MILLAR FEELS TOUR DE FRANCE NERVES

David Millar posed happily in the new Garmin jersey on Thursday but admitted he is little bit nervous before the Tour de France.

This year?s Tour will be Millar?s seventh but at 31 he knows he might be able to ride many more.

?In my first Tour in 2000 I felt I?d be doing Tour de France’s for ever, but I?m 31 and the clock is ticking,? Millar admitted.

?I?m looking forward to this race. I?m nervous because I?ve based my whole year around it but I?ve also I?m also confident I?ve done everything right and I?m going to enjoy it.?

126 RIDERS TESTED ON THURSDAY

On Thursday the AFLD said on its website that they had carried out 126 blood tests on 14 of the 20 teams, with the others to be done on Friday morning.

The AFLD said they also did six urine tests. In the past the UCI have carried supplementary urine tests for EPO after a suspect blood test. However it is not clear if the six tests are part of an investigation of possible irregularities at this year?s Tour de France.

COFIDIS TO QUIT PROTOUR

The French Cofidis team has announced it will not apply for a ProTour licence for 2009 but instead take out a Professional Continental licence and focus on a more European calendar.

The announcement is another nail in the coffin for the ProTour and the UCI. Other teams are expected to follow Cofidis and abandon the season-long series as they realise they can ride the races that best suit their sponsor?s needs without the burdening cost of the ProTour.

Several teams, including Garmin and Tinkoff, have shown it is possible to get an invitation to the Tour de France and other major races, and other teams are considering the same strategy.

Cofidis team manager Eric Bouyer is the president of the international teams association and has sided with the Tour de France organisers in the power struggle with the UCI. He probably knows the French team will always get a ride in the Tour de France and has calculated that the cost of the ProTour far outweighs the possible return obtainable in many of the ProTour races.

GEROLSTEINER STRUGGLE TO FIND SPONSOR

Gerolsteiner team manager Hans-Michael Holczer was hoping to arrive in Brest and announce a new sponsor for the German team. Instead he has admitted he is still looking for a backer for 2009 as time starts to run out.

Holczer said he will continue the search and only make a final decision to disband the team after the Tour de France.

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