Millar magic cements Brit dominance at Le Tour as Wiggins retains yellow jersey
16:14 GMT, 13 July 2012
David Millar out-sprinted his breakaway companions to claim victory on Tour de France stage 12.
Twelve years after winning the prologue on his Tour debut, the 35-year-old Scot was triumphant on the 226-kilometre route from Saint-Jean de Maurienne to Annonay-Davezieux after a day-long escape.
Millar (Garmin-Sharp) won the dash to the line from Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r La Mondiale), who finished second after the duo broke clear of their other breakaway companions in the final 3km.
Crossing the line: David Millar lets out a roar after winning stage 12 of the Tour de France
Spent: Millar collapses after crossing the finishing line
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It was the fourth British stage win of the 2012 Tour after victories for Team Sky trio Mark Cavendish, Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins.
Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) won the sprint for third place, five seconds behind Millar, with Cyril Gautier (Europcar) fourth and Robert Kiserlovski (Astana) fifth.
The peloton contested the race for sixth, with Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) beating Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale), who was frustrated by the Australian apparently veering off his line in the finale. It was possible Goss would be relegated for the manoeuvre.
Wiggins was part of the peloton which
rolled in seven minutes 54 seconds behind Millar and retained the race
leader's yellow jersey for a fifth day.
Big finish: David Millar (right) gets the better of Jean-Christophe Peraud in a sprint to the line
remained second, 2mins 5secs behind, with Vincenzo Nibali
(Liquigas-Cannondale) 2:23 back in third and defending champion Cadel
Evans (BMC Racing) 3:19 adrift in fourth.
the day – the 45th anniversary of the death of Britain's first maillot
jaune, Tom Simpson – belonged to Millar, the most recent Briton to lead
the Tour before Wiggins.
It was an emotional success after a
two-year suspension following his admission in 2004 that he took the
banned blood-booster EPO.
now a fervent anti-doping campaigner, won the 13th stage to Bezier in
2002, but asked for his time-trial win on stage 19 in 2003 to be wiped
from the record books after his confession.
attempt to win in Barcelona on a solo escape in 2009 was snuffed out by
the peloton, but now he has his third triumph in his 11th Tour.
And they're off: Garmin-Sharp's David Millar leads as riders break away
weeks on Saturday Millar is set to compete in his first Olympics in 12
years after the British Olympic Association's bylaw banning those with
prior doping bans was scrapped.
Millar was in the early break on the longest day of the 99th Tour.
The route was always likely to favour
an escape, with two category one climbs early on and a category three
ascent in the final 20km as the peloton headed south and the general
classification contenders recovered from their Alpine excursion.
The Scot was one of 11 riders in the
lead after 60km, with the best-placed overall Kiserlovski (Astana), who
began the day 28:43 behind Wiggins.
Millar was fourth over the day's
second first category climb, the Col du Granier, and attacked on the
descent as a group of five leaders formed.
Poised: David Milar is on the right, ready to make his move on stage 12 of the Tour de France
He was joined by Kiserlovski, Martinez, Peraud and Gautier and the quintet established a substantial lead.
The five leaders were more than 11
minutes ahead with 86km of the stage remaining as world champion
Cavendish, among the riders dropped earlier when ascending the major
peaks, returned to the peloton.
Cavendish opted not to contest the
intermediate sprint and fell further behind green jersey incumbent Sagan
The world champion, who was
performing bottle-fetching duties for Team Sky, then punctured and was
reprimanded by race commissaries for passing by team support vehicles on
the wrong side when returning to the peloton.
Horse power: Young fans watch the riders on stage 12 of the Tour de France
Millar was the only previous stage winner in the break, which had a 12:10 advantage over the peloton with 25km to go.
The quintet crested the summit of the
short, sharp category three climb of the Cote d'Ardoix together, but
with a long uphill drag to the finish, further drama was expected.
With 3km to go Millar led, but he and
his companions played a watchful role before Peraud accelerated
forward. Millar followed him, but the other three could not.
Millar and Peraud had a lead of more than 50 metres which was increasing as they went under the 2km to go mark.
As you were: Bradley Wiggins has kept hold of the yellow jersey
Up and away: The pack, with Bradley Wiggins in the yellow jersey, passes vineyards towards Granier
The chasing trio appeared reluctant
to work together and Peraud and Millar were also lacking cooperation
when the Scot took to the front.
Peraud made his bid for victory with
200m to go, but Millar summoned the strength to hold off his younger
companion and punched the air with delight before collapsing in
exhaustion over the line.
It proved he was back to full form after fracturing his collarbone in March.
Now all four of Britain's Olympic
road race team riding the Tour have won a stage. Ian Stannard will
complete the five-man line-up on July 28 but was not selected by Team
Further British success could follow
tomorrow, with Cavendish eyeing the 217km 13th stage from
Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux to Cap d'Agde, on the shores of the