Friday July 13th, 2012

Stage 12Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne / Annonay Davézieux

Start 11h10 GMT 2+

'Millar Time' once again

Stage summary13.07.2012Stage 12- Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne / Annonay Davézieux

The domination of riders from Great Britain continues at the Tour de France of 2012. David Millar may have been born in Malta, and raised as a cosmopolitan citizen of the world but he calls himself Scottish and he's registered to race as a Brit. And today he outwitted a Frenchman to win his fourth stage of the Tour since making his debut in the race with a win on the opening day in 2000. «It's great to win time trials,» he said at the finish, «but a road stage is much more fun.»
It was a happy end for the Garmin-Sharp team after the longest stage of the 99th Tour. After a few days of watching the climbers and GC specialists fight it out for victory and gains in the overall rankings, this was a day when the opportunists seized their chance. Millar was in a quintet that found themselves at the front of the stage after 100km of attacking action. Together with Jean-Christophe Peraud, Egoi Martinez, Robert Kiserlovski and Cyril Gautier, Millar worked up an an advantage of over 12 minutes on the peloton and that allowed the leaving five to concentrate on the stage win and not worry about who was coming from behind. None of the quintet were a threat to Bradley Wiggins' overall lead but there was a small display of strength from the race leader who put in a small surge on one of the early category-one climbs. Still, he ultimately rolled in with the peloton 7'54» minutes behind his future Olympic team-mate and he keeps the yellow jersey for another day.

The progress report
The 12th stage was the longest of the 2012 Tour de France. The 226 route took riders from St-Jean-de-Maurienne to Annonay in the Ardeche. There were two early climbs – the col du Grand Curcheron (cat-1 at 34km) and the col du Granier (cat-1 at 60.5km). The intermediate sprint was in Marcilloles at 153km. The official start was at 11.07am with 166 riders at the sign on. The non-starter was Gesink (RAB).

11-man break eventually forms
It was a fast start to the stage and not until 15km was any escapee able to gain an advantage on the peloton. Eventually 19 men broke free and it included: Burghardt (BMC), Popovych (RNT), Gautier (EUC), Perez (EUS), Koren (LIQ), Millar (GRS), Peraud and Bouet (ALM), Edet (COF), Engoulvent (SAU), Marcato (VCD), Gusev and Vorganov (KAT), Lund and Sorensen (STB), Grivko and Kiserlovski (AST), Grabsch (OPQ) and de Kort (ARG). This split on the first climb when several counter-attacks were launched but it wasn't until the descent of the col du Grand Cucheron that riders settled into their respective packs. Kiserlovski spent a brief stint on his own at the front, long enough to claim the 10 points for first over the first climb.
The average speed for the first hour was 36.8km/h.
Moncoutie (COF) had been involved in the counter-attacks but he crashed at 38km and quit the Tour.
At 45km, the remnants of the early attack had a lead of 45” on a counter-attack that included Horner, Martinez and Perez and the peloton was 1'30” behind and led by Boasson Hagen (SKY) There were 11 in the front group: Popovych, Gautier, Koren, Millar, Peraud, Bouet, Edet, Gusev, Vorganov, N. Sorensen and Kiserlovski. The Croatian Astana rider was the best of the escape on GC, 25th overall... but well behind Wiggins at the start of the day (28'43”). Veelers (ARG) abandoned at the 70km mark.

Col de Granier: an attack by Sagan...
Horner waited for the peloton and was caught before the second climb; by then, the 11 leaders were 50” ahead of Martinez, 2'00” ahead of Perez, and 2'35” ahead of the peloton. The lead group split and the five at the front at the top were Kiserlovski, Peraud, Martinez and Gautier. In the final 500m of the second climb, Wiggins seemed to attack the peloton and he briefly joined Coppel and Kern in a little taunt of the bunch. Sagan (LIQ) went on the attack with Taaramae (COF) on the descent and the rider in the green jersey was joined by his team-mate Nerz. Koren dropped out of the front group and waited for Sagan and, after 100km of racing, there was a group of five – Gautier (EUC), Martinez (EUS), Millar (GRS), Peraud (ALM) and Kiserlovski (AST) – 1'35” ahead of a group of nine: Popovych (RNT), Kern (EUC), Izaguirre (EUS), Koren (LIQ), Nerz (LIQ), Sagan (LIQ), Taaramae (COF), Vorganov (KAT) and Sorensen (STB). Then came the peloton at 3'20”.
Orica-GreenEdge then moved to the front of the peloton to reel in the move by Sagan and they caught the green jersey at the feedzone (108.5km). That's left six men in the lead: Kiserlovski (AST), Peraud (ALM), Martinez (EUS), Millar (GRS), and Gautier (EUC). After 120km, they were 4'00” ahead. The average speed of the third hour was 41.8km/h.

Five continue to build their advantage
The five in the front of the stage were allowed to continually build their lead: 11'40” at 128km. Sky led the peloton and there was a general regrouping with those who had been dropped on the climbs returning to the yellow jersey's peloton. There was little interest in the escapees racing each other for points at the intermediate sprint and Millar was first over the line. Vacansoleil riders tried to sneak ahead to take sixth place points in the intermediate sprint but Goss timed his (late) sprint to perfection and beat Greipel, van Hummel and Sagan to add 10 points to his tally and lead the bunch to the line 11'00” behind the escapees.
The maximum gain of the escape was 12'50” when the quintet was at the 50km to go mark.

Millar claims his fourth Tour stage win
The five escapees worked together until the 5km to go mark and then they started playing games in the quest for the stage win. Martinez was the first to try but it lasted a matter of seconds. Peraud made a brief surge with 3.5km to go and Millar responded and this eliminated the three others... although they were always insight of the leading pair. They all refused to tow one another up to the front two and thus Millar was forced to lead Peraud out for the sprint. The Frenchman opened up the sprint with 250m to go but the Scot easily matched his pace and held him off to win a stage of the Tour for the fourth time (after the opening stage of 2000 – his first appearance in the race, stage 13 in 2002, and the penultimate stage of 2003).
Matt Goss led Peter Sagan to the line one second ahead of the peloton which finished 7'54” behind the stage winner. There was a protest by the rider in the green jersey and there is a chance that the Australian will be relegated.
Wiggins was in 12th place and he will wear the yellow jersey in stage 13.

Stage 12 Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne / Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne

All about the stage key moments

Jersey wearers after the stage 5

Classifications after the stage 5

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