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Britain’s David Millar said he was battling with breathing difficulties as he finished a disappointing seventh in the Tour de France time trial on Friday.
The Cofidis rider, who had predicted he would finish in the top two in the 47 km sprint from Gaillac to Cap Decouverte, ended up nearly four minutes adrift of Germany’s stage winner Jan Ullrich (Bianchi).
“I’ve been sick since the (Wednesday) rest day and just couldn’t breathe during the time trial,” Millar said. “I set off good, but after 20 kilometers my plans all went up in smoke. It was very hot today, but to be honest it was the least of my worries; I just couldn’t breathe.
“It’s allergies or bronchitis or something. It started on the rest day, and I suffered during yesterday’s stage. This morning, I just didn’t want to get on my bike.”
Millar is now 14th in the overall standings, nine minutes and 34 seconds behind race leader Lance Armstrong (U.S. Postal), who finished second in Friday’s time trial.
Millar had been planning to attack in the Pyrénées but will now just try to survive the three big mountain stages.
“I’ve started taking antibiotics so I should be okay in a couple of days. I don’t think I can suffer any more than I did today,” Millar said. “It was horrible, horrible, horrible.”