David Millar (Garmin-Cervélo) believes that Bradley Wiggins (Sky) can finish in the top 10 of the Tour de France, but reckons that a spot on the podium in Paris is out of reach for his fellow countryman.
Wiggins finished fourth overall in 2009 while riding for Garmin, but could only manage 24th a year later following his high-profile move to Sky. Following overall victory at the Critérium du Dauphiné and his triumph in Sunday’s national championships, however, Wiggins is clearly on song as the Tour approaches.
“I wouldn't put him on the podium, I think the top 10 is realistic and he should be very happy with that," Millar told the Independent. "The Tour is a lot harder than the Dauphiné and a lot more riders are going to be going a lot better. Maybe fifth is possible, but the podium is just out of his reach.
“The bottom line is that he won the Dauphiné, which is one of the Classics. Unfortunately, the Dauphiné isn't a pure indicator of Tour de France form, so I hope he's rested up and taken it easy. If he's got the same condition, then he could do a very good Tour. But being realistic – top 10.”
Millar has also credited Wiggins’ Sky team for finding a degree of humility following an entry to the peloton that was viewed as overly-bombastic in some quarters. He feels that their victories at the Bayern Rundfahrt and the Dauphiné are proof positive of the lesson learnt by the British team.
“That had to happen because they were a bit too much in everybody's face last year – 2010 gave them a lot of humility, and they've benefited from that as well,” Millar said.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Independent, Millar discussed his role as one of the riders’ spokesmen during talks with Giro d’Italia organisers over the exclusion of the descent of the Monte Crostis.
“Regrettably it took a tragedy like that to wake up the organisers and the people around us,” Millar said. “It opened the door to a discussion with Angelo Zomegnan which would never have happened before.”
Millar also outlined that he has no issue with Alberto Contador’s participation in the Tour de France, in spite of the fact that the Court of Arbitration for Sport will only make a decision on his 2010 positive test for Clenbuterol after this year’s race.
Instead, Millar voiced his frustration that the appeal process has taken so long to resolve.
“Whatever happens, it's going to overshadow the Tour and in all honesty I don't think we can put all the blame for that on Alberto,” Millar said. “He deserves the presumption of innocence and because of this ridiculous system we have. It's going to be over a year before we find out whether it was unintentional or deliberate.
“For many he's already guilty. It's a tragedy. Contador is a phenomenal cyclist and neither the sport nor he deserves this ridiculous kerfuffle."