By Shane Stokes in Palermo
David Millar is one of the big influences in the Slipstream Chipotle H30 team, both in terms of his leadership qualities and also because he is an example of a rider who represents both the old and the new way in the sport. He served a doping ban but came back and has been outspoken ever since about the need to eliminate such problems from cycling.
Millar is also a talented time trialist and was a big part of Slipstream's win on the opening stage of the Giro d'Italia. He said that the team had done a huge amount of work in the leadup to the race in order to achieve this victory, their main focus for the three-week event.
"We've been working really hard and we've been learning so quickly on a day-to-day basis," he said after the team were feted on the podium. "We finally started gelling yesterday, and today we rode it perfectly. There is nothing else to say...we earned that victory through hard work and detail.
"You should have seen us...we did everything. All the equipment has been perfect, we have done everything right...ice vests and all that. God is in the details and we didn't miss one detail.
"And Christian was just unbelievable...he earned us six seconds on his own in those last five kilometres. I could barely hold his wheel. I haven't spoken to him about it, but in the back of all our minds, if anyone was going to cross the line first, he deserves it."
The team stepped up to the big time this season, investing a lot to bring some big names on board and also to push for a place in the Grand Tours. Slipstream is taking part in its first Giro, and in less than two months time will line out in its debut Tour de France.
Millar is very satisfied that things are moving in the right direction and Saturday's team time trial result is part of that. "It is like mission accomplished, we have worked so hard for the win. It has been an objective for a long time. We congregated in Girona eight days, nine days ago, and we have been working towards this. We have earned it.
"This is the biggest success for the team thus far...it really is. Jonathan [Vaughters] and I built it around the potential of being a great team time trial squad, and the details that Jonathan puts in are great. Then Whitey [Matthew White] as a directeur [sportif] added to things - he has gelled it all together in this past week. He has been the missing link. He gave us a team talk last night that none of us had ever had before. We all left and we were like, 'wow'. We have never had anything like that before.
"It is forming. I reckon in another year, we are going to have a dream team." As for the team's goals for the rest of the week, Millar said that the pressure was off. "Now it is all icing and cherries, isn't it," he stated.
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