Recent Road Cycling News
The fourteenth stage of the 2012 Tour de France was lined up to be an epic battle including all of this year’s big names, jockeying for position in the overall individual time classification. The 119-mile stage ranging from Limoux to Foix was a beauty, with two massive climbs towards the end of the day. On the single-lane road up the Mur de Peguere, all the top contenders in the Tour were side by side, jammed in between a thick field of spectators. There is no explaining the grit riders show climbing the massive grades of the Tour de France. Once at the top, most of them are slightly relieved with the downhill race that follows. Unfortunately, that relief was marred at the top of the 9.3 km climb of the Mur de Peguere.
French rider Pierrick Fedrigo collected his fourth career Tour de France stage victory on Monday and his second in Pau. The 158.5km (99-mile) Stage 15 from Samatan to Pau was mostly flat, leading most race followers to believe that sprinters like Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan and Andre Greipel would be racing for the stage victory. This wasn’t the case however; as a lead group of six riders (not including the aforementioned sprinters) went out from the get go, ultimately leaving Fedrigo and Garmin-Sharp’s Christian Vande Velde to fight it out for the sprint finish. With 200-meters to go, Fedrigo took off and Vande Velde could not counter.
As NBC’s Tour de France commentator, Phil Liggett said during Friday’s Stage 12, “About 99 times out of 100, the lead group gets caught by the peloton (before the finish line).” David Millar, of the Garmin-Sharp team, wanted Friday’s race to be that one time out of 100. The Scottish rider shot out with a group of four other men roughly 15km into the longest stage of the Tour. The fivesome lead the race for over 211km, a feat in itself. With less than 1km left in the race, Millar made his move. Only Jean-Christophe Peraud could counter, but in the end, Millar had the strength for the victory, edging Peraud at the finish line. Millar’s win was the 35th victory of his career, the fourth stage win of this year’s Tour for British riders and the American Garmin-Sharp team’s first of the 2012 Tour de France.