MILLAR TAKES TOUR DE FRANCE CLIMBER’S JERSEY
“This helps enormously to make up for the disappointment of the prologue”
David Millar (Saunier Duval) made up for his disappointing ride the prologue in London on Sunday by going on the attack on the roads through Kent and taking the climber’s competition polka-dot jersey.
Millar was the first rider to get a gap after just 3.5km of the 203km stage and powered cleared alone before being caught by four other riders that formed the key break of the stage from London to Canterbury.
The 30 year-old Scot was on a mission to take the climber’s jersey and boost his moral after his 13th place in the prologue. He carefully collected points on the three category four climbs and then sat up, knowing the break would be caught and the stage would end in a sprint.
Millar was overjoyed to pull on the polka-dot jersey, only his second climber's jersey since the Vuelta Valenciana in 1999 and his first in the Tour de France. He confirmed he would try and keep it as long as possible and try and win another stage during the Tour.
“I came 13th yesterday and that’s my place at the moment but I don’t like not being in the race. My time trialing form isn’t very good at the moment but by my road racing is, so I decided to use that instead,’ Millar explained.
“This helps enormously to make up for the disappointment of the prologue. Fortunately, today was one of those days when I was at my tactical best. I waited that the first wave of attacks had slowed and I waited until the road was narrow and we were all strung out. Even dropping off the break was thought out because I knew I was guaranteed I’d get the jersey.”
“I’m going to try and defend it until we hit the big hills but I’ve got no illusion of keeping this in the big mountain stages, that’s for sure. I’ll win a stage before the end of the Tour I’m pretty sure of that. I don’t know which one because I tend to decide the night before.”
Millar was happy to be in a special Tour de France jersey and also enjoyed being off the front with the British public along the road cheering his name.
“It was nice to see so many flag and my name painted on the road and hear everyone one was cheering my name. It’s nice to hear David being called out with a British accent instead of a French one. It was great and I want to say a big thank you to everybody for coming out and supporting us.”
Millar's aggressive ride in Kent and being the first British rider to wear the polka-dot jersey since Robert Millar in 1986 was the best way of paying back the estimated two and a half million people who came out and cheered for the Tour de France during the opening two days in Britain.