He got a rainbow jersey once before, but had to hand it back. This time round, David Millar is aiming to win it for real. Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes spoke to a confident Millar prior to the World Championships.
With Fabian Cancellara missing from this year's UCI World Championships, the list of possible winners is suddenly a lot more open. One of those who should be in the running is David Millar, the Scot who beat Cancellara to win a time trial stage of the 2006 Vuelta a España.
Millar has a mixed history at the Worlds, with silver in 2001 behind Jan Ullrich the high point of his palmares. He actually stood on top of the podium in 2003, but was later disqualified following a confession of Erythropoietin (EPO) usage. Since his return to the sport in 2006 he has finished 15th and 18th in the Worlds, not a true reflection of his ability, but he hopes that things will be different this time round.
Millar showed good form at the Tour of Ireland, before heading to the Tour of Britain and focusing on specific preparation for this week's event. "Things have been hard but good since the Tour of Ireland," he said. "It's taken a strong shared belief from myself and JV [team director Jonathan Vaughers] to get to this point.
"After how I was feeling towards the end of the Tour and the few weeks after, it would have been easy to think riding well in the Worlds would be beyond me," he added. "I've just kept plugging away with this one goal in mind, and slowly but surely I've started to come around."
He's now satisfied that he is in strong shape. His confidence is rising and he is aiming for the top step of the podium. "In the last few days I consider it realistic to be racing for the win," he said. "I will be very pleased to be battling it out for that…I've not been in that position for many years. I hold this race close to my heart and would love to win it."
Millar showed good form at the start of the season, riding solidly in races such as the Tour of Qatar, and headed into the Giro d'Italia aiming to ride strongly. He went close to a stage victory but was foiled by a broken chain; after the end of that Grand Tour, he set about preparing for the Tour de France, his main goal of the year. He was third and fifth in time trials there; that said, an error in his training caused him to become very run down, and he has only recently recovered from that.
"I was a bit of 'man-down' after the Tour de France, the last two weeks of that race, and in the three weeks after that I was just terrible," he said at the end of August. "10 or 11 days ago, I could barely ride my bike. I have come round very quickly, which is great.
To read the full interview, click here.