David Millar heads into this year’s Giro d’Italia with many options, but his two goals are clear: a stage win and a chance to wear the leader’s pink jersey.
“It’s the first week really, to have a good prologue and to help Tyler [Farrar] in the first two days,” Millar told Cycling Weekly.
“Then the team time trial is a very big objective for me and the team. If we can’t only win that but also take one of us to the pink jersey, that would be amazing. That is my principle goal, and then after that I’ll wing it.”
Millar is not winging the opening 8.4-kilometre time trial through the heart of Amsterdam Saturday though. If he wins the stage and pulls on the leader’s pink jersey there’s a chance he could hold it though to the eighth stage to Monte Terminillo.
The Scot and his Garmin-Transitions team-mates saw part of the time trial course this morning, but will have to wait until Saturday morning to see the full course.
“It was different than what we expected: narrow and technical. We really only have that one hour Saturday morning to look at the course when it is closed off. We don’t know know exactly where they’re going to put up the barriers so we can’t plan anything yet.”
If the route does include lots of tight corners, it may end up suiting the punchy riders, like Alexandre Vinokourov, who can sprint as well as time trial, but should be too long for the sprinters. Millar deflected the pressure of winning over to his main rival, Bradley Wiggins.
“I think Bradley is probably the favourite for Saturday. This has been his big goal and he is very good about hitting his goals. I would put him as the favourite, but I think I’ll be up there, for sure.”
If Millar fails to win the time trial, he will have another chance to pull on the pink jersey on Wednesday during the race’s first stage in Italy; a 32.5-kilometre team time trial, from Savigliano to Cuneo.
Garmin won the team time trail and put American Christian Vande Velde in pink for one day in 2008. Last year, Garmin lost a head-to-head battle with team Columbia, but looks ready to get revenge.
“I think Sky will be good, but if there is any one team, I would say team Liquigas based on its track record. But Sky will definitely be up there and I think it will essentially be a three-horse race,” Millar said, seemingly discounting HTC Columbia’s chances this year.
After Cuneo, Millar will continue to fight for a stage win but also help Vande Velde in the overall classification. The American is racing to prepare for the Tour de France, as Wiggins is, but will take the chance to win the overall if the opportunity arrives.
“You never know, he always does his best when he comes into these things relaxed. He says he feels better than he did before the Tour last year, and he was top 10 there. Anything is possible, but at the same time the Tour remains his number one goal.”
Cycling Weekly’s 2010 Giro d’Italia coverage in association with