David Millar had plenty of time to plan his strategy for winning stage 12 of the Tour de France. About five hours and 200 kilometers.
That’s how long he was in the breakaway with Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R La Mondiale), Robert Kiserlovski (Astana), Cyril Gautier (Europcar) and Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel). They built up a lead that stretched to more than 12 minutes. Team Sky said have a nice day, see you boys at the finish.
In reality, there was little to plan. Millar knew he was the fastest sprinter of the five. All he had to do was stay attentive and put his experience to work. When Peraud make an attack with 2k to go, Millar pulled him back. It was a two man sprint and Millar stayed tight on the left barrier. The former mountain biker Peraud gave it his best sprint but Millar easily beat the Frenchman.
Garmin-Sharp-Pain now feeling a little better, thank-you. It doesn’t make up for losing Ryder Hesjedal and Tom Danielson in the Petacchi shoe-cover induced mass crash, but a win in Le Grand Shindig does help ease the pain. It was Miller’s fourth victory in the Tour and perhaps the sweetest.
“The day worked out perfectly. It’s my proudest win since my Tour victory at Béziers in 2002 as winning a road stage is always more emotional than winning a time trial or a prologue. It’s taken our team going through turmoil to bring out the best of me,” said Millar.
Millar was confident out of the outcome and said as much after the stage. “I was so determined to win. It didn’t even go through my mind I would lose.”
The other four riders missed a golden opportunity to win a stage in the Tour de France on a day when the peloton rode on cruise control. The experienced Martinez couldn’t or wouldn’t cover the attack by Peraud that made it a two man game. Europcar’s young Gautier hoped he could deliver a third stage win in a row for the green team but played it too conservative. Kiserlovski just looked too burnt from sucking up all the mountain points on offer. No gas left in the tank.
So Millar takes a fantastic win and Jonathan Vaughters had something good to tweet. It’s been a terrible and unfortunate Tour for Garmin-Sharp but on Friday the 13th, Millar turned their luck around.