He may have not raced for a month and had to juggle commitments with the birth of his first child, but David Millar (Great Britain) still produced a classy ride to finish seventh in the time trial at the UCI World Championships.
The British rider set off third from last in Copenhagen and after winning the individual time trial at the Giro this year and a silver medal in this discipline last year, he was considered a threat by the majority of his competitors.
However at the first time check Millar had already conceded 38 seconds to eventual winner Tony Martin (Germany). Millar rallied and picked himself up from 11th place to claim seventh and admitted that he was pleased with his performance.
"Those flat courses can be harder than the hillier ones because you can have no rest whatsoever. It's like being on a home trainer for an hour, just horrible," he told Cyclingnews.
"I'm happy considering I've had a month with no racing and a new born child coming a few days ago. That's certainly been a welcome distraction but it certainly affects things and I would have preferred to have raced before though, although saying that, I obviously preferred having a baby but the preparation wasn't great."
"The maximum I was hoping for was top five so seventh is something I'm happy with."
Millar's head could have dropped and he did well to remain focussed when Tony Martin steamrollered passed at the half way point. It was a poignant sign of Martin's strength as well as Millar's preparation and even lead to the race announcer losing track of his surrounding and indulging the crowd in World War Two remark that may not have been to most people's liking.
"Martin was like a scooter but it was really inspiring," Millar graciously said.
"That was prologue speed, it really was. I was told he was coming over the radio but he's in the best form of his life."
Martin's win over Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) – who faded to third – has been on the cards for some time. The German dominated both the Tour de France and Vuelta time trials this year, while Cancellara hasn't looked his dominating self since losing at Paris-Roubaix in April.
Martin's win might signify a shift, but Millar, who has almost 15 years of experience behind him, knows that Cancellara is far from a spent force, even if he will find it harder to beat the likes of Martin and Wiggins in the future.
"It's all down to how long Martin can hold it for. It was a bit like Fabian in his zenith. I wouldn't say this was a changing of the guard. I think Fabian has been the best in the world for the last four or five years and I think sometimes it's good for someone of Fabian's calibre to go back and re-set. I'm sure it will make for an epic match at next year's Olympics. It will be a battle royal.
"Tony has got better and Fabian has come down a peg or two. All athletes go through that. It just happens. Any elite sportsperson will have that. He might come back a bit but I doubt he'll be able to hold it again for as long as he has done. I think it will be more up and down for the next few years."
Millar praised teammate Bradley Wiggins, who snapped up Great Britain's third medal and second silver of the Worlds.
"Brad deserves to be second. It's been Brad and Tony all year so I'd say that the podium is nice in that it's representative of world time trialing at the moment."
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.