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Tuesday, 3 September, 2002, 17:40 GMT 18:40 UK
Millar targets top 10
David Millar
Winning La Vuelta is Millar's season goal

Britain's David Millar has said that anything less than a top-10 finish in the Tour of Spain will be a disappointment.

Millar, who starts Saturday's race as the Cofidis team leader and among the favourites for the general classification, targeted La Vuelta as his number one goal at the start of the year.

And, speaking from his training camp in Biarritz, he told BBC Sport Online: "The goal is to finish in the top 10. If I don't for whatever reason, I'll be disappointed with myself.

"The course is good - well, good for me at least. There are only four summit finishes and they have steep climbs which kind of suits me.

"In fact, I realised from the start of the season that I wouldn't have a problem with the course which is why I made the race one of my main objectives."


It's either going to happen or it's not and I do better when I'm under pressure anyway
David Millar on his Tour of Spain chances

Millar's form in the Grands Tour has so far been indifferent.

Despite wearing the yellow jersey following the Tour de France prologue in 2000 and winning stage 13 this year, he has been off the pace in the general classification.

He managed 68th place overall, despite being tipped by many as a contender in the overall standings ahead of the race.

The 25-year-old, however, looks back on the race with happy memories.

"Whatever people say, I was pleased overall and happy with just the single stage win," he added.

"My long-term goal was to find form for the Vuelta and it worked well for that.

"I used the Tour more as preparation so I never intended to do anything on the general classification. With the stage win I achieved what I set out to do so I'm very happy."

With the Vuelta now lined up as his season goal, the pressure is on to see if Millar can live up to his pre-race hype.

He said: "Obviously saying it is my main objective has provided a bit more pressure but that's kind of just being professional.

Santiago Botero
Botero is among the ones to watch

"I'm not letting it affect me and am looking forward to it, it's either going to happen or it's not and I do better when I'm under pressure anyway."

The Malta-born Scot's preparations have been hampered by fatigue and an on-going chest complaint.

But, following a three-week training camp and a break from competitive racing, he feels he is approaching peak form.

"I'm back to full fitness," he insisted. "It only really took me about three weeks to get better after the Tour.

"I was just run down and my body was feeling really tired after all that hard work. I went on some antibiotics and took things easy and basically focused on being very healthy, for me.

"I'm in good shape though and things a going really well."

Millar, though, knows that he will face more obstacles than just illness and injury throughout a three-week race notoriously dominated by Spaniards.

And who does he fear most?

He revealed: "The Spaniards are always firing. There will be Joseba Beloki, Oscar Sevilla and Santiago Botero, the usual suspects, all up there.

"Oh, and hopefully me."

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