David Millar claims that cycling has never seen so many riders in the peloton capable of winning Grand Tours, and has tipped Chris Froome for a third Tour de France victory

The number of riders who are capable of winning Grand Tour general classifications and the subsequent competition is at an all time high, according to David Millar.

Millar, who won nine Grand Tour stages during his 17-year career, says that he has never known a period in cycling’s last few decades when there has been so many riders who harbour realistic aims of winning the sport’s three biggest races: the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España.

Citing the fact that there was six Grand Tour winners competing in the 2015 Tour de France, as well as the emergence of Tom Dumoulin and Geraint Thomas, Millar believes that 2016 could go into the cycling annals as the year of legendary Grand Tour battles.

>>> Alberto Contador won’t rule out ending career at Vuelta a España

“This is the greatest generation of Grand Tour riders that we’ve ever seen,” he told Cycling Weekly.

“We had six Grand Tour winners (Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali, Contador, Nairo Quintana, Ryder Hesjedal and Alejandro Valverde) at the Tour de France last year.

“In my history of watching the sport, I’ve never seen anything like that.

>>> Chris Froome relishing ‘little arguments’ with Geraint Thomas in 2016

“We have Nibali, Quintana, Contador and Froome, as well as Dumoulin and G coming up, and Valverde is still chipping away.

“Grand Tours are more exciting now than I’ve seen in a very long time.”

Despite the Scotsman’s appraisal, he has no doubts that Team Sky’s Chris Froome will win this summer’s Tour, in what would be the Briton’s third success.

“Froome-dog,” he replied when asked to predict the winner. “It would be good to see Contador go out with a bang but I think Froome.

>>> Tour de France 2016 route revealed

“With Contador not doing the Giro this year, maybe we’ll see him one last time at his best against Froome, who will be at his best alongside Nibali.

“The last few Tours have been a bit of damp squib so hopefully we can have the race we haven’t really had in the past couple of years.

“We’ve had these Grand Tour winners going against each other but it’s fallen by the wayside, one by one.”

Watch: Men’s WorldTour contenders for 2016

Dumoulin’s performance at the Vuelta last year, when he relinquished the lead on stage 20 to Fabio Aru, impressed Millar who can now foresee the Dutchman challenging in Grand Tours on a regular basis.

>>> Nairo Quintana adds Vuelta a España to hectic 2016 schedule

The Giant-Alpecin rider is racing May’s Giro but skipping the Tour to prepare for the Olympic time trial, a schedule which pleases Millar, the 2010 Commonwealth Games time trial champion.

“In my eyes, after watching the Vuelta last year and seeing how he performed, he is the next big Grand Tour rider,” Millar, now 39, went on.

“He’s doing that classic development of not going straight in to the Tour.

“He’s got his head together in the way he really focused for the Vuelta and for the Giro this year.”

  • rominger

    I’m pretty sure I recall one or two names being mentioned by him from the Cofidis team including riders and doctors, and I recall a rumour about him telling the UCI a thing or two about Saunier Duval before leaving the team for slipstream.

  • ian franklin

    If it makes you happy. Best to go for a bike ride and relax! 120km today. It’s great here on the road.

  • MrHaematocrit

    How exactly has Millar worked hard for a clean sport? Did he talk to the CIRC report, Nope.. Lance did as did many others. – has Millar ever named anyone who assisted him or others with doping?. Has Millar stated how he obtained banned substances or who else was aware of what he was doing? – He is untruthful, unreliable and a cheat, he still keeps the Omerta while trying to present the image of a reborn hero making the right noises when it suits. If you want me to stop giving him a hard time, all you have to do is show me anything he has done to further a clean sport. I do agree we should leave all him alone as my first comment suggested.. Why are we still giving this doper press !

  • sadfan

    nibali, quintana and rodriguez not mentioned?

  • Tim packer

    The French riders dont do any good in their national tour because they can’t DOPE up to their eyeballs any more.. This probably explains why that doper jalabert dosent like Chris froome .. How can this ex doper accuse froome of being ‘ not normal’ when all of jalaberts victorys were won on dope!!!

  • ian franklin

    I couldn’t disagree with you more. If you do wrong and are properly punished, that’s enough. Or don’t you think so?

  • Dan Cole

    Why not – everyone else has…!!

  • Andrew Bairsto

    Not a patch on Van Looy,Anquetil,Merckx,and many many more .

  • Andrew Bairsto

    He is still an ex doper who should not be given press room.

  • ian franklin

    Ex-doper has worked hard for a clean sport and has served his time. Leave him alone, please.

  • MrHaematocrit

    Why is this doper still given press.

  • J1

    Don’t forget the French riders.