Britain’s David Millar is hoping the hot form that delivered him to the time trial win at the Critérium International will also help him win the Three Days of De Panne (March 30-April 1) overall on the Belgian coast this week.
“Aggressiveness, you want to be aggressive,” Garmin-Transitions’ Millar told Cycling Weekly of the secret to racing. “I have to get through today, which is the big challenge, hoping to avoid any accidents.”
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De Panne is a three-day race with two stages on the final day, Thursday (April 1). Today’s opening stage is traditionally the toughest stage, where winds and steep, short climbs fraction the group.
Tomorrow and Thursday morning stages suit the sprinters, but Thursday afternoon’s time trial stage suits Millar. The race will be decided in the 14.75-kilometre time trial, double the distance of the stage he won at the Critérium International.
Millar’s last appearance in De Panne was in 2007 when he rode for Saunier Duval. He finished 16th overall and second in the final time trial.
“That year, I missed it [the move] on the first day, I don’t want to do that again.”
Millar stays in Ghent, Belgium, through Sunday’s Tour of Flanders and then returns to Girona, Spain, before Paris-Roubaix. He will support team-mates Johan Van Summeren and Martijn Maaskant in both races.
“I can do pretty well myself in Flanders,” added Millar, “but I will be there also to help Martijn and Johan. Roubaix, though, is definitely for the team.”
Following the Northern Classics, Millar will take a brief break and then rebuild for the Giro d’Italia in May.