With the Tour still reeling from the exclusion of Italy?s Riccardo Ricco, David Millar warns that the process of cleaning up the sport will not happen overnight.
?It?s going to be a long process,? the Garmin-Chipotle leader told Cycling Weekly at the start of stage 13 from Narbonne to Nimes on Friday morning.
?People who thought otherwise haven?t really understood the problem. It?s a question of time and keeping going in the direction we?re going in. Unfortunately some squads just haven?t assumed their responsibilities as much as others.?
Millar agreed that team mate Christian Vande Velde?s third place overall was indicative that despite the Ricco case, there are changes for the good.
?You look at Frank Schleck [second overall and with CSC-Saxo Bank, which also have a rigourous internal anti-doping plan] as well. We know with Christian for sure it?s like he?s clean, he?s clean as a whistle. He doesn?t do any kind of injections, or anything.?
?That should give people hope in these troubled times that somebody?s up there could possibly win the race who?s completely clean. There?s just as much good as there is bad, we mustn?t forget that.?
Millar agreed that Vande Velde?s success was motivating and that ?we?re not ruling out anything. We?re in reach of the win. It?s crazy. He?s exceeding our expectations, he?s as solid as a rock. It all bodes well for the second half of the race. He?s 32 and he?s always gone better in the third week of a major Tour.?
BACK TO BEZIERS
Today the race passes close to Beziers, where Millar won a very similar transition stage of the Tour back in 2002.
?That?ll bring back fond memories,? he added with a smile. ?But these days we?ve got the job of looking after Christian [Vande Velde].? – lying third overall.
?That?s good ?cos otherwise these stages would be a bit of a nightmare, just getting through them with nothing to do. We?ll be playing it defensively rather than offensively, I don?t think it?ll be that easy for echelons to form even though it?s very windy today.?
CAVENDISH READY FOR BUNCH SPRINT
Team sources in Columbia, meanwhile, said that Mark Cavendish was in good shape today – another stage which could end in a bunch sprint.
?He?s not as tired as he has been,? press officer Kristy Scrymgeour said. Could a fourth sprint win be on the cards?
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|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE REPORTS|
Stage 13: Cavendish takes fourth win
Stage 12: Cavendish makes it three
Stage 11: Arvesen wins
Stage 10: Evans takes yellow jersey by one second
Stage nine: Ricco wins in the Pyrenees
Stage eight: Cavendish wins again in Toulouse
Stage seven: Sanchez takes action-packed stage
Stage six: Ricco storms to win
Stage five: Cavendish takes first Tour win
Stage four: Schumacher wins TT and takes race lead
Stage three: Dumoulin wins stage from break
Stage two: Hushovd wins chaotic sprint
Stage one: Valverde wins
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: NEWS|
Ricco speaks on Italian television
Cavendish joins the all-time greats
Saunier Duval sack Ricco and Piepoli
Tour bosses say fight against doping continues
Ricco denies doping at the Tour
Saunier Duval pull out of Tour
Tour’s top ten changes
Ricco positive for EPO at Tour
Analysis: Tour de France rest day summary
Cavendish battles through Pyrenees
Evans suffers but takes yellow jersey [stage 10]
Analysis: Hautacam shakes up 2008 Tour
Ricco silences critics with solo attack in Pyrenees [stage nine]
Cavendish talks about his second stage win [stage eight]
Beltran heads home but doubts remain about other Tour riders
David Millar: the dope controls are working
Manuel Beltran tests positive for EPO at the Tour
Comment: How the Tour rediscovered its spirit
Doping back in Tour de France headlines
Millar: close but no cigar in Super-Besse [stage six]
Super-Besse shows form of main contenders [stage six]
Millar to go for yellow [stage six]
Team Columbia’s reaction to Cavendish’s win [stage five]
Cavendish talks about his Tour stage win
Tour comment: Why Evans should be happy [stage four]
Millar: Still aiming for Tour yellow jersey [stage 4]
Who is Romain Feillu?
Cavendish disappointed with stage two result
Millar too close to Tour yellow jersey
Stage 2 preview: A sprint finish for Cavendish?
Millar happy after gains precious seconds in Plumelec
Valverde delighted with opening Tour stage win
Comment: Is Valverde’s win a good thing for the Tour?
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: PHOTOS|
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: BLOGS|
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: GUIDE|