Good morning all,
Welcome to our coverage of stage 12 of the Tour de France from Roanne to Belleville - en - Beaujolais.
On the menu today for the peloton is 168.8 kilometres of hilly terrain with five classified climbs.
It certainly looks like a day for the puncheurs either from the breakaway or from a select group towards the end.
Get in touch with me via Twitter - @thewlistt and let me know who you think will take the stage honours this afternoon.
Stage 12 - Roanne > Belleville - en - Beaujolais 168.8 kilometres
Here's a closer look at today's route.
168 kilometres of punchy terrain with five categorised climbs.
It's hard to call any day on the Tour, especially more so in the modern era, but this feels like its got breakaway written all over it.
Tomorrow concludes with a huge summit finish on the hor categorie Grand Colombier, so it's hard to imagine Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogačar taking lumps out of each other today.
Expect to see some of the world's best puncheurs battling it out from the break today, riders like EF Education-EasyPost's Magnus Cort and Alberto Bettiol, Julian Alaphilippe of Soudal Quick-Step or maybe even Mathieu van der Poel or Wout van Aert.
The latter is kind of unlikely, but you never know,
Fabio Jakobsen abandons
In case you missed it earlier on this morning, word filtered through that Soudal Quick-Step's Fabio Jakobsen had abandoned the race.
The Dutch sprinter fell heavily in the bunch sprint last week in Nogaro and had been hampered by injuries sustained in the crash ever since.
Unfortunately, @FabioJakobsen will not start stage 12 of the #TDF2023.Read more about it here and join us in wishing Fabio a speedy recovery: https://t.co/gprrpP3a1MPhoto: @GettySport pic.twitter.com/qHLxT2rZOPJuly 13, 2023
Sprinters "sick" of finishing runner up to Jasper Philipsen
Spare a thought for poor old Dylan Groenewegen of Jayco-AIUla.
After being beaten by Jasper Philipsen once again in Moulins yesterday, the Dutch sprinter told Dutch media he was "sick" of finishing runner up to the Belgian.
He won't get much luck out on the road today either!
Coming into stage 12, Jonas Vingegaard is still in the yellow jersey of the race leader at the top of the general classification.
Tadej Pogačar (UAE Emirates) is just 17 seconds off the overall lead. The Slovenian is still in the white jersey of the best young rider.
There are bonus seconds on offer on the final climb of today's stage - the Col de la Croix Rosier - so expect to see the UAE Emirates man trying to snatch those towards the close of play today.
Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) is still in third, 2-40 from the race lead.
Right! Here we go then!
The flag has just dropped and the neutralised start is underway in Roanne.
The riders face another eight kilometres or so before the stage officially starts.
All of the guys in the leaders jerseys are right up there at the front of the bunch ready for when Christian Prudhomme waves his flag to signal the official start.
The riders have just rolled through kilometre 0, but Alpecin-Deceuninck's Michael Gogl has a rear wheel puncture.
Prudhomme will wait until Gogl is back in the bunch and sorted before he get's the stage officially underway.
Here's Monsieur Prudhomme! and we're officially underway!
The riders have flown out of the traps here! Lidl-Trek are on the move straightaway, there's a couple of guys from Israel-Premier Tech up there and a Movistar rider looking to follow.
167 km to go: It's Mads Pedersen whose straight up the road for Trek.
Kind of brave from the Dane, especially with the road going uphill almost straightaway.
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Matias Skjelmose (Lidl-Trek) are looking to move across to Pedersen too.
165 km to go: Looks like Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost), Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) and several other big name puncheurs are looking to get onto Pedersen's wheel.
Andrey Amador (EF Education-EasyPost) and Mike Woods (Israel-Premier Tech) are also in the group looking to get across.
164 km to go:
Wright, Bettiol and Van der Poel have made it across to Pedersen.
What a group that is if it manages to stay away.
So good to see Fred Wright getting amongst it.
He was in the thick of the action in Limoges last weekend, and told me there was more to come from him in week two!
161 km to go:
Looks like all four of the riders who had a small gap are now back in the bunch.
Everyone is looking to get in the breakaway today.
Aleksey Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan) and Krists Neilands (Israel-Premier Tech) are the next two guys looking to snap the elastic.
Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal Quick-Step) is up there at the head of the bunch looking to force a move. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) is up at the front too.
159 km to go:
Skjelmose (Lidl-Trek) is bouncing around at the front of the bunch looking to force a move, but as the commentators say, you get the feeling this is going to take a little while longer to go.
156 km to go:
Alaphilippe looks particularly fired up today.
It's a frantic and chaotic start.
Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious) has just launched a huge attack as the riders crested a bit of a bump in the road.
I reckon that's the move that's done it.
Van Aert, Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) and Stefan Kung are there.
153 km to go:
That move from Mohoric and Van Aert was sniffed out pretty quickly.
Everyone's still together at the moment as several Uno-X guys drive the pace at the front of the peloton.
Lovely image of the fans on the roadside today.
151 km to go:
We still don't have a break! Alaphilippe and Mohoric are two main that seem determined to force a split.
Van Aert is still there, as is Victor Lafay (Cofidis) and Marc Soler (UAE Emirates).
We're on the first climb of the day, despite it being just a category 3, you can see the road starting to bite slightly.
149 km to go:
Here's Skjelmose and Mohoric again! These two riders will be absolutely kicking themselves if they aren't present when a breakaway eventually goes.
Van Aert and Soler don't seem to be the guys trying to force a move. Each time the likes of Alaphilippe or Mohoric go, one of those guys seems to be on their wheel.
Do UAE and Jumbo have other plans for today?
148 km to go:
Dani Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers) has just led the bunch over the top of the first climb.
And we still don't have a breakaway.... the pace feels so relentless that it's going to need a huge effort to force anything.
Here's Victor Lafay (Cofidis) trying to force a move at the head of the race just now.
140 km to go:
And we've got a move!
A huge acceleration from Wout van Aert forced that gap there which has split the peloton in two.
Looks like we've got out breakaway of the day. I'll let you know whose in it in just a second.
Looks like I spoke too soon!
This is so chaotic, it really is.
It's no surprise that we've had a crash too.
Poor old David de la Cruz (Astana Qazaqstan) hit the deck pretty badly. He's been forced out of the race and looked like he was in agony.
Let's hope he's ok.
132 km to go:
There's now three groups scattered all over the road.
This is ridiculously chaotic.
The rider to miss out is Simon Yates (Jayco-AIUla) who is in the second group on the road, 42 seconds back from the GC favourites.
131 km to go:
Van Aert is at the head of the race again with Giulio Ciccone (Lidl-Trek), Mattias Skjelmose (Lidl-Trek) and a Bora-Hansgrohe rider with them.
Van Aert is hammering it down this descent. Surely we'll get a real breakaway forming soon?
We're still bombing it down the descent of the second climb of the day, the Col des Ecorbans, and it finally seems to be calming down slightly.
123 km to go: Wout van Aert has gone solo.
He's just clocked 43 kmph uphill, and has opened up a gap of more than 10 seconds on the second group on the road.
What an absolute machine the Belgian is.
122 km to go: If the Belgian can get guys like Campanaerts, Mohoric or maybe Fred Wright over to him, then they stand a real chance of finally getting away.
Right! I'm off for some lunch.
Handing you over to my colleague, James Shrubsall, who will take you through the next hour.
Afternoon everyone. What a contrast today's fervent early action is to yesterday's slow burn. Even the weather is different!
Wout Van Aert struggling to make this gap stick right now. Five seconds... oh - and now he's back in the group.
115km to go: As if in relay, off goes Burgaudeau, Turgis on his wheel.
Well, that didn't last. But the attacks are relentless from this group.
It's fractured into pieces.
113km to go: Wilko Kelderman of Jumbo-Visma has forged a gap with Skjelmose. It's a few seconds. I wonder what Vingegaard thinks of this? An important mountains domestique going up the road before an important mountains day?
109km to go: Hot on the heels of Kelderman and Skjelmose is a small group that includes yellow jersey Vingegaard, plus Tadej Pogačar, Jai Hindley and David Gaudu.
It's like watching the finale of a high mountains stage.
107km to go: That front group has come back together now.
More attacks go: Dylan Teuns, Tiesj Benoot, Fred Wright... but nothing is sticking.
105km to go: Benoot and Teuns now have a small gap. Nine seconds.
101km to go: The riders are on a long descent now, which is likely to calm things down a bit. After that comes around 25km of comparatively flat terrain before the climbs kick off again.
99km to go: Tough news for Lotto-Dstny sprinter Caleb Ewan. He's currently 13 minutes off the back of the race with a long way to go. He has team-mate Jasper De Buyst with him apparently. It's going to be a long day for the pair as they battle to stay within the time limit.
97km to go: Mads Pedersen is now up there with Teuns and Benoot. Lidl-Trek rider Pedersen was one of the day's earliest attackers, despite his sprinting abilities. No doubt he figured a bunch sprint was definitely not on the cards today, so why not try something else?
The trio has 15sec.
93km to go: Three riders have set off in pursuit of the leading trio – Andrey Amador (one of yesterday's breakaways); Ion Izaguirre (Cofidis); and Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar). They're slowing making ground on the leaders, currently 9sec behind.
92km to go: Fred Wright putting in a hard effort at the front of the main group, stringing it out. He's created a small group of six.
Just to outline how fast everything continues to change, I just typed out a brief situation overview – and then had to delete the lot.
This is crazy!
87km to go: That front group of Benoot, Teuns and Pedersen has been caught by another small group which includes Amador, Campanaerts and Jorgensen for a total 10 riders.
The force is strong with this one, I think.
87km to go: From behind, Julian Alaphilippe jumps away.
The leading group has 23 seconds over the main pack, with various riders dropped or bridging in-between.
83km to go: Alaphilippe and Jasper Styuven chasing the leaders, 30sec back.
Here's the make up of that leading break, which is now 13-strong. It has 1.18, so is definitely sticking.
Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma)
Thibaut Pinot (Groupama FDJ)
Andrey Amador (EF Education-EasyPost)
Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek)
Mathieu Van Der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck)
Guillaume Martin (Cofidis)
Ion Izaguirre (Cofidis)
Ruben Gurreiro (Movistar)
Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar)
Dylan Teuns (Israel-PremierTech)
Victor Campanaerts (Lotto-Dstny)
Tobias Johannessen (Uno-X)
Mathieu Bergaudeau (TotalEnergies)
75km to go: It's been a hard chase for Alaphilippe and Stuyven, but they have just about made it up to the leaders.
The yellow jersey group is now 2.17 back.
69km to go: The race is approaching the first of a trio of climbs that come one after the other – the Col de la Casse Froide. It's a fairly serious proposition: 5.6km at 6.1%, with a summit height of 740m.
What will it do to the break?
68km to go: Mads Pedersen took the sprint ahead of Van Der Poel and Amador, with the Danish rider taking over Bryan Coquard's second spot in the points classification.
He's still a very long way from Jasper Philipsen though.
64.3km to go: The leading group now out to 3.28 as it hits the lower slopes of the Casse Froide.
Right! Tom Thewlis back in the hot seat here and ready to take you through to the finish.
61 km to go: The breakaway is still climbing and taking turns nicely at the head of the race.
Unless something really explodes behind them, they'll stay away to the end.
AG2R are driving the GC group, the second group on the road, although it appears to be to no avail as of yet.
59 km to go:
Great to see Van der Poel looking incredibly fresh at the head of the race today. He's flown somewhat under the radar so far in this Tour de France.
Could this be the day the Dutchman ignites the race?
57 km to go:
Oh no! A small crash at the back of the second group on the road and Giulio Ciccone (Lidl-Trek) is taking a while to get back on his bike.
Hopefully he's ok.... his right knee is pretty cut up.
55km to go:
Ciccone is back on his bike but pedalling very gingerly as he gets going again.
Fingers crossed the Italian is ok.
55km to go:
Meanwhile at the head of the race Andrey Amador and Van der Poel are absolutely gunning it down this climb, the category three col de la crasse froide.
52km to go: Van der Poel and Amador have opened up a small gap from the rest of the breakaway favourites.
I'd imagine that once the next climb starts they'll soon get back together.
Van der Poel is clearly feeling really good here though.
47km to go:
Oh no! Absolute disaster for Julian Alaphilippe and Mads Pedersen.
They've both clearly paid the price for their earlier explosive efforts and have been distanced by the front group.
45 km to go:
Van der Poel goes solo! It kind of felt like that was inevitable.
There's some far superior climbers to the Dutchman in this second group on the road but they've no answer to the pace he's setting.
Van der Poel has more than 30 seconds on the second group on the road.
Here's Van der Poel attacking and distancing Amador and the other leaders.
💥 @mathieuvdpoel attacks at the front and drops @Andrey_Amador.💥 @mathieuvdpoel attaque et distance @Andrey_Amador.#TDF2023 pic.twitter.com/70aggkS0hWJuly 13, 2023
42km to go: Van der Poel has 19 seconds on the group of chasers as they continue up the penultimate climb - the category two Col de la Croix Montmain - and it's still growing.
The Dutchman is over the top now and using the descent fantastically to increase his advantage.
He's got about 30 seconds now.
33km to go: The leaders are onto the final climb, the Col de la Croix Rosier.
Van der Poel won't be remotely interested in the bonus seconds at the summit, he's got a stage win on his mind.
The Dutchman has just over 20 seconds on the remnants of the chasers, Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar).
32 km to go:
Pinot and Jorgenson have made it across to Van der Poel and Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma) is just behind them.
If Van der Poel is going to win this, he's going to have to re-think his game plan in this last 30 or so kilometres.
30 km to go: Now we've got Ion Izaguirre and Guillaume Martin of Cofidis, Burgadeau (TotalEnergies), Ruben Guerrioro (Movistar), Tobias Johanesson (Uno-X), Dylan Teuns (Israel-Premier Tech) and Amador from EF Education at the front with Van der Poel.
We've got over 2 kilometres left to climb on this race and Izaguirre has launched a violent attack which looks like its shredded this lead group.
Van der Poel is hanging out the back.... can he hold on?!
29km to go: Izaguirre has opened up his own gap of 30 seconds now, with one kilometre to the summit.
The Cofidis rider is a handy descender..... if someone's going to bring him back, they need to do it now.
Here's Van der Poel on the Col de la Croix Rosier just before they went over the summit.
It's a long, twisty descent now before a relatively flat run in to Belleville.
Oh no! Horrible crash for Torstein Traen (Uno-X)..... luckily he's back on his bike and riding but that was a horrible looking crash.
Traen has had some serious bad luck in this race... that must be about the third or fourth crash for him during the course of this race.
20 km to go: Meanwhile at the head of the race, Izaguirre is still pushing on.
Thibaut Pinot is 37 seconds back from the Spaniard with Van der Poel 1-34 from Izaguirre.
17km to go: After waiting 15 years for a win on the Tour, Victor Lafay grabbed a stage victory for Cofidis in San-Sebastian on stage two.
Could Izaguirre be about to grab a second win of the Tour for the French team on their home roads this time?
16 km to go:
47 seconds for Izaguirre from the Pinot group.... it's going up aswell! Hard to see the Spaniard being caught unless the group of chasers get their act together.
Here's Ion Izaguirre on his way to Belleville - en - Beaujolais.
It will be hard to catch him now..... he nearly has a minute on the Pinot group.
11km to go:
Izaguirre has 40 seconds on the chasers now.
Burgadeau put in a big dig to try and shrink that advantage, but I'm not sure it will be enough.
Tiesj Benoot is trying to get a bit of organisation going amongst them, but Izaguirre's teammate Martin is doing everything within his power to disrupt the chase.
10km to go:
Jorgenson has pushed on in a desperate attempt to try and catch Izaguirre.
He's gone though! The Cofidis man is edging ever closer to a second ever Tour stage win.
8km to go: Izagirre has 4-11 over the GC group..... there will be minimal changes in the overall standings when this stage is done and dusted.
7.9km to go: Feels like the chasers have given up.... no surprise though given the three tough days that are about to come.
Izagirre has nearly a minute now... the stage is his to lose.
2km to go: Izagirre will finish this one off now.
He's got 1-04 to the chasing group and it's still rising. This will be a memorable win for the Cofidis rider.
Jorgenson and Burgadeau have pushed on from the Pinot group in search of the podium places.
The Movistar rider has attacked over the top of Burgadeau and will almost certainly seal second place.
1km to go: Izagirre is under the flamme rouge.
It's seven years since his first Tour stage win.... what a superb afternoon for the Cofidis man.
500 metres to go: Izagirre is punching the air... he knows he's done it.
IZAGiRRE WINS STAGE 12!
Here comes the sprint for the podium spots.
Burgadeau grabs second with Jorgenson in third.... Tiesj Benoot gets fourth.
Right! What a day of racing.
We'll have a full stage report on the site in due course.
The GC group including Jonas Vingegaard will be over the line in about 5 minutes time.
Here's my stage 12 report in full.
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