Dave Millar takes a superb stage. Stage 12 was as close to a guaranteed breakaway stage as there is with it’s steeply lumpy early: flat late profile.
The sprinters lose too much time to be able to catch up and contest a bunch finish, but it is far too flat to result in any time gaps between the big hitters.
As always on days like this, the race to make the break of the day is fast and furious. There are only four teams with realistic hopes of a podium finish, and there have been three different sprint teams to have won this year (and those three teams also have podium contenders – Sky, Lotto & Liquigas).
Clearly there are other teams contesting sprint stages (such as Orica Greenedge), but after that, there are well over ten teams who have no real prospect of contesting for line honours if the day is exceedingly lumpy, or dead flat.
The make-up of the break and the amount of leeway they are given is determined more by the peloton than by the breakaway riders themselves: if for any reason a rider is deemed too dangerous to the hopes of one team or another, they will not be allowed to get away from the main group.
Peter Sagan’s attempt to get into the break being shut down by five blokes from Orica Greenedge sitting on the front of the peloton is an example of this.
That Dave Millar was one of the five, and that he eventually held his nerve and outsprinted his rivals for the win isn’t a massive surprise considering how good a bike rider, and racer that he is, but it was great to see a good man take a good win.