There are some cyclists who are not mentioned very often in the media, and then there are those who often end up in the media but who I still forget to mention. David Millar belongs to the latter group. I find him interesting, he has gone through a lot and has become a spokesperson against doping. He has confessed that he doped during some parts of his career. What I seem to have forgetten, though, is the fact that he actually rides his bike and does fairly well. It's not fair to (always) ask for his views concerning doping cases. He's also an accomplished cyclist.
Millar won the final time trial in the three days of De Panne twelve years ago. Now he is back. He finished seventh in the first stage of the stage; 13 seconds behind the stage winner, Steve Chainel.
"I hope we get through tomorrow well and then I want to win the GC," he said after the first stage.
David Millar was part of a breakaway most part of the day and he thought the group was slightly odd and the weather was quite boring. I know I dislike cross winds, and so does many cyclists.
"It was relentless. We went from kilometre zero and it was racing in the cross winds and we didn't stop once. It's very rare that we do that in bike racing. It was an extremely hard day," Millar said.
Today, De Panne is determined. The riders will race two stages during the day. A road race and finally a time trial. Millar can perhaps win the time trial, and if he's good enough then he can surely win the GC. There is a big chance though that someone else "steals" the victory from the Briton.
There will be no Giro d'Italia (May 8-30) for Mark Cavendish, HTC-Columbia manager Bob Stapleton told. Instead he'll race the Tour of California (May 16-23).
The Manxman won four stages of last year's Giro before taking six stages at the Tour de France. He was close of winning the points classification last year during the Tour de France. This year he will really try to win the points classification and therefore he'll skip the Giro, which is not that important for him personally.
"We are also pleased to have Mark Cavendish back in winning form," said Bob Stapleton. "Infections resulting from dental work in December undermined his training and delayed his start of the season. He won his first race of the season in Cataluña last week."
"We believe Mark will be very strong at the Tour de France and the balance of the season. He will join the team in California and we are very optimistic about his chances for success there."
Cavendish had a difficult start to the season. He had a toothache and after dental visit, he could still not compete much. He crashed at Tirreno-Adriatico. Hopefully it'll be better now ...
Okay, I am done with school today. Time to go home. Or at least I can start thinking about going home. I am starting to feel a bit gloomy about being in Motala, but I know that I'll return to Nyköping tomorrow, and therefore I should try to be happy.
Both Heinrich Haussler and Andreas Klier are injured. This mean that Thor Hushovd will be Cervelo TestTeam's leader at this weekend's Tour of Flanders. His major Classics goal is still Paris-Roubaix, but surely he would like a good result on Sunday.
"I'd rather be good on Sunday because then I know my form is there [for Roubaix], but we'll see what happens," Hushovd said.
During the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen Harelbeke last week Hushovd was forced to abandon the race after 14 kilometer. He was food poisoned and couldn't continue. Hours later, Klier crashed and suffered severe concussion at the same race.
"I was vomiting just before the start [of E3 Prijs]. I had nothing left, so I just turned around," Hushovd said. "This year everything's gone a little bit against us - it's bad, but hey, things happen."
They have not been lucky this year. But perhaps this is good. They have less pressure to win. Still they have a lot of pressure to do well. The teams and fans know that Thor Hushovd can win. Even without a strong team.
"Of course it makes it more difficult without Heinrich and Andreas Klier, but I just have to race my race and try to do as well as I did last year. Then it's up to the legs to see if I can be there for the win or not." Said Thor Hushovd.