Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne – Annonay Davézieux (226km) Click for route map
At St Jean-de-Maurienne there are four routes tightly packed into the bottom of the valley: the River Arc, the railway line, the péage motorway plus the single carriageway which I drove along two years ago and which the riders followed today. Although leaving the Alps behind, heading south towards the Ardèche and then tomorrow reaching the Mediterranean, there was still plenty of impressive scenery today. The tour was dwarfed by the high limestone ridges of the Chartreuse Mountain range and we saw the mighty Mont Granier which straddles the Départements of Savoie and Isère and which, at 900 meters high, is one of the highest cliff faces in France. The sheer north face was created in 1248 by a huge landslide which destroyed several villages in its path. The Tour also travelled through an impressive gorge riding through rock arches with precipitous drops at the sides of the road. In recent years a cave was discovered in the locality which contained the bones of a large number of ancient cave bears which had died during hibernation. Close to Mont Granier was the Monastery of the Grand Chartreuse, home since 1084, of the Carthusian Order and also of the famous green and yellow Chartreuse liqueur. Also of note today was the quirky structure at Hauterives known as Le Palais Idéal de Facteur Cheval, an ornate building reminiscent of a Hindu temple, built by the postman Ferdinand Cheval between 1879 and 1923. I would certainly detour to have a closer look at this unusual structure.
A terrific win for Britain’s David Millar today and Bradley Wiggins continues in the yellow jersey with Chris Froome in second place overall.
The top five of Stage 12
1. David Millar (GBR) Garmin-Sharp 226km in 5h42’46”
2. Jean-Christophe Peraud (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale at same time
3. Egoi Martinez (ESP) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 5″
4. Cyril Gautier (FRA) Europcar at 5″
5. Robert Kiserlovski (CRO) Astana at 5″
Team placings after Stage 12
1. Team Radioshack
2. Sky Procycling
Jerseys for Stage 13
Yellow – Wiggins (2nd overall Froome)
Green – Sagan
Polka Dot – Kessiakoff
White – Van Garderen
For more information on the cyclists, their teams and how they were placed see the Tour de France official site.
Read my TDF posts covering this and previous years.