David Millar fell just short of becoming the first Brit to take the leader’s jersey in all three Grand Tours on Wednesday. He and his Garmin-Transition team-mates closed the team time trial at the Giro d’Italia 49 seconds shy of winners Liquigas, meaning Millar missed a chance to wear the pink jersey by 45 seconds.
“I know,” Millar said of the near miss, “but hey, that’s life.”
It was the second time in as many stages that the American team fell short of taking the leader’s jersey. American Tyler Farrar won stage two on Sunday and looked poised to take the lead if he finished in the top three the following day, but crashes ruined the day.
Millar, however, stayed near the front and ended Monday’s stage just one second back of leader Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) – a perfect striking distance for the team renowned for its time trialling. There were two factors they had to overcome: racing without Christian Vande Velde, who abandoned on Monday, and the heavy rain.
“Obviously, in these sorts of disciplines you need everything you have and missing Christian was a big… It was just sad really.”
Without Vande Velde, it was up to Millar to guide his younger team-mates over the 33 kilometres from Savigliano to Cuneo. Garmin crossed the line with a time of 37’26”, which netted them an eighth overall. Millar smiled in the end, it was a good ride with his young team-mates, Jack Bobridge and Cameron Meyer.
“We did really well because we have a young team. Jacky Bobby and Cam Meyer, they both did an amazing ride. He [Bobridge] was not at his best today, but he is an Under 23 World Champion, impressive.”
Garmin posted the eighth fastest time at the halfway point and seventh fastest over the second half, where the road rose slightly and became more technical.
“It was hard, harder than it looked,” said Millar. “The first half was fast, but then the second half was actually quite hard, you could notice getting difficult. We were going well, but it just started to catch up with us, one by one, we became more and more tired. It was a deceptive parcours.
“The rain was unfortunate. Thank God it wasn’t that technical.”
The team’s determination kept Millar in the overall classification battle, though he slipped to ninth overall. Millar sits 45 seconds behind new leader Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo).
Giro d’Italia 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index
2010 Giro d’Italia coverage in association with Zipvit