Millar Wins Stage 12 of Tour de France
David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) has won Stage 12 of the Tour de France.
David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) has won Stage 12 of the Tour de France 2012. The Scottish veteran took a two-up sprint from Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale) to win the 226-km ride from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Annonay Davezieux in 5:42:46. Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) finished third, and Bradley Wiggins (Sky) remains the maillot jaune.
The hostilities began early. Riders launched a number of abortive attacks before 17 riders got clear on the Col du Grand Cucheron, the first of two early Category 1 ascents. Attrition took its toll, and on the Category 1 Col du Granier, five riders were left in the lead. They were Millar, Peraud, Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Martinez, and Robert Kiserlovski (Astana).
Behind, Peter Sagan, Dominik Nerz, and Kristjan Koren (all from Liquigas-Cannondale); Rein Taaramae (Cofidis); and Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) attacked from the peloton, but Sky and Orica-GreenEdge shut the move down. At that point, Sky slowed down the field, and the escapees' lead grew to more than 12 minutes with 50 km left.
In the last four km, the four leaders began to play cat and mouse. Kiserlovski and Martinez made fake attacks before Peraud made a real one with three km to go. Only Millar followed.
With 500 m remaining, Peraud took Millar's wheel. He waited until 200 m remained and then pounced on Millar's right. The Frenchman drew level with the Scot, but Millar accelerated for the win. His victory was a fillip for the morale of Garmin-Sharp, which had many riders injured and lost Ryder Hesjedal and Tom Danielson to a Stage 6 crash.
Today is the 45th anniversary of the death of British cycling legend Tom Simpson on Mont Ventoux, and Millar paid tribute to Simpson. So did maillot jaune Wiggins in praising Millar's victory.
"For Dave to win after the season that he's had is impressive," said Wiggins, "and to do so on the anniversary of Tom [Simpson's death] is fantastic."
In the overall, Wiggins leads teammate Christopher Froome by 2:05 and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) by 2:23. Stage 13 will probably not change this. The flat, 217-km run from Saint Paul-Trois Chateaux to Le Cap d'Agde will have only one climb, a Category 1 ascent 23 km from the finish that might shed some of the sprinters. Still, the stage should end in a mass gallop. Who will win? Sagan (Liguigas-Cannondale)? Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
Read our review of David Millar's new book Racing Through The Dark here