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David Millar (Garmin Sharp) believes the sport has changed since the US Postal days
Racing like US Postal needs to be taken in perspective, says Garmin Sharp rider
The aftermath of insinuations and allegations pointed towards Team Sky following their apparent domination during the first mountain test at this year’s Tour de France is not warranted, according to Garmin Sharp’s David Millar. The connections made between the GB outfit and the former US Postal squad after the team crushed the peloton on the road to Ax 3 Domaines also needs to be put into consideration, says the Scotsman.
Millar has become a strong voice in the anti-doping fight since serving his own two-year suspension in 2004 after he admitted to doping offences and says that while the current maillot jaune Chris Froome has talent that is "off the scale", the team could do more to satisfy the general public. Team Sky "don't deserve to have mud thrown at them," said Millar on Twitter believing the squad doesn’t help it’s cause by remaining tight-lipped on what seems to be the winning training formula.
"They could be more open and not be so defensive at times, but you have to understand we are a professional sport and we are competing against each other," said Millar to AFP. "It's one thing satisfying the sceptics, but it's also about being professional and wanting to win races.
"For them [Sky] it's very difficult, it's a tightrope they're walking, trying to be transparent, but also keeping their trade secrets, which are the (way they conduct their) training," he added.
Connections were made between Lance Armstrong’s dominance during the US Postal days in the wake of Froome and Richie Porte’s stunning 1-2 display at the Tour’s first summit finish but this must be looked at from within the current environment. The sport has changed, says the 36-year-old and that is a big point of difference.
"They race in a very similar way to the US Postal team, but you have to take into perspective the fact that the sport is different now.
"There is more control and greater transparency than then, so even if we are saying that Sky aren't transparent it's night and day compared to Postal.
"The general public don't know how the sport has changed and what Sky are actually doing. There is a massive difference between them and Postal," he added.
For Millar, the key to satisfying the critics is to open the communication lines with those who voice rational thought. The sport likely faces a long road before the cynics will be satisfied but this is all part of the job.
"When you sit and get accused of lying and cheating and doping constantly, the first time it happens it knocks you for six, but before long it just becomes part of the job. We keep it in perspective. It is natural for people to ask questions, but there is a certain sector whose cynicism is something else.
"If you have a lot of energy and a negative attitude, you're just cynical. What you really want to listen to is those people who really are the middle ground, who have a rational thought process, and ask questions.
"I think there is a definite dialogue to be had with them."