David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) has won the twelfth stage of the 2012 Tour de France.
The Scottish rider triumphed in a cat and mouse sprint with Ag2R-La Mondiale’s Jean Christophe Peraud after the pair went clear of the remnants of a five-strong breakaway that had escaped early in the stage.
Millar became the fourth British stage winner of the 2012 Tour, following the stage two success of Mark Cavendish, Chris Froome’s victory on stage seven, and Bradley Wiggins’ time trial triumph on stage nine. All four will ride for Great Britain in the Olympic road race later this month.
Millar said: “The last few years I’ve been at the disposition of the team; because we’ve lost our GC hopes I’ve been allowed to do what I want so I just take advantage of it.
“I was determined. I gave myself no options. I was going to do whatever it took. I’d already decided I was going to go after every single attack. My tactic was just to shut everything down.”
Millar commented on the anniversary of the death of British road race legend, Tom Simpson, who collapsed and died on the slopes of the Mont Ventoux 45 years ago, on July 13, 1967.
“That’s particularly poignant, especially after what I’ve been through: an ex-doper, who’s now clean, and loves this sport. I’m very proud to have done it today. We mustn’t forget Tommy’s memory, and what’s happened, and what this sport’s been through, and where we are now.
“We’re the cleanest we’ve ever been, with Brad leading the Tour, and Chris in second, and now four British stage wins. We’re clean riders and we’re dominating the Tour de France.”
Team Sky led the peloton into Annonay Davézieux at the end of a 226km stage begun with two first category climbs to keep Bradley Wiggins in yellow.
Wiggins said he was burned by a flare carried by a fan, but had not been injured. He praised Millar’s success, which said would bode well for the Olympic Games.
Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE) crossed the line sixth, ahead of a furious Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) who complained that Goss had moved across on him. The positions were later reversed by the commissaires.
Saturday’s thirteenth stage features a flat run from Saint-Paul-Trois-Château to Le Cap d’Agde.
1) David Millar (GBR) – Garmin-Sharp – 5.42.46
2) Jean-Christophe Peraud (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale
3) Egoi Martinez De Esteban (SPA) – Euskaltel-Euskadi +5”
4) Cyril Gautier (FRA) – Europcar
5) Robert Kiserlovski (CRO) – Astana
6) Peter Sagan (SVK) – Liquigas-Cannondale +7.53
7) Matthew Goss (AUS) – Orica-GreenEdge
8) Sébastien Hinault (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +7.54
9) Cadel Evans (AUS) – BMC Racing
10) Luca Paolini (ITA) Katusha
1) Bradley Wiggins (GBR) – Team Sky – 54.34.33
2) Christopher Froome (GBR) – Team Sky + 2.05
3) Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) – Liquigas-Cannondale +2.23
4) Cadel Evans (AUS) – BMC Racing + 3.19
5) Jurgen Van Den Broeck (BEL) – Lotto-Belisol +4.48
6) Haimar Zubeldia (SPA) – RadioShack-Nissan-Trek +6.15
7) Tejay Van Garderen (USA) – BMC Racing +6.57
8) Janez Brajkovic (SLO) – Astana +7.30
9) Pierre Rolland (FRA) – Europcar +8.31
10) Thibaut Pinot (FRA) – FDJ-Big Mat +8.51