Britain?s David Millar spent Wednesday morning riding over the stage four Tour de France 29.5 kilometre time trial route – where he may be in with a chance of the yellow jersey.
Garmin-Chipotle chartered a plane for the entire team to go to Cholet, the start and finish town for the Tour de France?s first time trial.
Millar then rode the entire course, which he described to Cycling Weekly as ?rolling and not at all technical. Very straightforward.?
?It?s not even that exposed, and if there are cross-winds, it won?t have too much of an effect. It?s very much a standard Tour de France time trial course.?
Asked to name a favourite, Millar said ?all the usual contenders should be there.?
Milllar remained upbeat about his chance of getting yellow in the course, but pointed out that the 1.6 kilometre uphill finish at Plumelec on stage one – which the team visited afterwards en route to the race start at Brest – ?is a tough one.?
?Fabian Cancellara (CSC) will be the number one favourite, but he does have his bad days like everybody else and pops off occasionally.? Garmin-Chipotle manager Jonathan Vaughters told Cycling Weekly.
?David should be up there, in the top five at least.?
?The course itself is flattish, but it just rises and falls steadily, goes up for a kilometre, drops for a kilometre without any noticeable changes in gradient. There aren?t any technical bits at all. You barely need to corner.?
?It would actually have been a great course for [Garmin rider and Tour time trial winner] David Zabriskie? – not riding the Tour because of an injury.
Backstedt for the breaks
Asked about Magnus Backstedt, taking part in the Tour for Garmin-Chipotle Vaughters said that his options ?would depend a lot on how he is. He?s been ill and although the doctor says he?s all clear, we?re not sure yet how he?ll get on. He?s not done a lot of racing lately. We selected him for the Tour on faith.?
?He should be up there helping Julian [Dean, sprinter] out in the bunch gallops, hopefully make it into a few breakaways in the early days and maybe even do the odd field sprint himself.?
?He really wants another stage win [after taking one in 1998] – to add another notch to the bed-post, as it were.?
Vaughters had no regrets about not including new Irish champion and Route du Sud winner Dan Martin in the Tour line-up. ?He?s done brilliantly, but remember he?s a first year pro.?
?His longest race so far [as a pro] has been six days. The Tour would have been too much.?
?But next year, he?ll be in the Tour for sure!?
Garmin – similar but not the same
As for the new Garmin kit design, due to be revealed Thursday lunchtime, Vaughters wasn?t giving much away – except that argyll remains an integral part of the new outfit.
?It?s not that different, we thought Garmin would want to get rid of the argyll, but they didn?t. Which is fair enough.?
Tour de France 2008: Stage four info and preview
David Millar’s new Felt bike
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