Millar to lead Britain at Worlds

David Millar to lead Britain at Worlds

David Millar to lead Britain at Worlds (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Scot David Millar will be the British team's captain at the World Championships Sunday in Mendrisio, Switzerland. British Cycling announced today ten riders to form its eventual nine-man team.

Britain also named Mark Cavendish in the squad, but he will make a decision to participate at the end of this week.

Millar will receive support by eight riders to be drawn from Cavendish, Ben Swift, Roger Hammond, Chris Froome, Ian Stannard, Russell Downing, Geraint Thomas, Dan Lloyd and Steve Cummings. British Cycling named Jeremy Hunt as a reserve.

Head coach Rod Ellingworth told Cyclingnews that confirmation a final selection had been complicated in recent weeks.

"We've had a bit of a bad patch with illness and injuries. Dave [Millar's] been ill at the Vuelta a España, Roger Hammond had that big fall at the Vuelta and really knocked himself up a bit. Daniel Lloyd and Chris Froome fell at the Tour of Britain and Mark Cavendish has been ill," said Ellingworth.

"So the last couple of weeks haven't been great for us, but this is what it's all about. This is what makes the Worlds harder than any other race in the year and these are the things that we're looking at to learn from."

Although Cavendish has been named in the short list, Ellingworth indicated that the Manxman will decide at the last minute. "He's okay, he's over [the illness], but its just about getting back on the bike and getting the feeling back. So he'll potentially be named in the [final] team, but it will be a late decision for him.

"I'm going to have to really work on the reserve riders and make sure that they keep their head on for another week because anything can happen," Ellingworth continued.

While the final road team will not be confirmed until the days before the race, British Cycling confirmed Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome for the time trial. Wiggins and Hunt were members of the long list, but both decided to pull out of contention for a spot on the road team.

Hunt "said that he's not one hundred percent confident that he could go and do a really good job on the climbs. He's happy to be a reserve and give his spot up for somebody else, even though he's been going quite well. This is what we've been building towards: people being open and honest, it's good really.

"Brad did say that 'If you really need me, I'd get up and do [the road race]', but I think we'd prefer for him to concentrate on one goal and not have anything else in his head."

On paper, the British squad is one of the strongest in recent years. Millar showed that he has come out of the Vuelta a España with good form after winning the final time trial in Toledo Saturday.

Both Wiggins and Millar will enter their respective events hopeful of breaking a long drought for the nation. Britain has won two road World Championship gold medals: Chris Boardman claimed the inaugural Worlds time trial in 1994 and Tom Simpson won the World road title in 1965.

Ellingworth said he was encouraged by the solidarity shown by the team in the lead up to the race. "Even though we've not had a great run of luck this past week there's been a lot of support, a lot of the riders calling each other to see how they are. There's been a lot of communication between the British riders about going to the Worlds and being a team. That's our main goal."

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