David Millar and Bradley Wiggins will start the World Championships time trial in Copenhagen on Wednesday amongst the favourites.
“Wiggins and Millar are my biggest rivals,” said German heavyweight, Tony Martin, “but I wouldn’t rule out [Fabian] Cancellara.”
Cancellara won the time trial for a record fourth time last year in Geelong, Australia. Millar finished second and went on to win the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games 10 days later.
Millar trained on the course on Sunday and, yesterday, followed Under 23 rider Mark Christian in the team car with British coach Rod Ellingworth.
Despite Martin’s tip, Millar ruled himself out of a likely medal ride.
“It’s not for me,” he told Cycling Weekly. “Even if I was on fire, this course isn’t the sort of thing I’d like. I’d prefer one like last year, where it’s up and down, tempo changing – something more technical, more roadman-esque.”
Christian covered two laps of a 17.6-kilometre circuit yesterday but the elite riders will race two laps of a 23.2-kilometre circuit – one that adds an extra loop through the Charlottenlund park north of the city centre.
“It’s one for the big guys, like [German] Bert Grabsch or [Canadian] Svein Tuft,” said Millar. “Obviously, Cancellara is always good.”
“I’m okay, but I am not as good as I’d like to be. I’ll do my job, but Bradley will do a good ride. He will be flying the flag for us.”
Millar last raced at the Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg, Germany. Following the birth of his son Archibald, he skipped the Tour of Britain and spent time training at home.
“If I am on a magic day I will be there,” he explained, “but I haven’t had any racing for a month.”
This perhaps begs the question as to why Millar was chosen over Olympic time trial hopeful Alex Dowsett or Vuelta sensation Chris Froome.
However Millar’s expertise and experience should prove valuable in Sunday’s road race where the British team will be hoping to set up Mark Cavendish for the win.
Wiggins told Cycling Weekly on Sunday that “it’s difficult to say” who will prevail because “the one day time trial is so much different to those in a stage race.”
Just over a week ago, Wiggins finished the Vuelta a España stage race third overall behind Sky team-mate Froome. He said that he is aiming for a medal in Copenhagen.