Vuelta Stage 20: Millar wins in Toledo as Valverde sews up overall
Gritty ride propels Evans into podium placings
David Millar proved a man of his word today in Toledo. He said he was aiming to win the time trial in this penultimate stage of the Vuelta and that's just what he did, setting a fast early time over the the 27.8Km course that was never bettered.
It was a good day too for the Australian Cadel Evans, whose barnstorming TT ride turned a 14 second deficit on Ivan Basso into a 40 second advantage over the Italian, in the process bumping him down into fourth place. However, the man with probably the biggest smile on his face as the race heads for the final stage in Madrid tomorrow is Alejandro Valverde. The Caisse D'Epargne rider did enough to cement his hold on the golden jersey and barring some act of the gods he will stand on the top step of the podium tomorrow.
Winning the Vuelta will be the crowning achievement of an impressive season for the Spaniard and will leave the UCI with something of a headache should it decide to make the ban imposed on him by the Italian cycling federation worldwide and do so retrospectively… at this rate he will probably win the world championship too, just to make things really interesting.
However, although the race may belong to Valverde the day was Millar's. The Briton put in a superb effort to give a textbook demonstration of how to win a grand tour time trial – at no point were his times bettered by any of the riders that followed including the big name favourites. Millar's winning margin was a healthy 5 seconds over Samuel Sanchez of Euskaltel with Cadel Evans a further 4 seconds back in third place. Millar's win was another milestone in an impressive summer for his Garmin Slipstream team who have made real progress as a force at the top level, a fact which may continue to exert a pull on his team mate Bradley Wiggins.