SAN DIEGO, July 13, 2012 – Friday’s Stage 12 of the 2012 Tour de France was the longest stage at 140 miles, with two short climbs up front and then a long ride to the finish. After two grueling mountain stages, it seemed the leaders decided to call a truce and make it a rest day.
This gave a breakaway group the perfect opportunity to get away and stay away, and they did. At the finish it was youth versus experience as veteran British rider David Millar finally gave the beat up Garmin-Sharp team something to cheer about, winning with smart tactics and a wicked kick over French rider Jean-Christophe Peraud of AG2R.
With Millar, GC leaders Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome and sprinter Mark Cavendish all of Team Sky, the British Olympic cycling team will be a force to be reckoned with.
Several minutes later as the peloton group arrived at the finish with the top overall leaders in the Tour, there were still some sprinting points available for those in contention for the green jersey. The two leaders, Matthew Goss of Australia’s Orica GreenEdge and the flashy Slovakian Peter Sagan went head to head. Goss beat Sagan at the line, but Sagan shook a fist in protest that Goss had committed an infraction by weaving in front of him. Sprinters are not allowed to waver too far out of their line as they sprint for the finish.
Sagan’s protest was well founded, as the race referees disqualified Goss. He gets sent to the back of his finishing group. While he doesn’t lose any time on the stage, it means he gets no points at all, far worse than if Sagan had beaten him. Lesson learned? We will see, because it’s highly likely Sagan and Goss will go for a rematch on tomorrow’ flat stage 13.
Today’s top finishers were:
1. David Millar (Great Britain) Garmin-Sharp 5:42:46
2. Jean-Christophe Peraud (France) AG2R La Mondiale
3. Egoi Martinez (Spain) Euskaltel - Euskadi
4. Cyril Gautier (France) Europcar
5. Robert Kiserlovski (Croatia) Astana
6. Matthew Goss (Australia) Orica GreenEdge
7. Peter Sagan (Slovakia) Liquigas-Cannondale
8. Sébastien Hinault (France) AG2R La Mondiale
9. Cadel Evans (Australia) BMC
10. Luca Paolini (Italy) Katusha
No change in the overall leaders list after Stage 12:
1. Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) Team Sky
2. Chris Froome (Great Britain) Team Sky (2:05)
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) Liquigas-Cannondale (2:23)
4. Cadel Evans (Australia) BMC (3:19)
5. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Belgium) Lotto-Belisol (4:48)
6. Haimar Zubeldia (Spain) RadioShack-Nissan-Trek (6:15)
7. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC (6:57)
8. Janez Brajcovic (Slovakia) Astana (7:30)
9. Pierre Rolland (France) Europcar (8:31)
10. Thibaut Pinot (France) FDJ-Big Mat (8:51)
In the jersey competitions, Peter Sagan extends his lead and keeps the green sprinter’s jersey. Robert Kiserlovski received the most aggressive rider jersey for his stage win today. Tejay van Garderen remains in the young rider’s white jersey; Fredrik Kessiakoff keeps the King of the Mountains polka dot jersey.
Among the Americans behind van Garderen, Chris Horner sits 15th, Levi Leipheimer is 30th, and the record setting George Hincapie is 40th.
Sadly, French veteran David Moncoutie crashed and was taken to a hospital for treatment, ending his final ever Tour de France. Several riders have now abandoned the Tour, thinking ahead toward the Olympics including early Tour leader Fabian Cancellara. More than halfway through this year’s race, there are now 164 riders of the starting field of 198 left in the Tour.
Saturday is Bastille Day in France, and it is a significant and meaningful honor for a French rider to win the stage. This year’s Bastille Day stage is mostly flat, taking the riders toward the Mediterranean Sea from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux to Le Cap d’Agde, a total of 134 miles. Perhaps a motivated and patriotic French athlete will get a little extra energy and cross the finish line in first to the delight of the home crowd, although I expect we will see a rematch of Sagan vs. Goss.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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