Millar: It's possible to win clean

David Millar enjoys the moment

David Millar enjoys the moment (Image credit: AFP)

Stage 14 winner David Millar began his press conference with a clear statement that his return to pro cycling following a ban for admitted EPO use is a new, cleaner beginning. "This victory is a renaissance, a new beginning, a new start. I have been very nervous, like a junior. But this is like a new start for me.

"I want everybody to understand, even my fellow professional cyclists and the fans who love cycling, that I am doing this on nothing, solely on bread and water. I do not believe in any injections of any sort for recuperation. We can perform at the highest level in cycling without any medical help.

"Today was a purely physical test, I won, and I am 100% clean. Some people may not believe me, but if you know me you will believe me after what I am have been through. I love my sport and I want everyone to know that you can win the biggest races on bread and water."

Millar was asked the extent of the tough time he had been through, but he declined to elaborate. Suffice to say it was a black period in his life. "I don't want to talk about it in a press is too much," he said.

The Scot then thanked the Saunier Duval team and British Cycling for giving him a fresh chance. He also singled out BC's Dave Brailsford and Simon Jones, who "risked a lot in helping me, who believed in me 100% and taught me how to do cycling without drugs."

"I am very happy," he added in a team release. "I've been feeling better and better over the past two weeks, and I'm much more confident now. Today's course was quite taxing and in the last part it was all extremely tight; that is where I could make the difference".

Team manager Mauro Gianetti applauded the result. "Every triumph is great, but this one has been particularly good. We've believed in David all along, and when he came back we worked very hard together, so that we can now share this moment of happiness. He deserves it so much".

Team directeur Josean Fernandez Matxin echoed that. "I am happy for David Millar and his win because of all he suffered, all he went through," he told Onda Cero radio. "He is one of the riders that appreciates this reward so much and it makes him so happy. What he did has value; he quit racing, he was almost alone, he was practically ruined and now look. It is a nice story with a very happy ending.

Millar's team-mate José Ángel Gómez Marchante had a solid ride, finishing 13th. However he dropped a place in the general classification to fifth. Maxtin said he was relatively satisfied. "His performance wasn't so bad. I hoped that he would lose a bit less time. He conceded too much in the first part, actually the part where I thought he would do better. Then he had a problem with a gust of wind, he was scared and was very careful on the descent after that."

Maxtin had praise for the race leader. "Valverde did it very well. I thought he would have been near [Gomez] Marchante's time. I thought maybe he would gain 10, 15, 20 seconds on Marchante but the truth is that he did a phenomenal time trial."

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