Eritrea's Biniam Girmay celebrates as he crosses the finish line...

Eritrea's Biniam Girmay celebrates as he crosses the finish line ahead of Belgium's Wout van Aert, left, to win the twelfth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 203.6 kilometers (126.5 miles) with start in Aurillac and finish in Villeneuve-sur-Lot, France, Thursday, July 11, 2024. Credit: AP/Daniel Cole

VILLENEUVE-SUR-LOT, France — Primoz Roglic lost more than two minutes to his rival Tour de France contenders after crashing near the finish where the new king of sprints, Biniam Girmay, completed a hat trick of stage wins on Thursday.

Roglic hit the tarmac with some 12 kilometers left after a rider in front of him hit road furniture and lost control of his bike. Roglic could not avoid the crash and went down with several others.

It was the second accident in 24 hours for Roglic, a four-time Grand Tour champion. He got back on his bike but struggled at the back and was helped to the stage finish by his Bora-Hansgrohe teammates. He crossed 2 minutes, 27 seconds after the winner according to provisional results and dropped to sixth place overall.

Girmay, who became the first Black rider to ever win a Tour stage this month, edged Wout van Aert, who was boxed on the right side of the road, and Arnaud Demare to extend his lead at the top of the rankings for the best sprinter’s green jersey. Demare later was demoted from second to 67th for having pushed Van Aert to the barriers, with Pascal Ackermann promoted to third place.

Two-time Tour champion Tadej Pogacar kept the yellow jersey. He said he was “devastated” when he found out that Roglic, his fellow Slovenian, had crashed.

“It’s really sad to see him crash today. I hope he is fine. Normally he is a big fighter, maybe he bounces back and wins some stages.”

Pogacar has a lead of 1:06 over Remco Evenepoel, with two-time defending champion Jonas Vingegaard in third place, 1:14 off the pace. Roglic dropped behind Joao Almeida and Carlos Rodriguez, lagging 4:42 behind Pogacar.

The pack speeds downhill towards Rocamadour, rear, during the twelfth...

The pack speeds downhill towards Rocamadour, rear, during the twelfth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 203.6 kilometers (126.5 miles) with start in Aurillac and finish in Villeneuve-sur-Lot, France, Thursday, July 11, 2024. Credit: AP/Daniel Cole

The crash disturbed preparations for the final sprint, with Matthieu Van der Poel also missing from the main group and unable to lead out teammate Jasper Philipsen.

Girmay had Mike Teunissen with him, and his Intermarche-Wanty teammate did an amazing job to guide him through traffic. Girmay jumped into Teunissen's wheel and was perfectly set up before he unleashed his raw power in the final 200 meters.

“First of all I would say thanks God giving me a lot of strength and power," Girmay said. “Without God we cannot do anything so I’m super happy. The last 600 meters I found Mike and then he did a super good job, he took me from 15th to top 3 and from there I just knew I could deliver."

Stage 12 took riders on a 204-kilometer (126-mile) route from Aurillac to Villeneuve-sur-Lot in southwestern France without major difficulty. There were 167 riders on the start line after Michael Morkov tested positive for coronavirus and the Astana-Qazaqstan team’s medical staff withdrew him from the Tour.

France's Anthony Turgis calls for his team car as he...

France's Anthony Turgis calls for his team car as he rides with Norway's Jonas Abrahamsen, the runner-up in the best climber's dotted jersey, in the breakaway during the twelfth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 203.6 kilometers (126.5 miles) with start in Aurillac and finish in Villeneuve-sur-Lot, France, Thursday, July 11, 2024. Credit: AP/Daniel Cole

There was an early breakaway but Jonas Abrahamsen, Quentin Pacher and Valentin Madouas were caught after 162 kilometers.

Friday's Stage 13 is another flat trek in southwestern France from Agen to Pau.

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