Bradley Wiggins follows teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway, left, as they speed down Granier pass. AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani
Tour de France

Sprint finish: Millar captures Stage 12 but Team Sky ensure Wiggins stays top

The British cyclist found energy reserves to win a sprint finish after a stunning breakaway from a five-man pack

Result: David Millar of Great Britain held off French cyclist Jean-Christophe Péraud thanks to an amazing late burst to win Stage 12. The peloton, containing yellow jersey holder Bradley Wiggins, finished more than 10 minutes behind but the Team Sky man comfortably retains the race lead.

How it happened: Millar was part of a 12-man breakaway that launched an early attack on the mountainous 226km route from St-Jeane-de-Maurienne to Annonay Davézieux. Two of the leading pack were dropped soon after the day’s first climb, at Col du Grand Cucheron, and the searing pace eventually saw the numbers whittled down to five.

With three kilometres to go, Millar found it within himself to strike out on his own but he was soon reeled in by Péraud. The duo stayed clear of their pursuers and set themselves up for a straight up duel for the stage win. It seemed scarcely credible that the two men would have any energy to stage a sprint finish but that is exactly what happened. The Scotsman managed to deliver a final burst to clinch the race by half a wheel’s length. He vaulted from his bike soon after and lay on the ground, utterly exhausted but victorious.

The big winner: Team Sky and Wiggins. Despite the large winning margin, none of Wiggins’ serious competitors were in the breakaway group. The Team Sky riders controlled the pace of the peloton and did most of the hard work for their race leader. British Olympic supporters will also be delighted to learn that Millar is now the fourth member of the five-man Team GB cycling team to win a stage at this year’s Tour de France.

What about the Irish? Nicolas Roche was struggling at the mid-point of the race as he clung on to the back of the peloton. His performance improved over the closing two hours and he finished with the main pack to remain 13th overall. Daniel Martin dropped back two spots and lies at 52th in the General Classifications. Martin will be delighted that Millar, his teammate at Garmin Sharp, was able to deliver a stage win.

Who is wearing what jersey?

  • Yellow (Overall): Bradley Wiggins
  • Green (Points): Peter Sagan
  • Polka-Dot (Mountains): Fredrik Kessiakoff
  • White (Young Rider): Tejay Van Garderen

So what happens tomorrow then? An undulating 217km ride from Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux to Le Cap d’Agde. There is a gruelling climb at Mont-Saint-Clair, 28km from the finish line. If the sprinters can keep up with the ain pack there may be an exciting finale in store.

Sprint Finish: Rolland wins 11th stage, Wiggins drops Evans

The Magnificent Seven: Unlucky moments in sport

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