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David Millar interview
David Millar. Winner of Stage 1, holder of the yellow leader's jersey, the green points jersey and the white youth jersey spoke with Gabriella Ekström after his winning ride.
GA: Congratulations on the victory and the jerseys.
DM: Thank you very much.
GA: Can you explain to me what was going through your head during the race?
DM: I was just concentrating on the time. Concentrating on doing the race of my life. I knew the course was perfectly suited for me, and I had great form. I've never pushed myself so hard in a race before, and I was absolutley dead when I passed the line.
GA: Did you really believe that you could beat riders like Lance Armstrong and World TT Champion Jan Ullrich?
DM: Yeah, I thought it was possible, and during the race it became apparent that I could. I soon realized that I was capable of doing it, but I had to try and keep something in reserve to the end as well. My main ambition before the Tour was to go for the White Jersey.
GA: But in the end you got more than a white jersey...
DM: Yeah, I did. My ambition now is to keep the U25 jersey all the way to Paris and Champs Elysees.
GA: Do you have any ambitions for the second TT in July 21st?
DM: No, I'll just take it easy and try to survive from here, but I expect the team to go well in the Team Time Trial. (Stage four, from Nantes to Saint Nazaire.)
GA: Do you ride with any new equipment during the Tour?
DM: No. I have a beautiful bike that works perfectly and I've had it all year.
GA: Final question. Have you bought a new book to read during the race?
DM: Yes, 'A Man In Full' by Tom Wolfe.
GA: Good luck during the rest of the race, David!
Born: January 4, 1977,
in Malta, Nationality: Scottish
Teams: Cofidis (1997-2000)
1997: Stage win in
Tour de l'Avenir
Quotes for the day
Lance Armstrong (USPS, 2nd) "It was a hard effort. I didn't really think the course would be as hard as it was, but with the wind in the face it was tough. I'm very happy for Dave Millar, as he is friend of mine. If I have to be beaten by someone who is not a team mate, then it was good that it was him."
Alex Zülle (Banesto, 6th) "I'm pretty happy. I only lost 20 seconds on the top guys. It's goo, my confidence is there."
Abraham Olano (ONCE, 11th) "I've never really felt like I was in the rhythm yesterday. My legs felt tired - probably because I haven't been racing."
The hematocrit rule strikes again
Just a few hours before the start of stage one in Futuroscope, the peloton was reduced to 177 courtesy of three non-starters. Andrej Hauptman (Vini Caldirola), Russian champion Serguei Ivanov (Farm Frites) and Rossano Brasi (Polti) were declared unfit to start for health reasons courtesy of the 50% hematocrit rule. In addition, their hemaglobin levels were too high as part of the UCI's more 'in depth' test. These riders will be given a mandatory two week suspension, but they may face more than that depending on how their teams react.
28 year-old Brasi, of Richard Virenque's Polti squad will be a big loss to the team in the team time trial on Tuesday. Brasi was one of their strong workhorses, and will not be able to help Virenque (72nd today) erase the 1.31 time deficit to the leader. Brasi has been suspended by his team until he can give "reasonable explanation" for his level, according to sources. According to the team, his two most recent hematocrit tests were in the normal range.
Vini Caldirola lost a strong Slovenian in Hauptmann - he was second in their national championships last weekend and was picked for their team. Now, it has come to nothing for the 25-year old, who will pack his bags and await further orders from the team.
Farm Frites suffered a big blow in losing Ivanov, as he was one of their best prospects for a sprint win out of a small breakaway group. Dion van Bommer, Farm Frites team doctor said that "I don't have an explanation. A few days ago we tested the riders and everybody was under 50 percent. We don't take riders with us to the Tour who are at risk. With Dave Bruylandts we had a problem some months ago, but this is something different. Ivanov has a high hematocrit level now, so we will test him again within two weeks. Of course we will be very careful with this case. It's about people and about medical things."
There were no problems with the blood test. "Everything went okay and according to the rules. Two blood values were taken and seven measurements of each, all of them gave too high a level. But how this happened is a miracle for me," said van Bommer.
Tour director, Jean-Marie Leblanc was quoted as saying that "it is proof that the test works," adding that there will be very strict enforcing of the controls this year. "We will be very severe toward those who are found cheating, and not only the riders - if syringes are found in the team cars or the hotels as well."
"The Tour is a monument for cycling. Our duty is to protect it, and we will do it without fear. The credibility of our sport is under scrutiny for the next three weeks."
No yellow for Armstrong
Lance Armstrong was not wearing the yellow jersey that he won last year at the start in the first stage today. That is only allowed when there is a prologue, however a prologue has to be less than 10 kilometers.
Spaniard David Etxebarria (ONCE) was a casualty of the first stage time trial in Futuroscope, falling heavily. When he was catching Telekom's Gian Mateo Fagnini with three kilometres to go, he was coming round the corner and there was a Telekom car behind him. There was a collision and Etxebarria T-boned a wall. He didn't break his shoulder, but he had to have two stictches and sustained massive bruising. After treatment, the 26 year old was given the all clear to ride by the team doctors, although he is not looking too crash hot.
In last year's Tour, he won two stages and is a vital part of the ONCE squad who are the favourites to take out the team time trial.
Marcel in the polka-dot jersey
Festina had a cunning plan to win one of the jerseys today, despite the fact that they had riders in contention for the overall win (Beloki and Moreau). The first polka dot jersey for the best climber was awarded to the rider with the fastest time up the Cote de Jaunay-Clan. In a surprising result, sprinter Marcel Wüst managed to snare the prize.
Wüst began the stage on his road bike arrived at the foot of the climb and launched the sprint of his life. Powering up the 3.7% grade Wüst reached the top as the fastest rider to date, he then pedaled a little easier and took a bike change to his Specialized custom time trial bike. His finishing time of 21 min. 21 sec. was good enough for 142nd out of 177 finishers but at least he had the climber's jersey.
An added bonus is that there will not be another King of the Mountains (KOM) point on a stage until next Wednesday so Wüst and the team are assured of a little more podium time for at least four days.