David Millar has been controversially omitted from the Garmin-Sharp team that will be built around Andrew Talansky at the Tour de France this year.
The 37-year-old Millar today communicated via Twitter that he would not be in the squad after being told initially that he would line-up at the Grand Depart on home turf in Yorkshire where few British professionals will be.
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Defending Tour champion Froome as well as Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) will start the Tour on Saturday as the primary overall protagonists though it was Talansky that surprisingly best the two at the Dauphine earlier this month.
The Dauphine is a good litmus test for the Tour and Talansky secured the yellow jersey there earlier this month on the final stage putting more than a minute into overnight leader Contador. Froome won the race last year before going on to claim his maiden Tour title and Bradley Wiggins did the same before him.
Garmin-Sharp sports director Charly Wegelius said Talansky’s victory did not alter the intended Tour team.
“Andrew’s [Dauphine] performance was really just a confirmation of what we knew was his potential and it’s a really big step for him in terms of self-belief and the belief that he can be competitive with that small group of riders,” Wegelius told Cycling Weekly prior to the Tour team announcement.
“But internally the team was always aware of that and Andrew was always in first person more than anybody aware of that so fundamentally it doesn’t actually change the structure of the [Tour] team or the strategy. Andrew was always going to be one of our main priorities. Although it’s a really welcome and positive thing so close to a race like that, it doesn’t change the structure of the team very much.”
The 25-year-old Talansky spearheads the youthful Tour squad that also includes Tom-Jelte Slagter, Alex Howes, Ben King, Sebastian Langeveld, Ramunas Navardauskas, former Paris-Roubaix champion Johan Vansummeren, Janier Acevedo and Jack Bauer. Sprinter and Tour regular Tyler Farrar is also an omission.
“Andrew’s overall race is going to be a big priority and then on the side of that we’ve got Tom-Jelte Slagter. His profile as a rider suits a lot of stages in the Tour de France so he’s the next tier after that,” Wegelius said.
“The rest of the team that we’ve put together is what we hope is a mix of experienced riders able to manage certain situations on the road, riders who can get over climbs and riders who can ride on the flat. I think every single one of the riders we picked could win a stage in the Tour de France in their own right.
“I think it’s a good, balanced team that’s perfectly capable of obtaining the objectives that we’ve set.”