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Millar extends British domination by claiming Tour stage win in Annonay

David Millar shows his delight after winning the 12th stage of the 2012 Tour de France.

Story highlights

  • British rider David Millar wins 12th stage of the Tour de France
  • Joins Mark Cavendish, Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins as British winners in 2012 Tour
  • Wiggins keeps yellow jersey for the fifth day
  • Froome in second place just over two minutes behind

British domination of this year's Tour de France continued Friday as David Millar won the longest stage of the race in Annonay.

The Garmin-Sharp rider took a sprint against Frenchman Jean-Christophe Peraud at the end of 226km from Saint-Jean-De-Maurienne.

The pair had been in a five-strong breakaway group which finished nearly eight minutes clear of the main bunch.

Britain's Bradley Wiggins kept the race leader's yellow jersey with his Team Sky colleague Chris Froome in second place, two minutes and five seconds adrift.

Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) remained third behind the two Britons with defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC) in fourth place, but three minutes 19 seconds behind Wiggins.

Wiggins strengthened his position on the grueling 11th stage and was content to let Millar, Peraud, Egoi Martinez, Cyril Gautier and Robert Kiserlovsk go clear after the second climb of the day and with 120km still to go.

    The 35-year-old Millar showed his experience as the five riders battled for stage honors and outpaced Peraud for his fourth career win on the Tour de France.

    He theatrically collapsed on the ground to savor his victory, which comes exactly 45 years after the death of former British cycling legend Tom Simpson on the 1967 Tour.

    Wiggins is trying to do what Simpson tragically failed to achieve and be in yellow until the finish in Paris on Sunday week.

    After appearing to come under pressure when Froome attacked on the final climb Thursday, Wiggins looked strong on the two category one climbs early in the lengthy 12th stage and even mounted a brief attack to try to unsettle his rivals.

    But at the finish all the focus was on Millar, who served a two-year doping ban, but has become a leading campaigner against drugs in cycling since his return with Garmin.

    The team has endured a miserable race to date and lost its star rider Ryder Hesjedal to injury in the first week, but Millar's victory is some consolation.

    "It's massive. It's been a horrific Tour for us so far," Millar told Eurosport.

    "I really wanted to do something... prove that we're still here and show that Garmin-Sharp are one of the best cycling teams in the world."

    Saturday's 13th stage stretches 217 km from Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux to Cap d'Agde in the South of France and could offer a chance for sprint specialists to claim a victory.