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Millar On Comeback Trail, Riding With Confidence
British cyclist David Millar had his best Tour de France ride in five years, placing third in Tuesday's time trial. Now, he's promising even more.
The 31-year-old Millar, who previously served a two-year ban after admitting to doping, had not placed in the top-three of a Tour stage since beating seven-time champion Lance Armstrong to win a time trial in 2003.
"I had a really good day today. It was nice to feel that all the work I did paid off," Millar said. "We'll see in the days ahead. I think I'm going to be better than anyone's ever seen me before."
Millar, who rides for the Chipotle team, finished the fourth stage behind winner Stefan Schumacher of Germany and Kim Kirchen of Luxembourg, who finished in second place by a fraction.
Both riders were timed 18 seconds behind Schumacher on the 18.3-mile course around Cholet.
It was a nice turnaround for Millar, who was banned for two years in 2004 and stripped of his 2003 world time-trial title after admitting to using the endurance-booster EPO.
He missed the 2004 and 2005 Tours, and came back with the Saunier Duval team in 2006, placing 58th overall, and then 69th last year.
"I was away for two years and it's taken me two years to get back," Millar said. "I feel like I'm back on top of it. I've got my confidence back again. I have the people around me to give that confidence."
Millar was referring to the team's owner, Jonathan Vaughters, a former U.S. Postal teammate of Armstrong.
"This is the most I've ever enjoyed cycling and I've helped built this team," Millar said. "It kind of reflects my personality and Jonathan's. It's fun all the time, there are not really any defining moments."
In 2003, he won a time trial on the 19th stage, and also won the 2000 prologue, beating Armstrong both times and earning a reputation as one of cycling's most talented riders.
Riding into a strong headwind, Millar felt he handled the conditions well on a technical course.
"It was a good course, there was a bit of everything," he said. "It was the wind that made it, a block headwind and a tail wind on the way back. It was not a classic time trial course, it was quite technical."