With six British riders in the Giro d?Italia, there are almost enough for an entire pro team? Cycling Weekly will be keeping tabs on them and awarding surely the most prestigious prize of them all? the Giro Britannia award for the best-performing Brit. It?s an esoteric competition with points awarded for a whole range of achievements. Obviously any stage wins would score highly, but getting in breaks, battling through the mountains and just being a great team-mate will also score well.
David Millar was an integral part of the Slipstream squad that won the team time trial in Palermo. Britain?s time trial champion put in a huge, powerful turn towards the end to ensure the boys in argyle finished strongly. He then lost touch and finished 19 seconds adrift of his team, sacrificing any chance he may have had to wear the pink jersey himself.
Perhaps it is the clearest example yet that Millar has grown up and relishes putting team above self.
You get the feeling Millar has battled through his entire career to find a squad like this. One of the times Millar seemed happiest was the day he lost the yellow jersey in the 2000 Tour de France as Cofidis finished well off the pace. Millar was bouncing after the stage, full of praise for his team-mates who turned themselves inside out for him.
A year later the French team introduced its controversial bonus payments system based on winning UCI points and team spirit bit the dust.
Slipstream?s ethos could be typified by the old cliché ?there?s no ?I? in team?. And as their manager Jonathan Vaughters said: ?Yes, David is a different guy now. That was very unselfish of him today. Very.?
In third place in the time trial were High Road, featuring Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish.
Charly Wegelius was part of the Liquigas squad that finished fourth and two more Brits and another couple of team pursuiters, Geraint Thomas and Steve Cummings helped steer Barloworld into a surprise fifth place.
It meant all six Brits in the Giro d?Italia found themselves in the top 40 overall at the end of day one.
Giro Britannia ride of the day
David Millar for putting personal ambition aside to help the team. As one of the strongest time trial riders in a team packed full of specialists, someone had to put it all on the line and as the squad?s captain on the road, Millar took the responsibility on his shoulders.
Barely a moment to pause for breath as the Giro d?Italia hit the Sicilian hills that split the field at the 1994 World Championships.
At the front, the results looked like a cross between a grand tour top ten and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Unsurprisingly, given his climbing ability and his role as chief back-up to Liquigas leaders Vincenzo Nibali and Franco Pellizotti, Charly Wegelius was the best of the Brits. Millar Millar lost a couple of minutes.
Best Brit ? stage 2
65. Charly Wegelius (Liquigas) at 54sec
35. Wegelius at 54sec
85. Millar at 2-14
133. Thomas at 7-55
134. Cummings at 8-00
145. Cavendish at 11-38
146. Wiggins same time
Giro Britannia ride of the day
Millar for his stint on the front as the race reached the hills. Honorable mention to Wegelius for staying with the leaders until the very last.
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: STAGE REPORTS
Stage two: Ricco wins Giro d’Italia second stage
Stage one TTT: Slipstream wins Giro team time trial
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: PHOTOS
Giro d’Italia 2008: Photo gallery. New photos added daily
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: NEWS
Millar celebrates Slipstream Giro d’Italia success
Bettini looking for final Giro glory
Astana’s troubled build-up to the Giro
Petacchi banned for Salbutamol positive
Yates and Astana make last minute rush to Giro
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: FEATURES
Giro Britannia: how the Brits are doing in Italy
Giro d’Italia 2008 preview
Giro d’Italia 2008: who will win?
Giro d’Italia 2008: The British are coming
Giro d’Italia on Eurosport: TV schedule