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Commonwealth Games: David Millar spurred on by Tour de France snub

By:
Daniel Benson
Published:
July 28, 2014, 12:56 BST,
Updated:
July 29, 2014, 6:32 BST
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, July 28, 2014
Race:
2014 Commonwealth Games, Elite Men Road Race
David Millar , Garmin Sharp was pretty relaxed on th estart line….

David Millar , Garmin Sharp was pretty relaxed on th estart line….

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Garmin-Sharp rider happy to ride for Scotland

David Millar (Scotland) is determined to use his Tour de France snub as motivation for the Commonwealth Games. Millar arrives in Glasgow to defend his title in the individual time trial and bronze medal in the road race from Delhi four years ago.

The Tour de France was meant to be a cornerstone of Millar's final season as a professional and his final race before the Games. However he was pulled from Garmin-Sharp's provisional line up after the team raised concerns over his health.

"It's all going well because in a way after my wallowing in self-pity period this forced me to get out of it quickly. It's been a good last two weeks for training. It hit home even harder watching the Tour but it's certainly spurred me on and I have to thank the team for that," Millar told Cyclingnews ahead of his travel to Glasgow.

Millar hasn't spoken directly to his trade team since he was replaced by Ramunas Navardauskas, only receiving race schedules via email. He did however reach out to the man who replaced him at the Tour de France and the Lithuanian went onto save Garmin's Tour with a stage win in the final week.

The lack of a three-week race in Millar's legs may or may not have helped his preparation for the Games. It could have improved his form or left him running on empty but he has undergone a rigorous training programme over the last fortnight.

"It's impossible to replicate what I would have got from the Tour but my training has been very good. I went up to the Pyrenees for eleven days and by the end of it I'd done the biggest ride I'd done all year, bigger than Flanders in terms of the quality and quantity of work. Sometimes you get into that space where you can replicate it as best as you can but basically I couldn't have done any more."

The time trial takes place on Wednesday and despite some level of uncertainty over his form, Millar remain amongst the pre-race favourites, although he is playing down his chances.

"I'd like to not be embarrassing in the time trial as I'm the defending the champion but rather ironically the favourite is my trade teammate Rohan Dennis. The road race is a lot more open. There's no big team that can really control it and it break up so quickly even on a flat course. The road is open to all takers but the time trial should be easier to predict but to be honest I have no idea how I'll do."

For the road race on Sunday Millar will be backed by a mix of riders who helped him in the same event four years ago.

"We've at least two -thirds of the team from Delhi and we raced there with a strict plan and I don't see there being a problem if we race like that. The team were great four years ago so matching that ride would be great."

The Games themselves represent a rare opportunity for Millar to race in his Scottish national jersey. He has worn kit for Great Britain on a number of occasions, most recently at the Olympic Games in 2012, however the Scottish jersey holds a special place in his heart.

"The Games are going to be massive. It's only the second time in my life that I'll wear a Scotland jersey and it's going to be one of my last races. There's something quite poetic about that especially after what's recently happened. It's nice to come home in a way."

They also give Millar the opportunity to distract his attention away from the disappointment of missing out on place in Garmin's Tour team.

"It's pretty big what happened. It's very big what happened. I'd dropped to my lowest weight in two years before the Tour but it's made training so much easier," he told Cyclingnews.

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