TONY ROMINGER won his second huge Alpine stage in as many days and Miguel Indurain kept his iron grip on the Tour, but it was Scotland’s Robert Millar who won the hearts yesterday.
The Swiss finished half a wheel in front of the Spaniard after a 113-mile stage of more than 5 1/2 hours from Serre-Chevalier. But Millar had earlier written himself indelibly into the folk history of this towering race with a solo ride over the exposed summit of the Col de la Bonette, which rises to a dizzying 9,200ft and to which Europe’s highest road clings precariously.
Only twice before has it featured in the Tour, in 1962 and 1964. The legendary Spanish climber Federico Bahamontes, the winner in 1959 and the mountain king a record six times, took it on both occasions.
Millar attacked at the foot of the Bonette’s immense 15-mile climb together with Pedro Delgado. He eventually shook off the Spaniard to breast the peak more than a minute clear of Rominger and Indurain. It was a truly magnificent ride by the 34-year-old Scot who has, almost single-handedly, flown the British flag in the Tour over the past decade.