Garmin-Chipotle's David Millar is confident next year's season will bring him and his team more success. In an interview with French newspaper L'Equipe, the Scot talked about his plans for 2009, saying that one of the squad's main objectives was to help Tour de France leader Christian Vande Velde to victory in the French Grand Tour.
"I believe that he can win the Tour," said Millar. "He has been very regular in stage races this year. He wore the pink jersey in the Giro and fought for the Tour podium [Vande Velde finished fifth - ed.]. If he comes to the Tour in the same shape; if he rides it like a potential winner; with the confidence he gained he won't be far off the yellow jersey."
As for his own goals, Millar said that he will switch back to a more "classic" programme next year starting with the Tour Méditerranéen, Paris-Nice, Milano-Sanremo and the Critérium International. "I will take a break in April before going to the Tour de Romandie, Vuelta a Catalunya, the Dauphiné Libéré and the Tour de France. This year, I had to be competitive as soon as the Tour of Qatar. My first goal will be Paris-Nice – the prologue, of course, but maybe also the podium if there's no Mont Ventoux. After the Tour, I would like to continue until the Worlds even if the profile is a bit mean..."
Focus on the team time trial
Another big plan of his team Garmin-Chipotle is to take advantage of its riders' abilities in the race against the clock. In fact, the squad's roster has been designed specifically for this specialty, as they demonstrated with their victory in this year's Giro d'Italia team time trial. In 2009, world pursuit champion Bradley Wiggins as well as time trial worlds silver medallist Svein Tuft will join specialists David Zabriskie and Millar in the hunt for more 'chrono' glory.
The Scot is eager to work with the new recruits. "Jonathan [Vaughters, team manager - ed.] took this decision and I agreed with him to a 100 percent," he explained about hiring more time triallists. "We are so talented for the race against the clock, with all the material we developed and the research we've done. With Bradley Wiggins and Svein Tuft, we really have the best 'rouleur' team. Personally, I feel so much more at ease in this spirit. We have a real working group, which is very stimulating."
Next year's Tour de France will again include a team time trial, after the event had been scrapped in previous editions – a perfect challenge for Garmin-Chipotle. "We will be confident," Millar stated, looking ahead to the event. "But Astana and CSC will be very, very strong, too. It will be a beautiful race. At the Tour, this will probably be the only day where our team will start with an advantage over the others. We will have to use it. It will be even more exciting as we will be able to help Christian [Vande Velde - ed.] to gain some time over his rivals for the overall victory."