It had been nearly a decade (2003) since David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) won a stage at the Tour de France. That is, until he crossed the finish line of stage 12 at this year’s edition. It was the longest day of the Tour and the Scotsman won in a two-man sprint against Frenchman Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r la Mondiale).
Millar collapsed shortly after celebrating his victory across the line in Annonay Davézieux, a sign of just how much effort he had put into the day-long breakaway. "I just wanted to cross that line in first," he told Cyclingnews at the finish. He did just that and would take extra encouragement coming into the Olympic road race this Saturday.
Millar’s inclusion into the Great Britain team was not a standard selection panel affair, it was a drawn out process due to his previous two-year suspension and admittance for doping back in 2004. It took a favourable ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) before he could be selected. Now that he’s been included in the five-man team, he’s willing to put it all on the line to ensure Mark Cavendish wins the gold medal.
"I'm an ex-doper and I'm clean now, and I want to show everyone that it's possible to win clean on the Tour," he said after his stage win at the Tour.
His achievement in the sport since his comeback from suspension and advocacy work in the fight against doping has not gone unnoticed. The head of the UCI, Pat McQuaid has come out and praised the words and actions of Millar and suggests those accussed of doping, should come clean instead of attempting to lie throughout the process.
"It's obviously better and takes more character if a rider can come out and say that he made a mistake," McQuaid told The Associated Press. "Then accept that mistake and accept his punishment and come back," he said.
"It gets very annoying when a cyclist gets caught for a recognised doping substance and then he tries to, you know, make all sorts of excuses," said McQuaid.
Millar will have his work cut out for him as he attempts to control the race on Saturday for his leader Cavendish, but having just come from three hard weeks of racing, he's sure to be up to the task.