Mitchelton-SCOTT to re-focus as the Tour de France departs the Alps

Thu 19 Jul 2018

Mitchelton-SCOTT will re-focus on stage wins after another brutal mountain stage at the Tour de France saw their general classification hopes come to an end. 

The twelfth stage to Alp d’Huez featured more than 5000m of climbing and for the second consecutive day Giro d’Italia stage winner Mikel Nieve featured in a large breakaway whilst team leader Adam Yates suffered on the penultimate climb.

Nieve doubles up:
Race leaders Team Sky once again let a big group of riders off the front at the start of the day and Nieve featured for Mitchelton-SCOTT. 

With the presence of Steve Kruijswijk (Team Lotto-Jumbo), who sat towards the pointy end of the overall standings at the start of the day, the peloton was attentive to the margin.

Kruijswijk attacked the front of the race solo with 72km to go and instantly developed a handy gap whilst Nieve settled into a small surviving chase group behind.

The Nieve chase was swept up before the start of the final climb, but Kruijswijk survived out in front until he too was caught in the final four kilometres. 

GC battle lights up once again:
With a threat in Kruijswijk up the road, an injection of pace on the penultimate climb shelled a number of riders, including Yates. Australian Damien Howson was also in the group but the Mitchelton-SCOTT pair were called back to save energy and eventually finished in a bunch almost 29minutes behind stage winner Geraint Thomas (Team Sky). 

Ahead, solo attacks flew up the final ascent of Alpe d’Huez but none were successful.  Eventually, an elite group of five riders rode into the final kilometre together as everyone else lost time. 

Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“It was a hard task in the break today because of two gentlemen, (Alejandro) Valverde and Kruijswijk. If those two weren’t there, the break could have won today and even with Kruijswijk in there, it nearly did.

“Sky are happy to let big groups go, it’s not that hard to get into those big groups and Mikel was happy to try again because at the end of the day it’s not so much about how well you’re going, it’s about how much Sky want to chase.

“The next few days are transitional stages so we will take a look at those, but we are definitely looking for stage wins now. 

“It didn’t work out how we had hoped with Adam. His form is still good but he has struggled with the heat in the last couple of days so he will take a couple of easy days and look for some opportunities in the final week.

“Now that the general classification is very well established, there certainly will be some opportunities in the mountains.”

Tour de France – Stage 12:
1. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) 5:18:37
2. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sky) +0:02
3. Roman Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) +0:03
24. Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +9:57

Tour de France – General Classification after Stage 12:
1. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) 49:24:43
2. Christopher Froome (Team Sky) +1:39
3. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) +1:50
15. Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +15:28

Photo courtesy of Getty Images