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Wanty's Biniam Girmay celebrates on the podium wearing the green jersey after winning stage 12. Picture: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
Wanty's Biniam Girmay celebrates on the podium wearing the green jersey after winning stage 12. Picture: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Villeneuve-Sur-Lot - Eritrean Biniam Girmay edged out Wout van Aert to win the 12th stage of the Tour de France on Thursday while Slovenian Tadej Pogacar retained the overall leader's yellow jersey.

Girmay, who became the first black African to triumph on the Tour when he won the third stage, sealed his third win at this year's race on a day for the sprinters.

"We didn't want to take any risks today," Intermarche-Wanty rider Girmay, 24, said after the 204km ride from Aurillac to Villeneuve-Sur-Lot.

"But in the end, when everyone came together, I felt super good, and I said on the radio, 'give me support and I can deliver'. So I'm just super happy."

Girmay out-paced Belgium's Van Aert and Arnaud Demare although Demare was later relegated to the back of the sprint bunch meaning Pascal Ackermann (Israel-Premier Tech) was promoted to the podium.

His win consolidated his hold on the green jersey with a 107-point advantage over Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck).

"From now on I will continue full focus on sprinting and the green jersey. As soon as I started wearing [it], I felt the fastest. If I have the right moment and the right position, I can prove myself in the sprints," he said.

It was disappointing result for Van Aert who said he got "boxed between Demare and the barrier".

"I should look back at what happened. Anyway, I had to relaunch my sprint — and I still came close to the victory. If I didn't have to stop pedalling I would have had a good chance," Van Aert said.

"It's also important to take some good things away today — for sure, I'm happy that I felt good again."

It was a quiet day for the general classification contenders with Pogacar protecting his 1min 6sec lead over Remco Evenepoel, followed by defending champion Jonas Vingegaard a further 8sec back.

Pogacar's compatriot Primoz Roglic, meanwhile, lost more than 2min due to a crash towards the end of the stage.

The 2023 Giro d'Italia winner Roglic was brought down 12km from the finish line, a day after losing 25sec after another crash on stage 11.

"I'm really sad for Primoz," Pogacar said. "I was shocked, it's really bad news. I'm disappointed for him and wish him the best. I think Primoz would be flying in the last week."

Roglic crossed the line battered and bruised and is now sixth overall, 4min 42sec down on Pogacar. Reuters

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