“I want to race well and finish being professional at my best,” is how David Millar sums up his feelings to Cyclingnews about 2014, and what will be his eighteenth and last season as a pro racer.
37 on January 4th, Millar turned professional in 1997 with French outfit Cofidis. The winner of the 2000 Tour de France prologue, he is the first Briton to lead all three Grand Tours (and only one of two, together with Bradley Wiggins, ever to achieve that to date) and has been a key member of the Garmin-Sharp squad since 2008. After his two-year drugs suspension in 2004, he has since become one of the sport's most articulate anti-doping campaigners.
Millar’s full training program for 2014 is yet to kick in after a domestic accident, in which he was concussed, put a brake on things earlier this month.
“I’ve had to be very careful [about training] since the accident happened... I went into an old house and walked through a very small doorway and knocked myself out. It was the uncoolest thing I’ve ever done. It was so annoying,” Millar recalls.
As for 2014, Millar says he will kick off the season at the Mallorca Challenge in early February, then go on to Tirreno-Adriatico, the Classics – “as many as I can” – then Bayern Rundfahrt and the Criterium du Dauphiné as his build up to, he hopes, one last Tour de France.
Running from July 5-27, the Tour de France overlaps with the first segment of the Commonwealth Games, another event circled round in red on Millar’s 2014 calendar, all the more given that it takes place in Glasgow. But neither the dates for the Games’ time trial on July 31st, nor the road race on August 2nd, both of which Millar may well wish to target, clash with the Tour.
And after – finally – finishing racing? That has yet to be decided, although Millar has already ruled out working as a sports director. But he does know that his family are set to stay in their current home in Catalonia for the foreseeable future.
In any case, Millar’s last season is yet to come and as the Scot puts it, “it feels like the end of an era. I want to leave the team with them feeling I did well and was a good rider.”
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The Independent, The Guardian, ProCycling, The Express and Reuters.