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2002 Vuelta

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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

58th Vuelta a España - Spain, September 6-28, 2003

David Millar interview

Hamilton in mind

David Millar added an unexpected podium finish to his palmares when he finished second in yesterday's stage 6 time trial in Zaragoza. A Vuelta stage win is still part of the Scottish time trial specialist's game plan, and then there's a bigger target, as he tells Hernán Alvarez Macías.

Flying in stage 6
Photo: © AFP
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David Millar showed his ability in the first individual time trial in the Vuelta a España 2003 in the streets of Zaragoza yesterday. Sitting at 172nd on GC meant that Millar was one of the first riders away in the TT, and his extraordinary time made him virtual stage winner for almost three hours. In the end, only Isidro Nozal, with an amazing tempo, could beat him in the last ride of the afternoon.

Even though he didn't win the stage, Millar seemed very pleased with his second place and showed once again that he is among the top three specialists in this discipline. Although he missed out this time on the flowers and the kisses from the podium girls that are the stage winner's reward for vanquishing everyone, Millar knows the sweetness of success in the Vuelta with two victories here in 2001. His next opportunity will come on stage 13 in Albacete with the Vuelta's second ride against the clock, and as he told us in a quick interview, that's just one of his remaining objectives for the season.

Cyclingnews: How do you feel after this time trial?

David Millar: Good, good. I'm feeling better every day. I'm very happy with my result today.

CN: Do you think that maybe you were able to win today?

DM: No, in the last few days I didn't expect to win today. I was sure of that, I thought I would be around fourth or fifth place today. So, I'm surprised I was second.

CN: What do you think about Isidro Nozal's performance?

DM: He had an exceptional day I think. He is good in time trials, but that's definitely an exceptional day and he did a good ride.

CN: Did you think for a while that you were going win because nobody could beat your time until Isidro appeared?

Suffering in stage 3
Photo: © AFP
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DM: Yeah. I was surprised because I know I'm not doing my best, so to see all the favorites coming behind me really surprised me. I didn't think I was doing a winning ride - which it wasn't as it turns out. I didn't feel that I was riding fast enough to win. I had no illusion about winning.

CN: What is your impression of the race, considering that the Vuelta is about to start one of the most important parts in the Pyrenees?

DM: My ambition is to prepare for the World Championships. I planned to be in my best form for the next month. I will be 100 percent (physically) for October for the World Championships. So, at the moment I'm still around 80, 85 percent. I'm happy, I'm good. It's just all going to plan. The only thing on my head is the World Championships; anything else is not important for me right now.

CN: But are you aiming to win one of the next time trials?

DM: Yes, I would like to win in Albacete. That's my first objective in this Vuelta. So, yeah, I will be disappointed if I don't win in Albacete.

CN: What is the main objective of your team, Cofidis, in this Vuelta España?

DM: Our main objective is to win stages here. The overall does not interest us at all. So far, we have done quite well with the win by Luis (Pérez) the first day. That was an incredible win and I hope to win at least one stage before the end.

CN: How do you prepare to face the difficult mountain stages that you are about to face in the Pyrenees?

DM: I'm hoping that my condition is getting better, so I should hopefully be comfortable. The idea is that I do the minimum to get to the finish. I'm trying to save myself so that I don't tire myself out.

CN: Have you done any special preparation for the tough climbs considering that you are a time trial specialist?

DM: No special preparation, nothing. It's hard psychologically so you've got to tell yourself it's going to be very hard and just suffer, basically.

CN: And talking about this year, on balance, what can you say about this season?

DM: I had an off-and-on year once again, with injuries and sickness. But overall I'm happy. Although it's not finished, it's been a good year.

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