By Shane Stokes in Cholet, France
As Jonathan Vaughers told Cyclingnewsthis week, Garmin Chipotle were hoping to take the maillot jaune in either the Stage 4 time trial, or on Super Besse this Thursday. The team will now aim for that Plan B, with both David Millar and Christian Vandevelde within striking distance after the race against the clock.
The two riders finished third and eighth on the stage, conceding 18 and 37 seconds respectively to stage winner Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner). They are third and sixth overall, 12 and 33 seconds back.
Both were extremely determined during the time trial. Millar came across the start line, wheeling to a halt soon afterwards and sitting down on the ground, exhausted. Although he didn't beat Schumacher's earlier time, he was surrounded by a scrum of reporters hunting for quotes and had to quickly get back up to his feet.
"I just enjoyed it so much, being back to my best," he said. "It was fun. It's not a disappointment. I went 100 percent, I could really push myself. I am happy. Second isn't bad, the person who beat me was better. [Millar ended up finishing third after Kim Kirchen also clocked a faster time. - ed.]"
He admitted that he was not expecting that result. "Schumacher did a good time trial," he said. "It is a surprise, he was not in the favourites. This has put me in a good position [overall]. Plan A was to try to get the yellow jersey here, so I am going to have to resort to Plan B now Super Besse."