Millar adds to British Tour success

  • Last Updated: July 13 2012, 20:34 BST

An emotional David Millar became the fourth Briton to savour victory on the 2012 Tour de France with a win on stage 12.

David Millar claims victory on stage 12

  • Team Sky controlled things on the front of the peloton for overall leader Bradley Wiggins
  • The British rider looked relaxed in the yellow jersey as the race headed over two early climbs
  • Several riders tried to break away early in the stage
  • As ever, there was plenty of beautiful scenery on display in the south of France
  • When the dust settled after a fast start, a group of five riders were allowed to stay up the road
  • David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) managed to get himself into the breakaway
  • The fans were out in force to see the peloton race by
  • Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) heads back to the team car
  • The peloton left the Alps behind but will soon be back in the mountains
  • Chris Froome stays tucked in behind Team Sky team-mate Wiggins
  • Froome finished in the main group in Annonay/Davezieux to stay second overall
  • Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) kept a hold on third place
  • The peloton heads through rural France on the longest stage of the race
  • Wiggins stays out of trouble on a descent
  • The crowds were out in force to cheer on the breakaway
  • The fight for the stage victory came down to Millar and Jean Christophe Peraud (Ag2r La Mondiale)...
  • ...And it was the British rider who came out on top
  • Millar was worn out from his exertions after the stage
  • Matthew Goss won the sprint from the peloton but was relegated for impeding Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale)
  • Wiggins ensured he will wear yellow for a sixth straight day
  • Robert Kiserlovski (Astana) was in the break again and took away the combativity award
We take a look back on the best shots from the longest stage of this year's Tour de France.

Twelve years after winning the prologue on his Tour debut and six after completing a two-year doping ban, the 35-year-old was triumphant on the 226-kilometre route from Saint-Jean de Maurienne to Annonay-Davezieux after a day-long escape.

On the 45th anniversary of the death of Tom Simpson, Britain's first leader of the Tour, 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 three other breakaway companions in the final 3km.

Millar, 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 confessing to the use of blood-booster EPO.

His 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.

"This is as good a win as I've had in my career," said Millar.

"It's particularly poignant that it came today on the 45th anniversary of Tommy Simpson's death.

"I think it's a full circle in a way. I'm an ex-doper and I'm very proud of where our sport is today and what we've done to change it.

"The reason I was given a second chance is because I have a duty to not forget where I come from, to remind people of where our sport's been.

"I think we mustn't forget the past and I'm one of the people who have made mistakes and I want people to know that I am clean now and the sport is a different sport. We should be very proud of it."

Millar is set to compete in his first Olympics in 12 years after the British Olympic Association's bylaw banning those with prior doping suspensions was scrapped.

Team Sky trio Mark Cavendish, Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins, who retained the race leader's yellow jersey, had already won stages and Millar joined them.

Now all four of Britain's Olympic road race team riding in the Tour have won a stage. Ian Stannard will complete the five-man line-up on July 28 but was not selected by Team Sky.

Further British success could follow on Saturday, with Cavendish eyeing the 217km 13th stage from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux to Cap d'Agde, on the shores of the Mediterranean.

Millar added on Eurosport: "Our Olympic team is basically a winning Tour de France team and we're going to be a force to be reckoned with.

"I never thought that would happen. I never thought Team Sky would ever get to that level. It's an amazing achievement and I doff my cap to them."

The route of the longest day of the race was always likely to favour an escape as the peloton headed south and the general classification contenders recovered from their Alpine excursion.

Millar was fourth over the day's second category one climb, the Col du Granier, and attacked on the descent as a group of five leaders formed.

He was joined by Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Robert Kiserlovski (Astana) and Peraud.

The quintet were more than 11 minutes ahead with 86km of the stage remaining as Cavendish, among the riders dropped earlier when ascending the major peaks, returned to the peloton.

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. He was later fined 230 Swiss Francs.

Millar was the only previous stage winner in the break and used his experience in the long uphill drag to the finish.

Peraud surged forward with 3km to go and Millar followed.

The chasing trio appeared reluctant to work together and Millar 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.

Martinez won the sprint for third place, five seconds behind.

Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) was given a 30-point penalty and demoted from sixth place for impeding Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) at the finish as the peloton finished almost eight minutes adrift, with Wiggins safely in the pack.

But the day belonged to Millar, who began the Tour on domestique duty for Garmin-Sharp, but saw his squad decimated by injury and had to revise his role.

"I tend to operate best in adversity, probably from experience of making such a mess of my life," he said.