Le Tour de France 2012 – Stage 12, and what a day; when we heard Millar was in the break, we knew he was definitely capable of beating three of his companions – Gautier was the only one we didn’t know about.
But when we saw him, we knew he’d win – it was there in his eyes, if you knew what you were looking at.
During the stage, l’Équipe reminded us that it’s 45 years to the day since Tom Simpson died on the Ventoux.
It would be magnificent if Millar won, today.
There’s no other word for what he achieved, today.
I was surprised that none of the French radio commentators mentioned the Simpson connection.
I’ve no doubt they will tomorrow in l’Équipe.
People give David Millar a hard time for being an ‘art school boy;’ or only being such an outspoken advocate for clean sport because he was caught – and of course there’s the ‘he’s not Scottish, is he?’ chestnut.
He may be well spoken, well dressed and come over as a little ‘arty, farty’ but he’s actually a cool guy who is anything but full of his own importance and always has time for folks like me.
I get tired of the ‘reformed drugs cheat’ label; surely it’s ancient history? – if he’d been convicted in a criminal court the conviction would be ‘spent’ by now and the press couldn’t mention it.
A few years ago at the Tour, when Millar was with Saunier Duval, Martin and I were taking pictures of his bike.
A fan was leaning over the barriers and exclaimed, ‘go USA!’ or some such, to Millar.
His reply was succint; ‘I’m f**king Scottish!’
But back to this morning – the Grenoble rain has turned to sunshine as we near the depart, Cockney Rebel’s ‘Make Me Smile’ is an ideal sound track for this Route National through the limestone gorges – it’s just a pity we’re late, again.
The exit of the autoroute was closed, giving us a 15 mile detour – but that’s the Tour; a few years ago I’d be stressed at this point, but not nowadays.
* * *
Later, that same day…
It’s as much about the ambiance of the tour as the racing. Whilst they like race pics, they’ll get more excited about a good atmosphere shot than they will about a cracking shot of Tommy V or Cav.
But here we are, waiting on the break to get some race shots and hoping for David Millar in splendid isolation.
We drove the race route to get to this point.
There’s no signal up her for the twitter so we’re not sure what the situation is; the last we heard there were five clear by around 12 minutes – including David Millar…
…as I said, we’d hoped for David ‘en seule,’ but instead, he was driving the break and looking as determined as I’ve ever seen him.
The gap back to the peloton was huge, 11 minutes, maybe more.
The Sky boys were at the head of affairs – Knees, Eisel and Boasson Hagen; their work rate has been phenomenal.
We’ll know next week, in the Pyrenees if they’ve done too much.
Back home, folks are telling us that it wasn’t the best stage to watch on TV