By Gregor Brown in Châteauroux
American Christian Vande Velde moved into sixth overall following the stage four time trial on Tuesday, but said he's more focused on Garmin Chipotle team-mate David Millar's chances of taking the maillot jaune at Super Besse on Thursday. The 1289-metre high climb, the first of five mountaintop finishes this year, could suit the Scot's abilities in medium mountain stages where he has produced good performances in the past.
"We have a chance of Dave taking the yellow jersey," 32 year-old Vande Velde told Cyclingnews as he made his way to the start line for stage five. Millar, third in the time trial, sits 12 seconds back from overall leader Stefan Schumacher.
Vande Velde will hope to mark Millar's rivals on the climb, giving the team a chance of claiming its second Grand Tour leader's jersey of the year after Vande Velde took the maglia rosa on day one of the Giro d'Italia.
"Any day of the week, if the chance presents itself," Vande Velde continued of his support for Millar. The two spent all of June together training at altitude in preparation for the Tour de France, but Vande Velde also knows that he will have his own chances for a high classification spot, as the high-mountains of the Pyrénées and Alps suit his capabilities.
"We are going to be taking it day by day. Overall, after yesterday, I feel like I can do a decent GC here," he confirmed. "I feel like I did a good time trial. I was well within myself and that bodes well for later."
Vande Velde has seen a lot since turning professional with US Postal Service in 1998. He has been at the side of Lance Armstrong, Roberto Heras and Ivan Basso and now finds himself as one of Garmin's designated leaders. Looking back at those years, Vande Velde said: "The Tour has been different so far without time bonuses and an opening time trial. From now on, it will be the usual feeling of being in the Tour de France."