He was the first to attack after 20km and then jumped away alone 30km from the finish in Barcelona. He was still a minute in front of the bunch with ten kilometres to go and the crashes on the greasy roads slowed the peloton but he was caught with just over a kilometre to go as the climb to the finish at the Montjuic kicked in.
“I’m pleased. I did everything I could. It was my home stage and I was extra motivated,” Millar told Cycling Weekly before going on the podium to collect the most aggressive rider prize.
He admitted that the attacked was fuelled by “Pure stupidity.”
“I’ve done that coast road so many times in training and I know it so well. I thought, I can have some fun here. Before I knew it I was off on my own and it was uh-oh… Then it was cat and mouse and seemed destined for failure.”
“When I knew it was going to be a wet finish, that played to my advantage, and I went for it. I felt pretty good but those big massive boulevards didn’t help me. It was five k straight and false flat as well. I was like come on…”
Millar bravely hung on as best he could, and finished 96th, 1-21 behind the leaders.
“When you turn around and see them coming up so quick, it’s like some one unplugging the power. You die immediately,” he explained.
“But it was good fun. I had fun out there. There were so many people along the road, it reminded me of the Canterbury stage in the Tour de France in England. It was worth being off the front just to see the crowds in Barcelona.”
Garmin has a string of second places and near misses this season. Millar tried to break their bad luck by changing his game plan for the Tour and going on the attack.
“We’re the eternal second. We’ve got to get that monkey off our backs,” he said.
“I want to win a stage here at the Tour, that’s what I’ve come here for. In all honesty I hadn’t even thought about trying in the first week. It was more of me letting my emotions over-run on my home roads. Hopefully, I won’t pay too much of a heavy price by being so aggressive. But I’ll be back next week looking for a stage win again.”
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