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Poor form at nationals costs Scot chance to ride final Tour on health grounds, Movistar's Alex Dowsett also out ...

David Millar has taken to Twitter to express his sadness and frustration at being left out of Garmin-Sharp’s team for the Tour de France despite the rider, who is in his swansong season, being told last week that he would be taking part in the race for the 13th and final time. Meanwhile, Alex Dowsett of Movistar is also out of the race as he struggles with his fitness.

Millar did not finish yesterday’s national championship road race and on Thursday had also failed to complete the time trial, and in the early hours of this morning the 37-year-old tweeted:

Today, Millar - a four-time stage winner and former wearer of the yellow jersey - broke the news to fans that he wouldn’t be in the race in a tweet that mentioned some of the other British riders who will be missing.

Confirming the team today which will be led by Critérium du Dauphiné winner Andrew Talansky, Garmin-Sharp sports director Charly Wegelius said: “Had David Millar been healthy, he would have been a phenomenal team member. We would have loved to have him.

“Unfortunately, as seen over the weekend, David is sick, so we were forced to make a difficult and sad decision. That said, I am confident that we have put together an excellent group of riders that will be best equipped to ride a great race and support Andrew.

“It’s going to be an exciting Tour and as always, we will look to animate the race and bring excitement home to our fans.”

Millar was back on Twitter this evening:

Meanwhile, Dowsett had been due to ride the Tour, and Stage 3 passes through his native Essex, but has been struggling with breathing problems leading Movistar’s management to reluctantly leave him out of the team announced today.

Despite the emergence of Great Britain as a major power in world cycling since the Tour’s last visit to these shores in 2007, it looks as though the race will get under way on Saturday with just three British riders participating – defending champion Chris Froome and Sky team mate Geraint Thomas, plus Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Mark Cavendish.

As William Fotheringham points out in the Guardian, that’s two fewer than the five who took to the start in London 2007, and in a year when the race returns to England, it seems certain that not a single rider born in the country  will participate.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

58 comments

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Ghedebrav [1100 posts] 2 years ago
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Three Brits... specifically a Kenyan, a Welshman and a Manxman. Pretty poor, really, though it's not that there aren't good Brit riders. It seems a perfect storm of injuries, egos, fatigue and form have brought us here.

It's sad for Millar, but he did have a good farewell dig on the Champs Elysee last year. The rider I'm especially sorry for is Ben Swift, given that he's a bona fide Yorkshireman.

BTW have Orica announced their final squad yet? If not, we could add a Yates into the mix.

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Flying Scot [921 posts] 2 years ago
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Absolute pish, the man was already selected, how much form can he lose in a week.

I hope Garmin and Sky bomb in the tour, leaving out the riders everyone wants to see.

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glynr36 [637 posts] 2 years ago
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Ghedebrav wrote:

Three Brits... specifically a Kenyan, a Welshman and a Manxman. Pretty poor, really, though it's not that there aren't good Brit riders. It seems a perfect storm of injuries, egos, fatigue and form have brought us here.

It's sad for Millar, but he did have a good farewell dig on the Champs Elysee last year. The rider I'm especially sorry for is Ben Swift, given that he's a bona fide Yorkshireman.

BTW have Orica announced their final squad yet? If not, we could add a Yates into the mix.

Just cause the tour goes through Yorkshire isn't reason to give someone a spot on the team.
You won't have a Yates in a grand tour yet, OGE said they wouldn't put them into them for a a few years.

Flying Scot wrote:

Absolute pish, the man was already selected, how much form can he lose in a week.

I hope Garmin and Sky bomb in the tour, leaving out the riders everyone wants to see.

Not just what he could have lost, but also what someone else could have gained.

I just hope this doesn't descend into the way the Wiggins thread went.
I'll settle all the arguments now, JV & the Garmin DS's know far far far more than anyone here on team selection.

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don simon [790 posts] 2 years ago
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It's a bit of a shame that there aren't more Brits in the line up, but teams have to select the riders that they believe will win and not the ones who score political points with the locals.
I hope the Welshman does well, but my money is on Contador.
It's also a bit of a shame that Millar has taken to Twitter, he's a guy that I like but this is just a tad undignified.
Anyway, what size is the Cervélo?

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Doctor Fegg [143 posts] 2 years ago
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@glynr36: They do know much more than anyone here about picking a winning team - but winning isn't everything.

Sponsors are in it for visibility - whether that comes from winning is largely immaterial. Millar and Wiggins would have guaranteed massive visibility in the UK for the Garmin, Sharp and Sky brands over the coming three weeks - let's be honest, Froome isn't exactly scintillating post-stage interview material.

Yes, I'm sure that Vaughters et al know much more than any of us about the best chances of winning. That needn't stop me thinking this decision is bad entertainment and therefore bad business.

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Flying Scot [921 posts] 2 years ago
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Millar probably has more experience at the front of the peloton than any rider with a shot at the tour, Voigt has more starts, but not as much success, I would only leave him out this year if I thought he couldn't finish.

I don't understand trade teams leaving out big names like Wiggins and millar if they have a chance.

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Jonny_Trousers [277 posts] 2 years ago
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Very sad for Millar, and he's going to be missed, but I've got to say, if I was his team director I wouldn't be over the moon about how readily he voices his dissatisfaction through social media.

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Gkam84 [9092 posts] 2 years ago
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If it was just down to form at the nationals...Sky shouldn't have Thomas in the team and Froome didn't even bother with nationals, hasn't since 2010.

If I was Millar, I would totally let rip about this, I can understand being dropped if you were unfit or injured, but Millar has known for a couple of weeks he was in the team and he's been building up to it all season. Then overnight he gets dropped.

I think from his reaction on twitter, it could be no more races until the commonwealths and then retirement....I would not be surprised if he doesn't pull on a Garmin jersey again

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Shades [313 posts] 2 years ago
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Sorry not to see David Millar in the Tour. Jens Voigt tweeted he was disappointed not to have Millar to keep him company.

Interesting to see what he gets up to in retirement and sense he could become quite influential in cycling 'politics'.

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Shades [313 posts] 2 years ago
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and another Jensie comment:

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Shamblesuk [152 posts] 2 years ago
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Maybe he should sell the garmin kit along with the bike. Doubt he will wear that again.

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Some Fella [890 posts] 2 years ago
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Doesnt he part own the team?
Comes to something when a co-owner gets dropped.
He feels he has been betrayed and whilst part of me thinks he should really know how things work i cant help thinking he has cause to be pissed off.
Leaves a bitter taste at the end of his career because its seems like he has had it with Vaughters and Wegelius - who he seemed to be bezzies with.

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mattsccm [340 posts] 2 years ago
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Yes its disappointing but as mere onlookers we know nothing and have no right to comment with our minimal expertise. Maybe if comments were limited to educated thoughts about disappointments rather than trying to tell the experts what to do the thread would have more value. In the long term what would have Millar guaranteed over 3 weeks. Nothing.

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Ghedebrav [1100 posts] 2 years ago
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glynr36 wrote:
Ghedebrav wrote:

Three Brits... specifically a Kenyan, a Welshman and a Manxman. Pretty poor, really, though it's not that there aren't good Brit riders. It seems a perfect storm of injuries, egos, fatigue and form have brought us here.

It's sad for Millar, but he did have a good farewell dig on the Champs Elysee last year. The rider I'm especially sorry for is Ben Swift, given that he's a bona fide Yorkshireman.

BTW have Orica announced their final squad yet? If not, we could add a Yates into the mix.

Just cause the tour goes through Yorkshire isn't reason to give someone a spot on the team.
You won't have a Yates in a grand tour yet, OGE said they wouldn't put them into them for a a few years.

I just said I felt sorry for him, not that he should've been picked (of course he shouldn't, he had a rough and presumably exhausting Giro).

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Him Up North [235 posts] 2 years ago
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mattsccm wrote:

Yes its disappointing but as mere onlookers we know nothing and have no right to comment with our minimal expertise.

But the entire interweb is built on comments from people who know nothing and have minimal expertise!  3

Here's Vaughters' response

Twat.

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MartyMcCann [246 posts] 2 years ago
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You only have to remember the last sentence in Wegelius' autobiography to see what price he (and probably Vaughters) place on sentimentality...

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Gkam84 [9092 posts] 2 years ago
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This would have been Millars 9th TdF in a row. Some notable teams he's worked as part of in that time under the Vaugters-Millar partnership.

2008 - Vande Velde 5th
2009 - Wiggins 3rd (Team 2nd overall)
2010 - Hesjedal 6th
2011 - Danielson 8th (Team 1st overall)
2012 - Won Stage 12
2013 - Talansky 10th and 2nd in Young riders

No-one can say he wasn't a team player in all the time, he always worked for whoever was the leader at the time. Vaugters have turned around and shat all over him, just because Navardauskas and Langeveld have jersey's to show off....away tae fuck

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NeilG83 [302 posts] 2 years ago
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I think the squad selections show how important it is for teams to be successful at the Tour. Usually a rider would be selected for his home tour. It's good for the rider's morale and creates extra publicity for the team sponsors in that country.

The Tour is all about success and securing sponsorship for the future with no room for sentiment.

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Quince [382 posts] 2 years ago
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People complain because the romance and sentimentality they attach to the sport seems to be slowly fading away. That's what is is to be a fan of a sport; a truck-loads of romance and sentimentality. We don't have any financial interests in it (betting aside) - we just want to see our favourites fight and grimace their way to the end.

...Which is completely at odds with the way team managers are supposed to view things, and I can't see the two alining without the cycling being reduced to a farcical two-wheeled pantomime. I'd rather the sport was clinically selective than Wrestlemania on wheels. But still, let the internet grieve. There's a been a fair amount to come to terms with.

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Beaufort [270 posts] 2 years ago
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Toys out of pram. Petulant tit.

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mudshark [43 posts] 2 years ago
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Not sure what happened to this tweet from Millarmind - deleted?

Garmin and Sharp, I love you. This is between me & @wegelius & @Vaughters & @dellisny. I just wanted you to know.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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I fully understand that cycling is a professional sport, it's a big business that wants, and probably needs to be bigger so I also fully understand that sometimes decisions need to be made in the interests of the team. Sometimes these won't be popular decisions but I'm still disappointed at not being able to see the riders I like, and want to see and cheer on, riding the biggest cycling race in the world. Surely we can be allowed that?

It's also going to be highly frustrating to explain to people observing casually why certain riders aren't there, why there are no English riders, or why there is no Wiggins, or Quintana or Dan Martin etc but that's the way life is, Se a vida é as the Pet Shop Boys warbled in a summery fashion.

However, I do have one other thought; If sentimentality and romance is being thrown out of the window this year, then surely this means that if there is a chance of a win on the last day, no matter how slim, whichever team is chasing will be attacking like ravenous dogs in to Paris?

Forget the procession on to the Champs Elysees to allow everyone to roll in on the same time or there abouts, they should be attacking the Maillot Jaune all the way, for every stage.

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dp24 [201 posts] 2 years ago
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Jonny_Trousers wrote:

Very sad for Millar, and he's going to be missed, but I've got to say, if I was his team director I wouldn't be over the moon about how readily he voices his dissatisfaction through social media.

He's retiring, and has just been dropped from his final chance at riding the Tour. I doubt he gives much of a f*ck what his DS thinks at the moment.

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sorebones [139 posts] 2 years ago
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I suspect this could all back fire spectacularly on Vaughters when Talansky finishes somewhere around 5 to 10 minutes behind Contador and Froome on GC. With no sprinter in the team it could be a lean Tour for Garmin, perhaps. Time will tell but the team will have lost a lot of the goodwill they get from cycling fans as the plucky underdogs / have-a-go heroes.

Like him or loathe him, at least Millar generates headlines and is always good copy for the journo's - isn't that what a sponsor requires? Sad way to end up for Millar, definitely not how he envisaged his farewell tour.

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Doctor Fegg [143 posts] 2 years ago
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farrell wrote:

If sentimentality and romance is being thrown out of the window this year, then surely this means that if there is a chance of a win on the last day, no matter how slim, whichever team is chasing will be attacking like ravenous dogs in to Paris?

Yes - especially because the "all together behind one leader" strategy that Sky, Garmin and others are following is very foolhardy.

Sky reckon Froome needs the eight best, most committed support riders, so Wiggins is out. Garmin think the same for Talansky. It's GC or nothing.

But this is the Tour. S**t happens. In particular: Cobbles happen. Crashes happen. Collarbones happen, and worse. And let's be honest, drug busts happen, even if the rider has assured his DSs he's completely clean. The chance of your star rider actually surviving to the end of the Tour are surely smaller than any other professional sport.

When this happens, all is not lost - if you have a crowd-pleaser like Wiggo or a breakaway artist like Millar. You can still get the airtime and maybe a stage victory or two. Sky and Garmin don't have this, and I'm not convinced it will end well for them.

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notfastenough [3715 posts] 2 years ago
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For a country where cycling is booming, the Tour is now bereft of a lot of the riders that the average spectator will be familiar with. That's sad.

I guess when Dave invested in the team, there must have been an agreement that he couldn't influence team selection in order to prevent conflict of interest.

The prospect of an old man's breakaway featuring Jens and Dave would have made for a hell of chase. I'm disappointed.

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Simon E [2851 posts] 2 years ago
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Gkam84 wrote:

No-one can say he wasn't a team player in all the time, he always worked for whoever was the leader at the time. Vaugters have turned around and shat all over him, just because Navardauskas and Langeveld have jersey's to show off....away tae fuck

Dave was due to ride the Tour but rode dreadfully at the nationals, just 6 days out.

No-one "shat on" him, the team have selected other riders because he is way off his best and - shock, horror! - there are other very talented (healthy) riders on the roster.

I feel for him but he's only fooling himself (and you) if he takes it personally. Please don't lower the tone to Sun-reading 'football fan' levels, Keith.

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stevengoodfellow [58 posts] 2 years ago
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What a shame that there isn't someone out there prepared to put a top class British team together. We have the riders, just not the will to really push British road racing forward.

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MartinH [19 posts] 2 years ago
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Him Up North wrote:
mattsccm wrote:

Yes its disappointing but as mere onlookers we know nothing and have no right to comment with our minimal expertise.

But the entire interweb is built on comments from people who know nothing and have minimal expertise!  3

Here's Vaughters' response

Twat.

Yes, I've really been looking forward to standing on a Yorkshire roadside so that I can cheer on Ramunas Navardauskas...

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andybnk [97 posts] 2 years ago
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As Mr Vaughters is always so keen for cycling fans to let the sponsors know directly that they buy their products because of the sponsorship, I suggest a Scotland wide boycott of Garmin and Sharp whilst letting them know on Twitter! Sook ma plooms!

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