In a thrillingly emotional finish to today’s opening 16.5km individual time trial of the 2000 Tour de France, Britain’s David Millar nicked the yellow jersey from the shoulders of defending champion Lance Armstrong.
The young globetrotting Scot could hardly watch on the TV, from his Cofidis team van at the finish line, as Armstrong, last to go, came within 2 seconds of denying him a fairytale start to his first Tour de France.
As the French TV honed in for an instant reaction, Scotland’s first ever holder of the yellow jersey in Tour history, covered his face and wept at the realisation that his wildest dreams had become a reality. It was moving to see how much the victory meant to the affable youngster and he described the winning moment at a press conference after the presentation of the yellow jersey:
“It’s something that surprised me- greatly. I didn’t want to believe it until he’d finally crossed the line and that’s why I was fairly moved when it finally happened. I really couldn’t believe it.”
He went on to describe how it felt to have beaten the 1999 winner Lance Armstrong in one of the Texan’s favourite events:
“I know Lance reasonably well and I have a great deal of respect for him so beating him in one of his specialities was quite moving. Especially when I’m so young and I’ve had a lot of people looking after me and believing in me for so long.”
He revealed that he had come to the Tour this year with ambitions to do well in this stage as the length and layout of the course suited him:
” I couldn’t have asked for a better time trial for me. I’ve ridden lots of 16km time trials in the past so I had to pace myself. I knew that the stage suited me. I’m thrilled to bits and I’ll probably sleep in the jersey tonight.”
On the longer haul, the 23 year old hero of the hour is not going to let the heady rush of success affect his ultimate aim for the three week race:
“My ambition is to make a mark on the race, gain experience and get to Paris. From here I need to calm down, stay patient and conserve energy for the next three weeks.”
The remarkably cool Millar has already made his mark. What’s more likely is that he’ll go on and do it again and again in the days and weeks and years to come. Bravo!
Stage 1, Individual time trial, Futuroscope:
1. David Millar (GBR/COF), 16,5 km in 19:03.
(average speed: 51.97 km/h)
2. Lance Armstrong (USA/USP) at 00:02.
3. Laurent Jalabert (Fra/ONC) 00:13.
4. Jan Ullrich (Ger/TEL) 00:14.
5. David Canada (Spa/ONC) 00:16.
6. Alex Zulle (Swi/BAN) 00:20.
7. Vjatceslav Ekimov (Rus/USP) 00:21.
8. Simone Borgheresi (Ita/MER) 00:27.
9. Tyler Hamilton (USA/USP) 00:33.
10. Erik Dekker (Hol/RAB) 00:36.
11. Abraham Olano (Spa/ONC) 00:39.
12. Joseba Beloki (Spa/FES) 00:40.
13. Jens Voigt (Ger/C.A) 00:44.
14. David Plaza (Spa/FES) 00:44.
15. Gilles Maignan (Fra/AG2) 00:49.
16. Nicolas Jalabert (Fra/ONC) 00:53.
17. Ivan Gutierrez (Spa/ONC) 00:53.
18. Marc Wauters (Bel/RAB) 00:54.
19. Daniele Nardello (Ita/MAP) 00:54.
20. Félix Garcia Casas (Spa/FES) 00:54.
21. Michele Bartoli (Ita/MAP) 00:55.
22. Angel Casero (Spa/FES) 00:55.
23. Guido Trentin (Ita/VIN) 00:55.
24. Kevin Livingston (USA/USP) 00:56.
25. Marcos Serrano (Esp/ONC) 00:56.
26. Miguel Angel Pena (Esp/ONC) 00:58.
27. Fred Rodriguez (USA/MAP) 00:58.
28. Santiago Botero (Col/KEL) 01:00.
29. Dariusz Baranowski (Pol/BAN) 01:03.
30. Christophe Moreau (Fra/FES) 01:03.