Commonwealth Games gold medallist David Millar has backed his British national teammate Bradley Wiggins for a podium finish at the elite men’s time trial world championship in Denmark.
I definitely expect him [Wiggins] to be more of medal contender than I am. It’d be great to see him do that - one of us to do it.
Millar won silver in the event at last year’s titles behind quadruple world champion Fabian Cancellara but yesterday played down his chances of a repeat or improved performance.
The 34-year-old, who welcomed the arrival of his first child, son Archibald, less than a fortnight ago said he would be “very happy” with a top five result.
Millar will enter tomorrow’s 46.5km race against the clock on the back of training at his base in Girona, Spain.
“Although I feel good, I have no idea of actually how well I’ll go,” Millar told Cycling Central on the eve of the Copenhagen race.
“I haven’t raced in a month and it’s very hard to perceive where you are because you don’t use power very often, so I haven’t been able to gauge my performance so much.”
Millar’s training has included motor-pacing and simulated racing and is a stark contrast to his lead-up last year, which saw him finish 1:02 off the pace of Cancellara.
“I was quite confident last year and I was feeling good,” he said.
“Everything had gone like clockwork building up to it and I’d spent two months getting ready for it last year essentially.
“This year it’s been a bit more up in the air but sometimes that works. Sometimes being a bit more freestyle in the preparation and build up can offer benefits as well.
“The course here is pancake flat, which kind of suits me.”
Wiggins, on the contrary, enters the titles on the back of a third overall finish at the Vuelta a España and after crashing out of the Tour de France earlier in the season.
“I’d say Bradley’s in amazing form,” Millar said.
“I definitely expect him to be more of medal contender than I am. It’d be great to see him do that - one of us to do it. It kind of takes the pressure a bit off me having him here, so I can relax a little bit more.”
Martin, who finished third behind Millar at the 2010 titles in Australia, overnight tipped the British team as favourites for the event.
“I think he’s probably just off-loading the pressure a bit there,” Millar said of the Tour de France stage winner who has celebrated six time trial stage victories this season.
“Tony, I don’t think he’s lost a time trial this year, maybe one.
“In theory, on this year’s form, he’s the best time trialist in the world. His performances this year have been exceptional.
“Fabian’s had a couple but nothing like the consistency that Tony’s had.
“But the advantage that Fabian has is that he’s now (won) four times in the past with exactly the same preparation - always doing two and a half weeks at the Vuelta, going home, training, coming to the race and destroying it. It would be a bit silly to bet against him.
“I’d put Fabian, then Tony and then I’m going to go for Wiggo in third place.”
The usual suspects remain the topic of pre-race discussion but Millar agreed the event could be more open this year due to the flat course.
“The guys who always do well - the Fabian Cancellaras, the Tony Martins, the Wiggos, occasionally me - we can kind of go well on every course,” he said.
“But then there are a lot of guys who can only go well on really flat courses and so it brings in three or four guys, who normally wouldn’t kind of compete on a hilly course (but) can now compete. It opens up to five or six guys on a pan flat course.”
Richie Porte and Jack Bobridge will represent Australia at the meet. Porte finished fourth as a rookie pro last year. Bobridge, the 2009 under-23 time trial world champion, will make his senior debut.
“I think Jack is still learning. There’s no doubt in years to come he’s going to be one of the best riders at this event. The more experience he gets the better prepared he’ll be in the future,” Millar said.
“As for Richie, again, he’s an exceptional rider but I’m not so sure if this course is good for him. He’s better on a slightly hillier course, and technical, because he’s such a light-weight rider – weight wise not quality.
“If he does a good performance here it’s going to be scary because he’s one of the lighter riders. If he can, it means he’ll be killing everyone on a hilly course next year.”
The men’s time trial, which consists of two laps of a 23.2km circuit, starts at 12.30 CET.