  Tomorrow, we have an ITT and I'm confident about Emu's chances. He showed at the Dauphiné that the TT preparation had paid off. Still, it won't be the day to give 100% as we have two hard stages after that." – Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director

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