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Friday, 10 January, 2003, 16:13 GMT
Millar asked for more
Scotland's David Millar
David Millar was blighted by illness last season
Scottish cyclist David Millar has been told by his French Cofidis team to click up a gear and start delivering the results he is capable of on a regualr basis.

Millar has shown flashes of a prodigious talent and has been tipped in some quarters as a future Tour de France winner.

However, the laid-back Scot, who grew up in Hong Kong, has attracted criticism for his relaxed attitude and playboy lifestyle.

Co-team manager Alain Deloeuil, speaking at the Paris launch of the 2003 squad, said he wants Millar, who won a stage in last year's Tour to add to his prologue win in 2000, to display more grit.

"David was a bit compromised last year because he was ill at the start of the season, but this season we expect him to start working harder than he's been used to," said Deloeuil.

"He has a lot of class, and although he's still young we expect him to come to the fore this year. He can and should be winning bigger stage races."

I'll be going all year racing hard

David Millar
26-year-old Millar, whose performances in bars and nightclubs have been known to occasionally surpass those in the saddle, is well aware of the extra responsibility.

And he is ready to try and live up to what is expected from the most high profile rider in France's biggest and most financially-secure team.

At the beginning of last year Millar was laid low with glandular fever, so just starting the season in healthy shape is a step forward.

"Right now I'm way ahead of where I was at this time last year," said Millar.

"My objectives have changed a bit this year as well. I'm just going to try and be consistent all year.

"Of course I'd like to win a stage or two in the Tour de France, but above all I want to be at the front of the races from March till October so I'll be going all year racing hard.

"I want to be at the top this year."

2002 finished on a disappointing note for Millar, who managed a sixth place finish in the world road race championship time trial in October, despite starting as the favourite.

September saw Millar retired from the Tour of Spain - where he was well placed for a top ten finish - after he walked over the finish line of the 15th stage in protest against the arduous conditions.

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