By Shane Stokes in Doha, Qatar
This season is a big year for Team Slipstream Chipotle, and for this reason starting its season with a strong showing in Saturday's team time trial at the Tour of Qatar is important.
"We are aiming for a top three placing," confirmed David Millar to Cyclingnews on Saturday. "We had a really good training camp the week before coming here. We were doing a lot of specific stuff, split sessions, etcetera, and it was great.
"I think that the guys we have got here are all flatland riders and we have been doing pretty work for it, so there is no reason why we can't get a good first result [of the season]."
The team's biggest goal for the season is to ride the Tour de France. For that reason, showing its strength in ASO-events is important, but Millar said that a good performance for its own stake is his goal.
"It is obviously part of the motivation [making a good impression prior to the Tour selection], but it is our first race and we are taking every race we do seriously. We just want to set a high standard for our racing for this year, and I think the fact that it is an ASO event just happens to be a secondary thing."
Millar is not sure what to expect after the team time trial as regards how he will perform on the road stages. "I have no idea," he said. "I have never raced in January before, it is not something I do normally. But we are here with CJ [Chris Sutton], Julian [Dean], Maggie [Magnus Backstedt] who are all going well, so we are just going to just play it by ear.
"We are going to learn from each race - it is the first time that any of us has raced together, it is a new setup, so I think that this week is going to be a lot of experimentation, trying different things, doing lead-outs, attacking. Just being at the front of the race."
By his own admission, 2007 was a season where overtraining affected his form. He's feeling more positive about how things look now, and this is due in part to his work with a new trainer. "I have been working with Greg LeMonde's old coach Adrie van Diemen, and it has been really good. He was at our training camp before here and that was great - it meant that we were actually doing proper training, rather than just going out on the usual rides.
"I feel really good. I had a good winter. I have been really lucky not to have any illnesses or injuries during the winter, so you can't really ask for more."
A full interview with David Millar will appear soon on Cyclingnews.