Shortly before the demanding stages in the Alps, favorites Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar made no unnecessary efforts. In the duel of the cycling stars at the 110th Tour de France, the Dane and the Slovenian stayed close together in the field of riders on Thursday and saved their strength for the upcoming mountain tortures.

On the 168.8 kilometers to Belleville-en-Beaujolais, the 34-year-old Spaniard Ion Izagirre won the twelfth stage as a soloist ahead of Mathieu Burgaudeau and Matteo Jorgenson. In contrast to the past few days, no German driver made it to the top.

On Friday we head towards the Alps. The next chapter of Vingegaard and Pogacar’s duel awaits in the difficult mountain finish on the Grand Colombier. There were no changes in the overall rating. Last year’s winner Vingegaard is 17 seconds ahead of Slovenian Pogacar in the yellow jersey. Australia’s Bora captain Jai Hindley is 2:40 back in third place.

After the bumpy start on the way to the Beaujoulais vineyards, several drivers outdid each other with attacks that initially had no effect. It remained a chaotic race with changing top groups. Just before the start of the last three climbs, the field gathered around the favorites Vingegaard and Pogacar. Also there: Hindley and helper Nils Politt from the German team Bora-hansgrohe. Her sporting director Rolf Aldag had previously announced to Politt on the team radio that he would not attack and stay with the Australian podium contender Hindley.

After the narrowly missed stage victories of Georg Zimmermann on Tuesday and sprinter Phil Bauhaus a day later, brilliant performances were not to be expected from the German drivers. Especially since Zimmermann’s Belgian team gave his colleague Lilian Calmejane the freedom that the man from Augsburg had enjoyed before he finished second.

Overall, Simon Geschke gave the German squad a positive interim report. “Second and third on the tour are not bad results,” said the 37-year-old of the German Press Agency. “With seven starters from a German point of view, it will definitely be difficult to win a stage,” he noted, however.

The world-renowned cycling event is halfway through. Sprinter Fabio Jakobsen will no longer experience the second part as part of the tour. The fast man from the Netherlands announced ahead of the stage that he was retiring from the Tour. He is still suffering from the effects of a fall on the fourth stage. The Spaniard David de la Cruz had to give up as the ninth rider 142 kilometers before the finish line because of a fall.

Just over 2150 of the 3405 kilometers between the start in Bilbao and Paris have been covered. On the French national holiday, the climbing specialists are hoping for a mountain festival on the Grand Colombier. After a flat start to the 13th stage on Friday near Lyon, the riders have to conquer the target mountain in the Jura Mountains at almost 1,500 meters.