Robert Hunter’s Stage 12 Diary Post….”Its Millar time”
Today’s Stage 12 from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Annoney Davezieux. The riders head out of the Alps down to the Rhone valley, which means two Cat. 1 climbs in the first 80 km of the parcours, and then a flat, downhill section until the finale, where another Cat. 3 hill will spice up the finish.
An incredible hard start to the day and a lethargic final.
With two big climbs at the start of the stage it was always going to be hard no matter what but being so far from the finish it was perfect for a break away to succeed. It didn’t take long till 19 riders were away and over the first big climb of the day. The only problem was that even more riders tried to get across so the race was flat-out and the break most of the time hovered around the 1m 30′s mark.It wasn’t till the down hill of the second climb that David Millar put the pressure on and made sure there were only 5 riders left to try get to the finish.
At this point Sky, who had pretty much been begging people to stop attacking, were real relieved when the elastic finally snapped and the break started going out to more than 5 minutes. It took more than 80 km’s of racing flat-out to make sure the break was gone for good.
Once this was done the Peleton slowed right up and everybody that had been dropped before managed to get back to the main group. I’m pretty sure that the guys who got dropped on the first big climb, mostly sprinters,couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw the group in front of them and realized it was not going to be a repeat of yesterday and chase all the way to the finish
For the sprinters and tired riders, it’s like seeing an Oasis in the desert. You want it to be true but don’t believe it till you in it.
After that the day became real slow and it was just a process of getting to the finish for most.
The 5 riders in front obviously felt slightly different but it was not till the last 5 odd kilometres that they raced each other.
Millar was the one who took full advantage with the rise to the line and surged ahead. Everybody was thinking Peraud was faster but Millar showed how bad he wanted to win and was not going to give up without a fight. In a two-man sprint there is normally a bit of tactics but when you got 3 riders breathing down your back it makes the choices few and far between.
Millar took the lead and when Peraud tried to surge in the final 200 meters Millar just hit hard and kept on going. He never even tried to get behind him he was prepared to drag him all the way to the line if need be. The French man cracked and Millar hit the line a happy man. It was a huge success for Millar and just as big for the whole Garmin Sharp Barracuda Team.
With new sponsors coming on board you always want to get great results. And even more so with the Giro D’talia behind us. Obviously it wast not going to be the same results as the Giro as half the team made friends with the French asphalt more than once. Picking off a stage when the team only a few days ago was down and out- is brilliant and now the pressure is off.
There was a bit of controversy in the final with Goss and Sagan sprinting for the line. Goss being lead out by his team hit out for the line but saw (or didn’t see Sagan coming past) and moved over a bit more than he should have in the final 100 meters causing a very debatable hindrance to Sagan.
The Judges docked him 30 points and relegated him to a position back. Its a big knock for Goss as right now his chances went from good for Green Jersey to very slim.A small mistake like that has now cost him huge. (Whether it was intentional or not.) It would have been better to lose a point to Sagan today but fight tomorrow. Now instead the fight has pretty much been taken away from him.
Tomorrow is a flat day and I expect the sprinters teams to make sure it comes down to a bunch Gallop.
A Break will go but I’m convinced a few team will work together to keep it in hand. (Only a few chances left for the sprinters so they won’t let this go.)
Time saves loves, Helivac saves b0th!
P.S Just a reminder i will be giving away 2 signed Garmin Sharp Barracuda shirts (the SA colours version) so make sure you follow @helivacems on Twitter.