Cycling: Millar excited by London Tour potential in 2007
Wednesday 25 January 2006
Britain's David Millar has said that the London prologue stage of the Tour de France - formally confirmed yesterday as starting in the capital in July 2007 - "will be the main aim of the rest of my career".
The 29-year-old Scot said: "It's going to be huge, absolutely massive - the level of interest, everything. It can only be great news for British cycling and compared with 10 years ago, when the race last came to England, our federation has the resources now and the schemes all in place to exploit the opportunity a lot better."
Currently under a ban for drug use, Millar's first comeback event will be the 2006 Tour prologue in Strasbourg. "Although I'll be going for that 100 per cent as well, London will be the chance of a lifetime," he said.
Prologues have always been Millar's speciality: in 2000 he won the Tour's opening time trial. He was also narrowly beaten in 2003 in the Paris prologue in the Tour's centenary year.
While Millar will be one of the favourites, he will have another English rider as a top rival: the Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins is also targeting the London prologue.
Speaking at his weekly press conference, London's mayor, Ken Livingstone, announced that there would be an opening prologue in London on 7 July and a further stage in England taking the race back towards France the next day.
Livingstone was short on detail, which will be revealed in early February when the deal is formally signed, but the prologue is believed to be based in and around the Mall, with a start and finish in Trafalgar Square.
The first proper stage will head through Kent, possibly via Tunbridge Wells and Folkstone before the race transfers to France.
The Tour has never started in London before, though it has visited southern England twice: in 1994, around three million people turned out to cheer on the riders on two stages through Surrey and Hampshire.
Questioned about the cost of such a high-profile event, Livingstone estimated the price of hosting the Tour would be around £1.5m. But he compared that with the cost of staging a Formula One race at £30m to £60m.
The Tour will also act as a dress rehearsal in certain aspects for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Livingstone said it would be "a great opportunity for us to show we can put on a world-class sporting event".
Latest in Sport
Ashley Cole and Luke Shaw rise to the bait to deny they are the rumoured 'gay England footballer'
Former British tennis No 1 Elena Baltacha told she has liver cancer
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United: Is Wayne Rooney really in Robin van Persie’s way at United?
Robin van Persie: Manchester United manager David Moyes a 'little bit surprised' after striker plays 90 minutes for Netherlands day after being sick
Chelsea v Tottenham: Tim Sherwood claims the pressure is off as Spurs look to end dreadful record at Stamford Bridge
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 3 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 4 Too upsetting? Academy members voted for Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave 'without watching it'
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...