Vaughters reveals pain of axing veteran Millar

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Garmin-Sharp manager Jonathan Vaughters admitted it will take time to mend bridges with veteran British rider David Millar after the Scot was left out of the team’s Tour de France squad.

Millar reacted publicly and angrily on Monday once he learned that he had been pulled out of what would have been his final Tour – starting on home soil in Leeds tomorrow – before retirement due to concerns over the lingering effects of an illness.

Millar was told of the decision by sporting director Charly Wegelius after the British road race championship on Sunday evening, before Vaughters took part in a conference call the following morning, but that did not stop Millar making his feelings known to the wider world.

“Unfortunately we’re not back to normal, no,” said Vaughters of his relationship with one of the longest-tenured riders on his team. That phone-call was no fun. But it’ll get there.”

Millar had been suffering with a cough in the build-up to Sunday’s race, and ultimately pulled out with 42 kilometres to go.

While Millar insisted he was fit and healthy, Vaughters and Wegelius took the decision that the team’s rule on only selecting riders who were 100 per cent healthy had to apply to all – even if meant ending Millar’s 14-year relationship with cycling’s biggest race.

“The decision to pull him was not very much fun for me or for Charly,” said Vaughters. “When this team moved up to the Tour de France level, David was the first rider who signed a contract with us.

“There’s a lot of history and we all care about David quite a bit. But the end responsibility is the team and getting the best result possible. You have to be 100 per cent healthy to do that.”

Australian Michael Matthews is a doubt to start the race for Orica GreenEDGE with a hand injury.