David Millar narrowly missed another chance to don the Tour de France’s yellow jersey today after his Garmin-Sharp team fizzled in the Nice time trial.
“It would’ve been a nice bookend to my career, but that would’ve maybe been a bit too perfect,” Millar said. “Life’s not fair.”
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Millar won the yellow jersey 13 years ago, in 2000, in his first participation of the Tour. He won the time trial in Futuroscope and kept the lead for three days.
Following Saturday’s lost opportunity, Millar missed out again today at the close of a 25-kilometre time trial test. Garmin-Sharp, winner of the 2011 time trial, managed sixth best. He and his team raced the course in 26-13 minutes, but were 17 seconds slower than winner Orica-GreenEdge at 25-56.
“It was hard not to have [thoughts of the yellow jersey] in my head beforehand,” Millar added while warming down on a turbo trainer.
“You try to switch off and think about the job to do rather than the reward, but it was such a big thing and it came so close on Sunday and it was unavoidable to think about it. I’m very disappointed to be honest.”
On Sunday, Garmin only needed to close down the gap to the escape to put Millar in yellow. Instead, one rider, Jan Bakelants (RadioShack-Leopard), stayed clear.
Bakelants enjoyed two days in the jersey before Orica’s Simon Gerrans take over today.
‘We did our best’
Millar’s team – along with Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Sky – was favoured to win today. With engines like Christian Vande Velde and Ramunas Navardauskas, and its pedigree, it could have fulfilled Millar’s perfect scenario.
Garmin, instead, rolled through the first time check already down four seconds on Omega Pharma and ended its run at 16 seconds back. Orica came through and pushed Millar’s team back further.
“I wasn’t on a good day and that lost us some time, but we were beaten fair and square,” Millar added.
“We would’ve been better on a slightly technical up and down course, we have four strong guys mainly for the flats and all of our GC guys, like Ryder Hesjedal and Dan Martin, are built for uphill, not flat. I think we did a great ride; it’s not as if we made any mistakes.”
Millar, when hugging his sister Fran, was visibly disappointed not to have won the yellow jersey again.
“I gave myself a reasonable chance because history dictates we preformed well in team time trials,” he said. “We’ve done all the training and we got all the equipment, but Omega obviously had the bigger engines.”
He said that his days of chasing yellow are over. He is now completely dedicated to the team’s GC, trying to help Hesjedal win a yellow jersey of his own.