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TOUR DE FRANCE (5-27 July)
BBC coverage: Daily text commentary, reports and gallery on the BBC Sport website and live audio commentary from BBC Radio 5 Live


David Millar in action in stage four of the Tour
Millar was the last Briton to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour

Britain's David Millar took third place in the Tour de France overall standings after a strong performance in Tuesday's individual time trial in Cholet.

The Garmin-Chipotle rider clocked 36 minutes two seconds, 18 seconds behind stage four winner Stefan Schumacher.

The Gerolsteiner rider stunned the favourites, crossing the line in 35:44 for the coveted yellow jersey.

Millar and Luxembourg's Kim Kirchen, who finished in second place, trail Schumacher by 12 seconds overall.

The 29.5km course produced one of the biggest shocks of the four stages so far as Schumacher produced an incredible performance in north-west France.

The German was the only rider to dip under the 36-minute mark as pre-stage favourite and world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara could only finish in fifth.

I was away for two years and it's taken me two years to get back

David Millar

The CSC Saxo Bank rider had been overwhelming favourite to clinch the first individual time trial of the 2008 Tour.

But he finished 33 seconds behind Schumacher's remarkable time, much to the joy of the 26-year-old German.

"It is incredible, winning the stage and taking the yellow jersey at the same time is a dream coming true," he said.

The stage represents another significant step in Millar's renaissance after the dark days of serving out a two-year ban for using the endurance-booster EPO in 2004.

"I was away for two years and it's taken me two years to get back," said the 31-year-old.

"I feel like I'm back on top of it. I've got my confidence back again. I have the people around me to give that confidence."

Sporting a Union Jack-clad time trial bike, the Scot powered through the early stages of the course, clocking the second fastest time to Schumacher after the first and second checkpoints.

Millar had not finished inside the top three since a time trial victory in stage 19 of the 2003 Tour until Tuesday's ride.

606: DEBATE
Jmb

"I had a really good day. It was nice to feel that all the work I did paid off," said Millar.

"I think I'm going to be better than anyone's ever seen me before."

Although he was pipped by Team Columbia's Kirchen in the final minutes, Millar will have plenty of confidence going into Wednesday's flat 232km stage from Cholet to Chateauroux, the longest of the 2008 Tour.

Overnight leader Romain Feillu - who took the yellow jersey after a dramatic stage on Monday - finished nearly five minutes behind Schumacher.

Cadel Evans - one of the pre-Tour favourites - had a good day in the saddle, finishing behind Millar in fourth with a 64-second overall advantage over rival Alejandro Valverde.

Americans Christian Vandevelde and George Hincapie also had good days on day four, finishing sixth and seventh overall respectively.

Team Columbia's Mark Cavendish finished over four minutes behind Schumacher in 143rd place.


Stage four results:

1. Stefan Schumacher (Germany/Gerolsteiner) 35 minutes, 44 seconds

2. Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg/Team Columbia) +18 secs

3. David Millar (Britain/Garmin Chipotle) same time

4. Cadel Evans (Australia/Silence-Lotto) +27 secs

5. Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland/Team CSC Saxo Bank) +33 secs

6. Denis Menchov (Russia/Rabobank) +34 secs

7. Jens Voigt, (Germany/Team CSC Saxo Bank) +35 secs

8. Christian Vandevelde (United States/Garmin Chipotle) +37 secs

9. George Hincapie (United States/Team Columbia) +41 secs

10. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy/Liquigas) +47 secs

Overall standings:

1. Stefan Schumacher (Germany/Gerolsteiner) 14 hours, 4 minutes, 41 seconds

2. Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg/Team Columbia) +12 secs

3. David Millar (Britain/Garmin Chipotle) +12 secs

4. Cadel Evans (Australia/Silence-Lotto) +21 secs

5. Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland/Team CSC Saxo Bank) +33 secs

6. Christian Vandevelde (United States/Garmin Chipotle) +37 secs

7. George Hincapie (United States/Team Columbia) +41 secs.

8. Thomas Lovkvist (Sweden/Team Columbia) +47 secs

9. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy/Liquigas) +58

10. Ivan Gutierrez (Spain/Caisse d'Epargne) + 1:01 secs



see also
Tour de France stage four photos
08 Jul 08 |  Cycling
Hushovd sprints to Tour success
06 Jul 08 |  Cycling
Valverde triumphs in Tour opener
05 Jul 08 |  Cycling
Tour de France 2008 preview
02 Jul 08 |  Cycling
Cycling on the BBC
30 Jun 08 |  Cycling


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