Tour de France stage 12 as it happened

Britain's David Millar wins stage 12 - the longest in this year's race - while Bradley Wiggins keeps the overall lead.

14 July 2012 Last updated at 10:14

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As it happened

  1. 1630: 

    Think it's time I went off for a lie down. Thanks for tweets, texts and company today. You really have helped me through it. After Millar's marvellous moment today, will we be clapping Cavendish over the line tomorrow? I'll be back for tomorrow's start at 10:55 BST. Make sure you join me.

  2. 1628: 

    We are back on the flat on Saturday for a 217km ride from Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux to Le Cap d'Agde. It promises to be a sprinter's paradise but we've got added spice because it's 14 July, Bastille Day, and that means a Frenchman will make a crazy bid for the stage win.

  3. 1627:  
    Green Jersey

    Points classification after stage 12:

    1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas 254 pts

    2. Matt Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge 198

    3. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol 181

    4. Mark Cavendish (GB) Team Sky 129

    5. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing 100

  4. 1626: 

    Matt Goss has been disqualified after his sprinting shenanigans with Sagan. It didn't look massively bad but the Australian has had his points stripped. "It wasn't that bad a move," says Goss. "But that's the rule and I've got to abide by it."

  5. 1621:  
    Yellow Jersey

    A slight concern for race leader Wiggins though, who was hit with a flare on the final climb of the day: "I'm covered in yellow stuff and got a bit of a burn on my arm. It was some nutter running up the hill and it shows you freak things like that can happen in the Tour. I'm fine though."

  6. 1620:  
    Yellow Jersey

    Here's Wiggo's take on the day's racing: "Dave was beginning to feel a bit left out so it's incredible for him to get up the road and win on such an anniversary. Dave's been on the comeback most of season [after breaking his collarbone] so to top it off with a stage win on Tom [Simpson's] anniversary is incredible."

  7. 1615:  
    Yellow Jersey

    Overall standings after stage 12:

    1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky 54hrs 34mins 33secs

    2. Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky @2'05"

    3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas @2'23"

    4. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing @3'19"

    5. Jurgen van den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol @4'48"

  8. 1612: 

    Stage 12 result:

    1. David Millar (GB) Garmin 5hrs 42 mins 46 secs

    2. Jean Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R

    3. Egoi Martinez (Spa) Euskaltel @ 6"

    4. Cyril Gautier (Fra) Europcar

    5. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Astana

  9. 1610: 

    Millar standing pretty on top of the podium, collecting his flowers and a quick peck on the cheek from the ladies. The last rider is in, just in time to see Wiggins get a fresh yellow jersey. He waves his little lion, goes to shake a few hands and sign a few shirts and it's time I brought you the standings...

  10. 1605: 

    Ben from Bristol, via text on 81111: "After Millar's great win today can I be the first to lobby for a change in name of this year's race to Le Tour de France detenue par la Grande-Bretagne."

    Jamie from Roslin, via text on 81111: "Yes David. You're up next Mr Cummings. No 5?"

  11. 1604: 

    Today is all about David Millar though. Here's his thoughts: "It's particlarly poignant as an ex-doper [to win on the anniversary of Tom Simpson's death]. I'm proud to have done it today because we mustn't forget Tommy's memory and what we've been through as a sport. But we're British, we're clean riders and we're dominating the Tour de France."

  12. 1601:  
    Green Jersey

    There's almost a big smash up front as Goss throws his bike around in the closing sprint. The Australian nearly takes out Sagan in his efforts and the Slovakian is not happy with that, gesticulating furiously as he crosses the line second.

  13. 1557: 

    Peter Sagan looks like he fancies a few points in the green jersey race here. Wiggins following Mick Rogers up that little climb and they are under the flame rouge.

  14. 1555:  
    Yellow Jersey

    The peloton is still a few minutes from the finish - nobody is attacking the yellow jersey in the run-in, so Wiggins will maintain his lead over team-mate Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali and Cadel Evans.

  15. 1553: 

    "It's frightening to consider what might come," suggests Graham Jones on BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra, talking about the continued domination by British cyclists.

  16. 1552: 

    Millar immediately hits the deck, cameras swarm around him. He's okay though. Breathing incredibly hard, but he's good and soon back on his feet. That's a fourth British stage winner on the 2012 Tour. Staggering. Truly staggering.

  17. 1551: 

    Oh. My. Word. What a finish that was. Peraud came out of Millar's wheel but the British rider stomped on his pedals and held off the Frenchman with a terrific burst of speed.

  18. 1550: 


  19. 1550: 

    Gautier, Martinez and Kiserlovski have not given this up but surely they are too far back now. Here comes Millar and Peraud. The Garmin rider from Britain out front. They are weaving across the road and Peraud makes his move in the final couple of hundred metres.

  20. 1548: 

    Peraud moves back into the lead with 1.5km to go. The pair are sharing the work but they need to keep the pace up. They whizz under the flame rouge - 1km to go.

  21. 1547: 

    The gap is up to 50 yards or so and Millar takes up the pace, Peraud follows him over the crown of the hill and Kiserlovski, Gautier and Martinez are labouring. One from two for the win. Go. On. Millar.

  22. 1546: 

    Up a bit of a hill here. Millar at the front, weaving across the road and Kiserlovski decides to have another go. Millar straight in his wheel. Peraud is the next to go but Millar is controlling this nicely. The duo are moving away from the other three.

  23. 1544: 

    Millar has a little wobble as they go past the 5km to go banner. Martinez has a wee dig off the front, but soon sits up and he goes again. Bit of cat and mouse going on here and here goes Astana's Kiserlovski but Millar is straight after him and that's going nowhere. 3km to go.

  24. 1542: 
    Graham Jones, Radio 5 live sports extra co-commentator

    Talking abuot Mark Cavendish: "He's been very much the bottle man today. I just hope he gets a little bit of help tomorrow for the sprint finish. Team Sky won't want to instigate the chase tomorrow though, they want to save energy for the Pyrenees."

  25. 1540: 

    Sally from Northampton, via text on 81111: "re: Carrick from Leeds - I defy anybody not have said "Aaaw" to that!! Go on Wiggo, Froomey and Team Sky - thank you for making the Tour great for Britain this year."

  26. 1539: 

    Still we wait for the attack. The rotation of Martinez, Millar, Gautier, Peraud and Kiserlovski working like a well-oiled machine. Each rider taking no more than a couple of seconds on the front before the next rider takes over. The peloton is upping its pace a bit as the lead drops to 10'30". Just 7.5km to go.

  27. 1533: 

    The peloton is 20km from the finish and they are yet to reach the summit of the Cote d'Ardoix. The lead is a touch over 11 minutes - that's largely irrelevant though. I've been trying to hold off saying this, but I can do it no longer. Is it Millar time? Sorry.

  28. 1530: 

    Not far to go now. Thanks for sticking with it. I feel like I'm about to hit the wall. The leaders have got just 15km remaining after five hours and 20 minutes in the saddle. Here's Boasson Hagen on the front of the peloton. Nobody looking like they want to have a go. Hoping someone might.

  29. 1527: 

    Carrick from Leeds, via text on 81111: "Watching the Tour last night with a friend and his young son, who is affectionately referring to the top 4 as "Wiggles, Cuddles, Nibbles and Vroom" - the TdF goes cute."

  30. 1526:  
    Polkadot Jersey

    And again the points are uncontested - Kiserlovski is allowed to go over the top first and collect the two points on offer, with Peraud picking up one. Kiserlovski is fourth in the overall standings after his efforts today. He's up to 37 points. His Astana team-mate Fredrik Kessiakoff leads the way on 68, with Pierre Rolland third on 55 and Michele Scarponi on 39.

  31. 1523: 

    Kiserlovski ducks under one of the many Union flags littering the climb as he takes up the pace. No attack from the Croatian though. He's out of the saddle and dancing again. Millar sitting fourth, maintaining his rhythm.

  32. 1521: 

    The peloton is going through Sarras, the town at the bottom of the hill. Lotto on the right of the peloton, BMC on the left, Sky up the middle as the leaders move inside the last kilo.

  33. 1520: 

    Nobody fancying it at the moment in the front five as they approach 2km from the summit of the Cote d'Ardoix. Millar and Kiserovski on the front but here comes Martinez to take his turn - all five riders still working well together. 20km remaining.

  34. 1517: 

    Rob in Hvar, via text on 81111: "Laying in 40 degree heat, on an island off Croatia but due to your outstanding tdf coverage I can't put the phone away. Hopefully the next beer will be a toast to Millar!" Thanks - I needed that little lift to get me through to the finish - hoping for a Millar win too.

    Patrick from Bradford, via text on 81111: "I think Cav owes Wiggins for the World Championship last year. Wiggins' stint on the front of the pelOton that day was truly epic. He helped keep attacks at a minimum and the peloton bunched together so Cav could win the sprint. I do think Cavendish is keeping his powder dry for London though, wouldn't suprise me to see him drop out just before they hit the Pyrenees."

  35. 1515: 

    More domestique work for Cavendish who is back at the team car loading up with more bottles of juice for Wiggins. Mick Rogers helping out. He hands out a couple of energy bars, takes one back, all in a day's work for the world road race champion who has won 21 Tour de France stages lest we forget.

  36. 1513: 

    Not great timing this, but my system appears to be going slower than the peloton - hopefully a crash is not imminent, particularly at this delicate stage of the race. Nobody attacking in the front bunch yet.

  37. 1511: 

    Just 25km remaining for the leaders and they are on the bottom of the final climb of the day. Will Kiserlovski or Martinez try to break Millar? Back down the road and the peloton zips across a beautiful bridge over the River Rhone and into the Ardeche region.

  38. 1508: 

    Team Sky continue to pace the peloton. The BMC team of Cadel Evans are keeping the Australian safe while Vincenzo Nibali is tucked away with his Liquigas team-mates. Will anyone go on the attack on the final climb to try to gain a few seconds on Wiggo?

  39. 1502: 

    Didi the Devil has indeed been ill, but he's on the mend: "I just got back from having my head x-rayed, the third time in three weeks, I feel like a Chernobyl reactor," he told Cyclingnews.

  40. 1459: 

    Garmin team manger Jonathan Vaughters on Twitter: "In this group normally speaking Kiserlovski would be the strongest up the hill today. But he may be a bit tired from yesterday."

  41. 1458: 

    The roads are narrowing as we close in on the final climb. Millar looking in decent nick. Just 32km remaining, who you backing

  42. 1454: 

    Not a lot happening on the road. Millar's mob know they are home and hosed. It's just a question of who wants this more. Don't forget there is one more hill to get over today - the Cote d'Ardoix. It's a tiddler at just 5.9km long with an average gradient of 3.4% and there's still 20km to race one the hill is conquered.

  43. 1450: 

    We are getting close to live commentary with Simon Brotherton and Graham Jones on BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra. The duo are live from 15:00 BST. Will they be calling a Millar win?

  44. 1447: 

    Tom from Peterborough, via text on 81111: "Cav is playing his part as the consummate team member. I bet he's done a deal with Wiggo. 'I'll help you win the Tour and you help me win gold at the Olympics!'"

    Niall from Chester, via text on 81111: "What's happened to the devil on this years tour?" If you're referring to Didi, I'm sure I read he has been ill and advised by his doctor to give it a miss this year.

  45. 1444: 

    I doubt you could ever call a race that features a couple of category one climbs as easy, but this has been about as comfortable a day for Team Sky as they could have imagined. A bit of hard work early doors but this has been a procession for the last 100km or so.

  46. 1442: 

    Andrea Cook on Twitter: "Today of all days it would be highly appropriate for @millarmind to take the stage and @bradwiggins to stay in yellow ‪#RIPMrTom."

    Michael Davison on Twitter: "If Millar wins this stage that will be 4 out of the 5 man Olympic Road team winning stages.Not bad form going into a big race! Then theres Stannard who just happens to be National Champ! Could we have a cycling dream team?" #bbccycling

  47. 1438: 

    Bernie Eisel tapping out the pace for the peloton and the lead is staying way over 12 minutes. Millar, Kiserlovski, Peraud, Gautier and Martinez chasing the win. Millar is the only one to taste a stage win on Le Tour - he has four overall.

  48. 1434: 

    Henry from Cambridge, via text on 81111: "I wonder if Cav reckons the green jersey is out of reach and is just saving himself for stage wins? After all he always seemed to prefer winning stages over collecting points along the way."

    Nigel from London, via text on 81111: "Can't see why Cav would bother with breaking a sweat for 5th place in an intermediate sprint. He's not a serious contender for green and what has he got to prove when it comes to sprinting. Now the Champs-Elysees.

    Jed from London, via text on 81111: "Cav has always been indifferent about intermediate sprints - It was only last year when he really wanted the Green Jersey that he contested most of them."

  49. 1432: 

    Steve from Manchester, via text on 81111: "Where's Mrs. S today anyway? She got a tweet printed yesterday, in a bid to gain you some more 'brownie points', surely it was worth a packed lunch in return?" Don't worry, I'll be having words.

  50. 1431: 

    Increasingly looking likely that this breakaway is going to succeed. 52km remaining and the quintet is more than 12 minutes up the road. The general rule on flat roads that it takes 10km to reel in a one-minute advantage. My maths ain't great, but even I can work that out. So, who is going to win? Text 81111 or tweet #bbccycling

  51. 1425: 

    Ian Letton on Twitter: "Cav doesn't look so good. I'm starting to have doubts about whether or not he will finish. Team Sky to go all the way!"

    Chris Hodges on Twitter: "Cav ducking out of the intermediate sprint. 'Hills' must be really hard for him. Saving himself for Paris with Wiggo in yellow!" #bbccycling

  52. 1422: 

    After that bit of minor excitement, it's back to business as usual on the front of the peloton with Team Sky leading the way, keeping the lead at 11'35". Here's Cavendish up at the front in full-on domestique role. He has half a dozen bottles stuffed inside his jersey and he is doling them out among his team-mates.

  53. 1419:  
    Green Jersey

    So Goss snips away at Sagan's lead a little further - a full round up of the points at the end of the stage. But what of Cav - he was nowhere to be seen in the end as Sky held their shape and rhythm. Have the climbs taken their toll? Is he saving it for later in the stage?

  54. 1416:  
    Green Jersey

    Full result of intermediate sprint:

    1. Millar (GRS) 20pts

    2. Gautier (EUC) 17pts

    3. Kiserlovski (AST) 15pts

    4. Peraud (ALM) 13pts

    5. Martinez (EUS) 11pts

    6. Goss (OGE) 10pts - at 11'00"

    7. Greipel (LTB) 9pts

    8. van Hummel (VCD) 8pts

    9. Sagan (LIQ) 7pts

    10. Oss (LIQ) 6pts

    11. Impey (OGE) 5pts

    12. Cooke (OGE) 4pts

    13. Marcato (VCD) 3pts

    14. Eisel (SKY) 2pts

    15. Knees (SKY) 1pt

  55. 1415: 

    The riders have been in their respective saddles for just over four hours already today and there is still 65km or so of racing left to do. And I've just got food. Never has a prawn sandwich looked so good. Thanks Mr Standley.

  56. 1412:  
    Green Jersey

    It's Goss who powers through to take the 10 points. Second over is Andre Greipel - remember him? The Lotto rider is still bandaged up after crashing earlier on in the Tour. Sagan back in fourth behind Kenny van Hummel of Vacansoleil.

  57. 1410: 

    We are in the final kilo leading into this sprint. Sagan, Goss, Cavendish all up near the front - who fancies this then?

  58. 1408: 

    Infostrada Sports on Twitter: "David Millar can become 4th GBR stage winner this #TdF. Last country other than FRA to have 4 different winners was ESP in 2009."

  59. 1405: 

    The peloton splits for a second time, half going clockwise round a roundabout, half going anti-clockwise. Here comes Orica GreenEdge to the front. Pace edging up bit by bit. Lead still holding at over 11 minutes.

  60. 1403: 

    Cavendish looking thoroughly fed up, arms slumped over his handlebars, you wouldn't guess that his big moment is minutes away. He has Boasson Hagen for company, while the BMC train nudges its way to the front and Liquigas become more visible.

  61. 1400:  
    Green Jersey

    Not much urgency up front and this will be a non-contested sprint - the clockwork rotation of the riders is not disrupted as they roll over the line - Millar was at the front as they did, so he picks up the maximum points. The big prize is 72.5km up the road though.

  62. 1358: 

    All eight Team Sky riders left in the race bossing the peloton. Cavendish sitting patiently at the back of the train, waiting for his moment to shine - just the 10km to the intermediate sprint. The leaders around 11 minutes up the road, or about 8km if you like.

  63. 1354: 

    Sunflower alert. Thousands of the little yellow flowers all following the sun throughout the day. Clouds over the mountains behind the peloton, blue skies with wispy clouds up ahead. A lovely day. Bit depressing looking out the window at the rain-soaked piazza here at MediaCity.

  64. 1351: 

    Just 80km left on today's stage for the leaders - a quick reminder who we have out front. Britain's David Millar, riding for Garmin, is alongside Astana's Robert Kiserlovski, AG2R's Jean-Christophe Peraud, Egoi Martinez of Euskaltel and Europcar's Cyril Gautier. One Spaniard, one Croatian and two Frenchmen - I'll let you work it out, it's not too tricky.

  65. 1347: 
    Graham Jones, Radio 5 live sports extra co-commentator

    On Twitter: "A fourth different British Stage winner, surely not!!! I think it might be!!"

  66. 1346: 

    Andy from Stockport, via text on 81111: "I'm getting a bit worried now. Please tell us - have you managed to get anything to eat?" Typing on fumes if I'm honest. Hopefully one of my colleagues is reading...

  67. 1344:  
    Green Jersey

    Orica GreenEdge are keeping tabs of course. Matt Goss will fancy those points, as will Sagan. The leaders' advantage stabilises at 11'45", a clear sign that the peloton is starting to get a wriggle on.

  68. 1342:  
    Green Jersey

    Cav is back with the peloton and Team Sky are starting to race properly again, leading the peloton in the time-honoured fashion with seven on the front, Wiggo sitting about fourth wheel. They will be lining Cav up for the intermediate sprint which is coming up in 16km or so. With the front five taking the big points, the first over from the peloton will pick up 10 points.

  69. 1338: 

    Time then to doff our racing caps in the direction of Tom Simpson, Britain's first Tour de France yellow jersey wearer. Simpson passed away on this day in 1967, tragically dying on the slopes of Mont Ventoux during stage 13.

  70. 1334: 

    The leaders are more than 10 minutes clear of the peloton and Team Sky are content to let the lead continue to grow as they pedal through what can only be described as a fairly nondescript town.

  71. 1330: 

    Justin from Cardiff, via text on 81111: "re: Rich from Manchester (12:50) Stephen Roche famously won the Giro D'Italia in 1987 after disobeying team orders and attacking (defending champion) Roberto Visentini. I think Sky will stick with Wiggo unless Nibali cracks him in the Pyrenees, though."

  72. 1329: 

    It's a long way to Annonay Davezieux and the pace they are currently drifting along it makes me wonder if they'll get there before nightfall. In the meantime, can I direct you to a tremendous Bradley Wiggins column in the Guardian in which he talks more about doping, among other things. A few of you asking after Mark Cavendish - he is still more than four minutes behind the peloton - he's being looked after by Bernie Eisel, though. They also have Chavanel for company.

  73. 1321: 

    Rob from Newbury, via text on 81111: "Gosh some people are making me cross! Winning the TDF is not a simple thing, Wiggins is Sky's team leader, it's not about one day, or one climb, it's about team work and 3 weeks of racing. Wiggins is the team leader because he has proven to have the best chance - built up over 2 years. Probably his most important facet - handling the pressure of leading. Froome does look fantastic and is helping, as are other team members of Sky. Get behind Brad and if Froome comes second - wow! But the only thing that matters is a UK cyclist winning. I really hope he is going to make history! Rant over!"

  74. 1319: 

    The break is rapidly moving away from the peloton, approaching seven minutes now as Team Sky saunter along. I'd fancy my chances of keeping up with the pace at the moment. 100km remaining - that's 60 miles in our money. A quick heads up - Simon Brotherton and Graham Jones will be live from 15:00 BST on this website and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra. I'll provide the necessary links a little closer to broadcast time.

  75. 1317: 

    Russ Oliver on Twitter: "Unlikely perhaps, but Millar to make it stage wins from 4 different Brits in one Tour?"

    Eamon Brennan on Twitter: "Really rooting for @millarmind for the stage win today! The whole GB team deserves one!"

  76. 1311: 

    Pedestrian pace in the peloton. Team Sky are on the front but they are taking this along at a ridiculously slow rate. Eveyone free-wheeling and lots of chatting going on. Up ahead, the leading bunch continues to stamp on the pedals as their advantage rapidly approaches five minutes and goes beyond it while I type.

  77. 1307:  
    Green Jersey

    Orica sports director Matt White squashes any thoughts his team may try chase the escapees, telling the official Tour website that the finish is too tough for Goss. He added: "The main thing is that we've got to make sure that Peter Sagan doesn't get in the break. It's a dangerous day and one that's made for him - it suits his characteristics very well. And if he wins the intermediate sprint and the final, then it's green jersey challenge over."

  78. 1302: 

    Garmin team manager Jonathan Vaughters on Twitter: "After his broken collarbone earlier this year, David Millar has slowly worked his way back to form. Glad to see him out front today."

  79. 1301:  
    Green Jersey

    Aussie riders Mick Rogers of Team Sky and Stuart O'Grady of Orica GreenEdge having a little chat and I doubt they are discussing what was for lunch. The leading quintet are a touch over two minutes up the road but Team Sky don't need to chase because there is nobody in that group threatening the overall lead. Orica need to get green jersey points for Matt Goss. Do they chase it down?

  80. 1259:  
    Green Jersey

    Orica GreenEdge complete mission number one - they reel in Sagan's group as they reach the feeding station. Sagan sits up and rips open a food packet, others stuffing packages into their pockets while the empty musettes are launched into the crowd lining the roads. Bit of a skill that, working out how far down the road from the feed station you have to stand to be in with a chance of getting a souvenir bag.

  81. 1256: 

    The meter is re-stocked with 50p pieces and we appear to be over our technical hitches. The front five take on board their food, which reminds me, the early start today means I didn't have time to get any grub before I began this marathon live text. If anyone is near MediaCity and fancies getting me a baguette, it would be much appreciated.

  82. 1250: 

    Rich from Manchester, via text on 81111: "Don't think Sky should, but what is the history of switching captains mid race? Anyone done it to success? Non retirement switches of course."

    Scott via text on 81111: "Agree with Mark at 11:39. A British rider is winning the TDF and should have the full support of his country rather than people wondering what if Froome was allowed to go would he win. We will never know and to be honest who cares as Bradley Wiggins is creating history and re-writing British records. Come on BW."

  83. 1248:  
    Green Jersey

    Orica GreenEdge, the team of green jersey contender Matt Goss, have finally reacted to Sagan's dig and put a train on the front of the peloton. They do not want Sagan getting involved with the five that have gone up the road. Could be an interesting chase down to the intermediate sprint which comes up in about 50km.

  84. 1243: 

    Frustratingly, we are starting to experience publishing problems on the website. I'll keep going as long as I can but if you don't get updates for a while, that's the reason why.

  85. 1242: 

    Time to put more cats among the pigeons. Saxo Bank owner Bjarne Riis, a man who won the 1996 Tour de France, has said he thinks Team Sky could be on the verge of changing captains mid-race. "Froome is favourite," said Riis. Bit of kidology from the Dane?

  86. 1237: 

    The front of the race is splintering on the descent. Martinez, Kiserlovski, Peraud, Gautier and Millar are out on their own. Five others are a bit further up the mountain, but ahead of Sagan's group, which is just over one minute adrift. Wiggins and Team Sky a few more seconds back. 95km or so gone. Around 130km to go. But at least the mountains are out of the way for the day.

  87. 1233:  
    Yellow Jersey

    Wiggins is back with his Team Sky mates on the descent. And Sagan is having a chat with a race official, trying to guage how far back a group chasing him down is. And he's sitting up and waiting for them, chewing on an energy bar. Sensible decision.

  88. 1228:  
    Green Jersey

    Here comes Sagan. The Slovakian, who at 22 is the second youngest rider in the race, has already won three stages on his debut Tour. He's a terrific descender and he's chasing the leading group. He is also wearing the green jersey as the leading rider in the points classification remember. Can he catch them before they reach the valley floor?

  89. 1226: 

    I think that was an interesting little burst from Wiggo. A bit of a I'm the boss here and I'm feeling good. This Tour is mine. Or maybe just trying to negate a Nibali attack on the descent? Jurgen van den Broeck was the first rider to get after Wiggins.

  90. 1222: 

    And what's this? Wiggo has broken clear from the peloton. A show of strength and defiance from our race leader? Brad raced up on to the wheel of Christophe Kern and zipped over the top of the Col with his team-mates a few seconds behind him. Bit of a statement, or should we not read too much into that?

  91. 1220:  
    Polkadot Jersey

    Crowds in the middle of the road as the riders snake up between them, always tremendous scenes on the mountains. And here goes Kiserlovski and he didn't need to put too much pace into that to take the 20 points.

  92. 1219: 

    The leading group is inside the final kilometre. Astana's Kiserlovski is dancing on his pedals, teasing his fellow escapees - when will he make the push for the summit? Team Sky pounding away on the front, brutal pace set by EBH and lots of riders struggling with the pace - lead down to 45 seconds.

  93. 1216: 

    Edvald Boasson Hagen is on the front of the peloton, as Norwegian champion he's allowed to wear his national colours rather than Team Sky's usual shirt colour. At the back of the peloton, yesterday's winner Pierre Rolland is dropping away - his Europcar team-mate Tommy Voeckler trying to pace him back.

  94. 1213: 

    Jon Hinton, from High Wycombe, via text on 81111: "Got my yellow hot pants on today. Go Wiggo! He ls gorgeous."

    Jeremy from London, via text on 81111: "re magnus @ 1207: 69kg rider- he's a big lad to be a pro climber, not to mention that at 4kg he's on an illegal bike."

  95. 1209: 

    I really thought an escape may stick today but Team Sky, with Knees on the front have already reeled in the Voigt breakaway attempt and the leading group is just over one minute up the road. Could this play into the hands of the sprinters late on? A little cat three hump to get over - surely not another day for Superman Sagan?

  96. 1207: 

    Magnus, via text on 81111: "re don jestostico @ 1040: A 69kg rider plus 4kg bike riding a 7% gradient at 14mph at that altitude with a drag coefficient of 0.65 and frontal area 0.4sqm will require about 370 watts of power. Of that, 50 watts is aero drag, so drafting someone in that situation will still save maybe 25w, worthwhile if you're on the limit!" No, me neither.

    Tim from London, via text on 81111: "To John from London, if those guys went with the attack, Team Sky would chase the attack down, they are happy to let an attack get away if none of the riders in it are a threat."

    Dan, at his wife's hospital bedside, clearly with priorities in the right order, via text on 81111: "Let's just dream for a minute, no more dramas and the gc finishes in its current order. Is it feasible that next year, Wiggins will be supporting Froome?

  97. 1202: 

    Germany's Voigt, no doubt telling his legs to shut up, is with Brice Feillu, Kashesckin and Levarlet and the quartet quickly catch Kern and Roy and the newly-formed sextet are 1'45" behind the leaders with the peloton just 20 seconds back.

  98. 1200: 

    It's all starting to kick off on the Granier. None of the big names getting involved, but Jeremy Roy and Christophe Kern are on the counter-attack. Martinez is up with the leaders to make it a dozen. And here comes Jens Voigt.

  99. 1158: 
    Graham Jones, Radio 5 live sports extra co-commentator

    On Twitter: "Tricky old run in today, uphill lots of roundabouts and turns! Nice, slightly uphill finish. Nice to see Mr Millar having a go!"

  100. 1153: 

    We are down to 164 riders, from an initial start number of 198, after the news that Argos-Shimano's Tom Veelers has quit. No reason given yet. On the road, the leading 11 are 2'25" ahead of the peloton containing Wiggins, Evans and Nibali. The bunch inbetween have split though with Martinez going on a solo counter-attack - he's 30 seconds adrift as they start to climb the Col du Granier.

  101. 1149: 

    John from London, via text on 81111 needs your help: "I'm new to the tdf, would someone explain why Evans, Nibali and VDB don't attempt to go with initial attack? They have to do something because their current tactics aren't working." Any other readers new to the Tour who need advice, fire away.

  102. 1145: 

    Moncoutie has abandoned. The 37-year-old Frenchman was in tears at the side of the road - it's his last Tour remember and that is no way to go out. He won two Tour stages, including one on Bastille Day in 2005. He also won the last four King of the Mountains titles in the Vuelta a Espana.

  103. 1139: 

    Mark Wellman-Riggs on Twitter: "Any chance the good old British public can get behind Brad, you may have noticed he is creating history at the moment!"

    Andy Gould on Twitter: "Any other country with 2 riders topping GC in #TdF would be crowing about it, GB using one to denigrate the other."

    Peter Vintner on Twitter: "Wiggins still has to get up the hill just like Froome. He isn't tied to a rope. The team pace the peloton." #bbccycling

  104. 1136: 

    The road flattens out as the riders reach the bottom of the Col du Grand Cucheron and prepare to take on the Col du Granier. It's a shorter climb at 9.7km but the average gradient is a little steeper at 8.6%. We still have more than 160km to race today.

  105. 1130: 

    There is a group of five riders between the leading 11 and the peloton. Chris Horner of RadioShack, Egoi Martinez and Ruben Perez of Euskaltel, Vacansoleil's Marco Marcato and Saxo Bank's Anders Lund. The quintet is 40 seconds adrift of the escapees, 45 seconds clear of the yellow jersey.

  106. 1127: 

    Levi from Banbury, via text on 81111: "Well said Tom from London, Wiggins has earnt his status as leader & the right to have a rider like Froome work for him, but I think Wiggo would have the edge if they were head to head. Froome, like Indurain who literally dragged Pedro Delgado to Paris in '88, could be a serial tour champion for years to come."

    Charlie from Coventry, via text on 81111: "Team Sky have a plan and the really impressive bit yesterday is that the team did what it set out to do. Froome is a great rider and an even better team man as are Porte, Rogers, Knees et al. Team Sky are well set to achieve what they set out to do and any attempts to suggest there is a difference of opinion in the camp are just mischievous at best."

    Anthony from Beckenham, via text on 81111: "Wiggins has proved he is in the form of his life and is by far the best all-round cyclist at the TDF and deserves 100% support from his team...podium 1-2...impossible, right!?"

  107. 1123: 

    The official Tour website is reporting that David Moncoutie may have to abandon the race. It would be a sad way to bow out of his final Tour, but there is speculation that he has broken a collarbone.

  108. 1121: 

    Team Sky are, usurprisingly, bossing the peloton. Christian Knees the man on the front at present, keeping the escapees at 1'15".

  109. 1119: 

    Kiserlovski is caught on the way down the Col and we have a leading group of 11 - they are: Yaroslav Popovych of RadioShack, Europcar's Cyril Gautier, Koren or Liquigas, Garmin's Millar, Jean-Christophe Peraud and Maxime Bouet of AG2R, Nicolas Edet of Cofidis, Vladimir Gusev and Eduard Vorganov of Katusha and Saxo Bank's Nicki Sorensen.

  110. 1116: 

    David Moncoutie crashes into a ditch on the descent. The Frenchman, who rides for Cofidis, has taken some skin off his leg but he's back on his feet.

  111. 1112:  
    Polkadot Jersey

    Kiserlovski has a dig off the front of the escapees and quickly opens up a 30-second gap in the final kilo of the climb.

    Result of the col du Grand Cucheron

    1. Robert Kiserlovski (AST) 10pts

    2. Peraud (ALM) 8pts

    3. Popovych(RNT) 6pts

    4. Gautier (EUC) 4pts

    5. Millar (GRS) 2pts

    6. Koren (LIQ) 1pt

  112. 1110: 

    Jan from London, via text on 81111: "If I were Wiggo this am, I might be hearing the words of that old Jimmy Cliffe song: "I can see clearly now the [Aussie's] gone; I can see all [Nibali's] in my way; gone are the dark [mountains] that had [them] blind; It's gonna be [another] bright [yellow] sunshinin' day! Rock and Roll BW & team Sky!"

    Andy from London, via text on 81111: "The Froome discussion is irrelevant - cycling is a team sport and the team strategy is working. Wiggo is riding very much like Miguel Indurain did in his victories -devastating performances in the Time Trials and then team defence in the mountains, stepping up to the challenge when needed."

    Chris from Worcester, via text on 81111: "Agree with David (10.54) - we don't know if Froome could have sustained it, but I'm pretty sure Wiggo was in control. Sky have reeled all other breaks in by steady pace and not a suuden burst of speed."

  113. 1106: 

    Burghardt is back in the peloton after a brief foray this morning. Those of you extolling Chris Froome - he's at the back of the peloton at the moment. Sure he's just taking it a bit steady though. The main contenders - Wiggo, Nibali, Evans, Jurgen van den Broeck - are just 47 seconds down the road, this escape is a long way from properly sticking.

  114. 1103: 

    Daniel Saunders on Twitter: "re Don Jestostico: it's always easier to ride in the wheel of a pacemaker from a mental and a physical point of view."

    KG on Twitter: "The British duo look strong but I can't help feeling that Vincenzo Nibali is going to be a real threat over the next few days.

    Steve Leonard on Twitter: "Froome probably could have taken time yesterday but knew what he signed up for as Wiggins domestique. Pro cycling is real teamwork." #bbccycling

  115. 1059: 

    The leaders are approaching the summit of the Col du Grand Cucheron. The climb started at 366m above sea level - it ends at 1,188m. A nice early morning stretch of the legs. Some of the 19 out front are struggling to keep pace and a few have dropped off. Millar staying with the front bunch.

  116. 1054: 

    Tom from London, via text on 81111: "Froome is clearly a better climber, but I am not convinced he could have opened too much of a gap over Wiggins' steady pace. Wiggins is still definitely Sky's best bet for the win this year, and in-fighting between the two would suit their rivals very nicely. Froome looks like he could win it in years to come, which is really great news. This year is all about Wiggins though, and rightly so."

    Jon Herd from Cambridge, via text on 81111: "Problem Sky now have got is if Brad wins the Tour it will be tarnished a little by various opinions around have sky restricted froome and could he have challenged and beat him if allowed. Both awesome yesterday but you can't tell us that wasn't an attack by Froome and he was ordered back."

    David via text on 81111: "I don't think Wiggins was in as much trouble as everyone is making out. He was riding a consistent pace and though Froome went off the front we shouldn't forget he was struggling for a little bit just before that. I do think he is one for the future but I think Wiggins is still the better overall chance for victory."

  117. 1052: 

    The riders are powering up the slopes of the first big climb of the day - the Col du Grand Cucheron. The 19 out front have an advantage of just 50 seconds as others continue to try and bridge the gap from the peloton. David Millar is in the leading group. I'm building up to naming them all, promise. Mark Cavendish by the way, has somewhat predictably dropped off the back of the peloton.

  118. 1048: 

    David from Milton Keynes, via text on 81111: "As today is the longest stage of the Tour a successful breakaway will have to last 220km today. I wouldn't want try doing that on my Brompton."

    Adrian 'working' from home in Eastbourne, via text on 81111: "Yesterday's stage was enthralling, attack and measured counter, the epitome of the tactical team race le Tour has become! Froome was extraordinary in the mountains, burst that little group wide open. Sky were right to call him back - Wiggo still their best chance of winning."

    Matt, via text on 81111: "Chris Froome is overall the best cyclist in this race. He would be taking minutes off Wiggo in the mountains if allowed, and only losing a bit back in the time trials. Sad but I think yesterday takes much of the gloss off if Wiggins ends up winning. Do others agree?"

  119. 1044: 

    Sorry to report for all you Voigt fans, but the 40-year-old German - the oldest man in this year's race - has missed the breakaway today. Astana's Robert Kiserlovski is in there - the Croatian was also involved in yesterday's bid for glory and he is the best-placed rider in the overall standings, a little over 28 minutes behind Wiggo. Full list of 19 coming up.

  120. 1040: 

    Gregg Coull on Twitter: "Can't help but think Froome could win the tour with greater ease than Wiggins. More superior on the hills."

    Ian Howard on Twitter: "Froome looking so strong - could have taken time out of Wiggins yesterday if allowed. A future Tour winner? I think so."

    Ryan Wood on Twitter: "Sky did the right thing not letting Froome head off, he's here to back up Wiggo but Froome will certainly get his chance."

    Don Jestostico on Twitter: "Why is it so much easier to cycle up a hill behind someone than on your own? At those speeds there's hardly any aero resistance."

  121. 1035: 

    The breakaway is formed. A group of 19 riders is one minute clear of the peloton. Among the leaders are Britain's David Millar, who rides for Garmin, BMC's Marcus Berghardt and Kristjan Koren of Liquigas - full list to follow.

  122. 1032: 

    What did you make of Thursday's finale? How good was Sky's marshalling of that final climb, dragging Vincenzo Nibali back while dropping Cadel Evans? Should Froome have been allowed to go off with his attempted break on the final climb? Tweet me #bbccycling or text me on 81111 but please remember to add your name otherwise I can't use your text.

  123. 1026: 

    It looks a perfect route for a successful breakaway. Team Sky will be content to let riders who are not in contention for the overall victory to go clear over the mountains - they probably need a bit of a break after Thursday's exertions. There are currently a dozen or so riders chancing their arm with Voigt very much at the heart of things.

  124. 1023: 

    It's not going to be quite as demanding day as Thursday, but there are still two category one climbs to get over in the opening 80km of today's stage - the 12.5km slog up Col du Grand Cucheron, which peaks at 1,188m and the Col du Granier which is just 9.7km long with a summit at 1,134m. A gentler category three climb up the Cote d'Ardoix comes towards the end of the stage and we have an uphill ride to the finish.

  125. 1018: 

    It's an early start in France today as the riders begin the longest stage of the race - the 226km ride from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Annonay Davezieux - and although the pace is high in the peloton, several riders are trying to form a breakaway group. France's Sylvain Chavanel and the legend that is Jens Voigt among them.

  126. 1017: 

    Hello and welcome to stage 12 of the Tour de France. Hope you've all recovered from yesterday's day in the high mountains. It turned out to be a great day for Team Sky and British riders Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome - although could it have been even better for Froome?

  127. 1015: 

    Team Sky's Chris Froome: "I follow orders at all costs. I'm part of the team and I have to do what the team asks me to do. Bradley is just as strong as me and stronger than me in the time-trials."

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