Millar’s relationships with the Vuelta, which he last raced in 2010, has been almost as long and involved as with the Tour de France. A year after winning in Futuroscope at the Tour prologue in 2000, he took the Vuelta prologue in 2001 in Salamanca. He then picked up a road stage at the velodrome in Torrelavega by outsprinting Santiago Botero in the same race and again in Cordoba in 2003 after attacking over the top of the final climb of the stage and soloing to the finish. He also took two time trial wins, in Cuenca (2006) and Toledo (2009).
Now in his last Grand Tour, Millar says he is “getting better every day, so that’s good. I’d like to try and go for a stage win, but it’s fairly limited because there’s only two or three that suit me, so I’m biding my time a bit.”
His take on the overall battle is that “Alberto [Contador] is amazingly strong. It appears to be open but he’s really in control.”
“He’s jumping into moves himself, so although his team is not as strong as he’d maybe want it to be, you always end up profiting off other teams, who are defending positions or trying to do their own thing.”
Millar says that he is not getting nostalgic as the end of his last Grand Tour approaches. “I’m really enjoying it. I always said I wanted to do this [Vuelta] as my last Grand Tour because it’s a race I have very fond memories of.”
“I like racing in Spain, the atmosphere here is so relaxed, and we’ve got a good team here. I’m enjoying being with Ryder [Hesjedal], who’s one of my best friends, so that kind of adds to it as well. So it’s good.”
Millar is on the long list for Great Britain’s World Championships, and he says he would like to do the road-race as the final event of his career.
“I’d only go, though, if I could do my job properly, I don’t want to go as a kind gesture [on Team GB’s part]. I want to be able to do my best for the team, because we’ve got a great team and I think we could do something.”