MILLAR CONFIRMS GIRO DEBUT
Both Slipstream boss Jonathan Vaughters and his star rider David Millar have said they view the Briton’s participation in the Giro as the key to a great Tour de France.
Millar will co-lead the Slipstream team at the Giro this May, his first ever participation in the Italian stage race, before going on to ride the Tour for the sixth time.
Vaughters also denied that the team in general, and Millar in particular, would be over-stretched by doing the Giro-Tour double.
“There’s always been this theory that Dave is kind of vulnerable and can’t handle doing the Giro before going all out in the Tour.” Vaughters told CW.
“But in fact he was going best all season straight after the Tour last year, in August when he won the British nationals.”
“I think that he’s got to the point in his career, where he needs to get a long course of racing to really hit top form. In his case, that would be the Giro."
Vaughters confirmed that their aim is to get Millar into top condition for the first week of the Tour, where the Briton can get within striking distance of the yellow jersey - via riding the Giro.
It’s a tactic which, coincidentally or not, was also used by triple Tour winner Greg LeMond - whose former trainer Adri Van Diemen, now works with the Scot.
“Doing the Giro fits in with our Tour plans, and at the same time it’s a huge honour in any case to be doing the second biggest stage race in the calendar.” Vaughters pointed out.
Slipstream will be racing with the bulk of the ‘A’ Tourteam in the Giro, consisting of “the two Daves [Zabriskie and Millar], Christian Vandevelde, Tom Danielson, Julian Dean....”
'With four time trials in the Giro, I'm going to have lots of opportunities' – David Millar
“It’s a great challenge, one I haven’t really got my head round yet but I’m pleased that it’s happening.” Millar added.
“We’ll have none of the pressure of the Tour de France, but all of the opportunities to make a big impact. Up until now I’ve always done the Tour and the Vuelta, so this is a good change.”
“I want the Giro to be a good build-up for the Tour, and with four time trials in the Giro this year, I’m going to have lots of opportunities as well.”
After the Giro, Slipstream will do some altitude training in St. Moritz, meaning that Millar will miss out on his usual build-up race for the Tour, the Dauphine Libere - again, a new departure.
The Giro are expected to announce their team line-ups in the next couple of weeks - Slipstream have yet to be confirmed for the line-up, although unofficially it is common knowledge that is the case.
However, the Tour are refusing to say even when they will be letting the names for their team line-ups out of the bag or when they have anything decided. “We don’t plan on releasing that information to the press for now.” a Tour spokesman told CW on Monday.
Analysis: Giro-Tour double too much too soon for Slipstream?