Millar has strong words about Bradley Wiggins and Sky Procycling
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Millar has strong words about Bradley Wiggins and Sky Procycling

by VeloNation Press at 7:15 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Scot states that Wiggins never showed gratitude for his 2009 Tour support

David MillarDavid Millar has criticised fellow Briton Bradley Wiggins as being ungrateful about the Garmin team’s dedication to him in the 2009 Tour de France, saying that the track specialist didn’t properly acknowledge the work that was done for him in the event.

“We [the Garmin team in 2009] made him. We basically rode him into that fourth place finish in the Tour de France,” he said in a controversial article in today’s Guardian. “It was not a one-man show. It was a team effort. He [Wiggins] wouldn't have hit the top 10 if he'd been on any other team so that's why I was so pissed off with him. He never once gave us the respect we deserved.

“Mark Cavendish understands the game – Brad doesn't. He's a natural-born leader, Cav, whereas Brad has no leadership skills. The way Cav is with his team-mates helps make him an incredible rider.”

Wiggins moved to the team after spending time with Cavendish’s HTC Highroad team, then called Columbia- Highroad. He had never shown Grand Tour potential, but in his year with Garmin he rode solidly for much of the Giro d’Italia, then stunning the cycling world with his fourth place in the Tour de France.

He possibly would have beaten multiple winner Lance Armstrong for third had he not lost time when the peloton split on stage three to La Grande-Motte.

Garmin general manager Jonathan Vaughters spoke afterwards about the work he had done with Wiggins to help him believe he could aim high in three week races; the rider instead gave the bulk of the credit to British Cycling.

He then broke his contract in moving to Team Sky for 2009, tussling with Garmin for several months amidst rumours that Sky’s lawyers would fight the American team for his signature. A settlement was eventually paid and Wiggins moved.

At the time there were rumours that Millar too wanted to go to the team. His sister Fran is closely involved with it, and he has worked alongside team principal Dave Brailsford for many years. However it was not to be, due to his suspension in the past for EPO use.

Although Millar is seen by most as a reformed character, and has spoken out against doping ever since returning in 2006 from a two year ban, the team’s zero tolerance policy meant that he was blocked.

“I would have loved [racing for Sky],” he admitted. “It hurts when I see that team staying in the same hotel as me, seeing people I've known for years. It's my world. Those are riders I should be alongside. But I'm banned.”

He is dismissive about the team’s approach in its first season. “They came across as big-headed and disrespectful. They held the rest of us in disdain for our methods and they belittled us,” he said. “We didn't like that. But they had a humbling Tour and made a huge realisation that they had to fit in. They also learnt you can't reinvent the wheel.”

Millar’s interview was conducted prior to Wiggin’s shock win in the Dauphiné. At the time he said that Wiggins’ 2009 performance was essentially a fluke. “I'll be very surprised if he made the top 10 of the Tour again. Very surprised,” he said.

The Dauphiné result may have changed his feelings on that matter. Even so, today’s interview shows that there is a tense relationship with Wiggins, and that the contract-breaking departure hasn’t been forgotten.


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