Ex-doper Millar is proud 'to win clean'
David Millar insisted that he did not mind people bringing up his past involvement with drugs after he outsprinted Frenchman Jean-Christophe Peraud to win the 12th stage of the Tour de France.
Millar became the fourth British rider to win an individual stage of this year's Tour with the yellow jersey wearer, Bradley Wiggins, and the peloton rolling home in 'promenade' mode nearly eight minutes behind.
The 35-year-old Scot, who returned to racing seven years ago after a two-year ban for doping, appreciated the significance of his victory 45 years to the day after fellow Briton Tom Simpson died on the slopes of Mont Ventoux after taking amphetamines.
"It's nice, very poignant, to have won clean having made the same mistakes that Tommy made," said Millar, who collapsed in a heap shortly after crossing the winning line before recovering quickly. "I hope there is a message there about how far the sport has come in the last 45 years, indeed five years.
"I am an ex-doper who is now clean and there is never any point in hiding that. I will never fail to mention my doping past. I have a duty to remind people where our sport has been.
"I am very representative of our sport as whole. I have been through what the sport has been through, but we are in a much better place now, although we must not forget the past. But it is always important to show that you can win races clean."
Millar's success is a huge boost to his Garmin-Sharp team, who have lost three riders to crashes and injury, but Millar insists such circumstances always bring out the best in him.
"I operate best in adversity, I've got quite a bit of experience of making a mess of my life, but if you can learn from that it will toughen you up mentally. It was nice to show everybody that we are still here.
"Garmin-Sharp are a world-class team and, since the injuries, we have got in the break every day for the last five or six days. We will always race."
His victory seemed unlikely as a long day started with two rapid ascents up Category One climbs, but as the riders descended off the second mountain, the General Classification riders decided they fancied a quiet afternoon and a five-man break quickly moved 13 minutes ahead of the field. Millar looked around, saw nobody he could not outsprint and saw his chance for a stage win.
"It was absolutely perfect for me, I felt very confident from the moment we got away. Guys who get over two climbs like that don't normally have a sprint and I soon realised I was the quickest there. I started planning my finish 75 miles from the line."
Australian Matthew Goss' attempt to win the green jersey suffered a blow after he was docked 30 points for an irregular sprint. Goss is green jersey holder Peter Sagan's biggest rival, and got the better of the Slovakian at the intermediate sprint to begin closing his 27-point deficit.
After some solid work by his Orica-GreenEdge team, Goss beat Sagan at the finish again, but was later penalised for coming out of his sprint line and blocking Sagan as he attempted to pass.
As for today, the GC riders are likely to enjoy another relatively comfortable ride with the sprinters re-emerging to do their stuff on the flattish run from Saint-Paul-Trois -Chateaux to Le Cap d'Agde. (© Daily Telegraph, London)