David Millar’s main rival in winning the overall at The Three Days of De Panne today is Andriy Grivko. The four-time time trail champion of Ukraine leads Scot Millar by 12 seconds ahead of this afternoon’s time trial.
“My goal is to win the time trial, if I do that then I win the stage and the overall,” Grivko told Cycling Weekly. “Millar is in form, though, so it will be a war.”
Millar (Garmin-Transitions) came to De Panne with the goal of wining the overall, buoyed by his time trail win in the Critérium International’s afternoon stage last week over Grivko’s famous team-mate, Alberto Contador.
Millar took his first step to winning the three-day, four-stage race Tuesday in Oudenaarde when he made the winning seven-man group. Grivko fought back in yesterday’s driving rain, escaping from the start and finishing 41 seconds ahead of Millar at the finish in Sint-Idesbald.
Paris-Nice’s opening time trial was the last head-to-head battle between the two. In the eight-kilometre stage in Montfort-l’Amaury, France, Millar finished seventh, five seconds faster than Grivko.
“I was not at Paris-Nice to win the time trial,” Grivko explained. “We were all there for Alberto [Contador] and so my motivation was different. I have prepared to win this race and I am going even stronger now. I hope to do it.”
Millar has experience in De Panne, winning the final time trial in 1998 against Michele Bartoli. No matter who wins the war 12 years on, it is clear Grivko respects his older rival.
“He is ‘bravo’, one of the great riders.”