Commonwealth Games 2002
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Cycling Thursday, 25 July, 2002, 17:04 GMT 18:04 UK
Millar confirms Games withdrawal
David Millar celebrates his road stage victory
David Millar was a gold medal hope for Scotland

Tour de France stage winner David Millar has pulled out of Scotland's team for the Commonwealth Games.

Scotland's cycling team boss, Alasdair MacLennan, admitted that it would seriously reduce their chances of a medal.

But he insisted that the news was not unexpected and that it would not affect team morale.

Millar, who won stage 13 of the Tour on Saturday, had been booked on a flight to arrive back in Britain in time to go for gold in the individual road race in Manchester on 3 August.

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I'm exceptionally disappointed at not being able to race for Scotland
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David Millar
But he confirmed on Tuesday that he will, instead, be competing for his French team, Cofidis, in Germany.

"I've tried to get out of the contract agreement for the German race, but it's impossible," he said.

"I'm exceptionally disappointed at not being able to race for Scotland."

MacLennan told BBC Sport Online: "We are obviously disappointed, tempered by the fact that there was always the possibility that this would happen.

"Not just for this reason but because he is taking part in the most intensive athletic event in the world and some guys can be physically or psychologically damaged by the end of it.

"Given his wish to cycle for Scotland, we wanted to make sure that arrangements were in place for him to do so.

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There were no guarantees that we would win a medal
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Team boss Alasdair MacLennan
"It just means that our tactics will be different, as he would have been our designated team leader and we will choose a new one closer to the time.

"There were no guarantees, given the strength of teams like Australia, that we would have won a medal even if David had been with us."

Instead, Millar will be at the team time-trial at the Karlsruher Versicherungs Grand Prix, which begins two days before he was due to arrive in Manchester.

The Scot's stage win was the first by a British rider in seven years and he is expected to finish the Tour for the second time in three attempts on Sunday.

But Cofidis director Alain Bondue was unwilling to heap praise on Millar until after La Vuelta a Espana in September.

"We are satisfied, but we were expecting a better performance, especially in the mountain stages," he said.

"We will draw conclusions after La Vuelta, for which we are aiming at a place in the final top 10."

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20 Jul 02 | Cycling
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