Hong Kong-raised world champion agrees to spend his 27th birthday racing on the Wan Chai waterfront next month It's a homecoming of sorts that was bound to happen: Britain's most exciting young rider, David Millar, will make a spectacular reappearance on his 27th birthday in next month's Hong Kong Cycle Classic. Hong Kong-raised Millar last competed here as a junior at the Hong Kong-Macau Interport 10 years ago when he failed to strike a blow. But the 26-year-old Scot returns a different rider as the main attraction in the cycling extravaganza on Sunday, January 4. The 80-kilometre individual circuit race comprises 28 laps and starts and finishes at Golden Bauhinia Square on the Wan Chai waterfront. It is the first of its kind in Asia (racing in a city centre) after being sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI). At stake will be US$60,000 in prize-money. Millar's confirmation, along with that of Swiss rider Bruno Risi, the five-time points race world champion and Atlanta Games Olympic gold medallist, is a major coup for the Hong Kong Cycling Association, which negotiated for weeks before agreeing terms. 'We are absolutely delighted that David can compete in our race. It's a tremendous boost to the event and we know he is looking forward to competing in Hong Kong,' said Hong Kong Cycling Association executive director Walter Yue. 'David knows several of the Hong Kong riders and I am sure he will be rekindling old friendships.' 'At first, we were wary of our chances of luring him because we knew it was going to be his birthday on January 4 and we thought he probably wanted to be somewhere else to celebrate. But he accepted our invitation and we are extremely pleased he has agreed to come.' Millar, who was born in Malta but whose father lives in Hong Kong, will return as a world champion, having won the time trial at the World Road Cycling Championships in Hamilton, Ontario, in October. The strapping 1.92-metre rider, a member of the French team Cofidis, exploded on to the scene at the 2000 Tour de France when he won the opening day's prologue time trial in dramatic fashion, beating defending champion Lance Armstrong by two seconds to take the leader's yellow jersey. At the 2002 Tour, Millar raised eyebrows again when he won the tough 13th stage. The Scot is tipped as a future winner and also represents Great Britain's biggest gold medal hope in cycling at next year's Olympics in Athens. Millar is excited about competing in Hong Kong after a 10-year absence. 'It's great for cycling that this event can be held in Hong Kong. Let's hope there will be more races like this in exciting places all over the world,' he said. 'It is even more special as it's on my birthday and I'm happy to be able to celebrate it in Hong Kong where I grew up and where my father lives.' Millar was also brought up in Scotland and England and now lives in Biarritz, France. He will be accompanied by friend and training partner Rob Hayles, a member of the successful British track team pursuit squad, who won bronze at the 2000 Olympics and World Championships and silver at the 2002 and 2003 World Championships. Hong Kong ace Wong Kam-po will cross swords with Millar, along with up-and-coming local riders Lam Kai-tsun, Chan Chun-hing, Lau King-you, Lau King-nin and Tsoi Chun-ming. Organisers said yesterday they were in talks with another 'six or seven' world-class cyclists for the event. 'We are still negotiating their contracts and everything is being finalised right now. We expect several former world champions and Olympic medallists [track events] to compete in Hong Kong,' said Hong Kong Cycling Association secretary general Frederick Chan. The race will start at Golden Bauhinia Square and travel along Expo Drive, Fenwick Pier Street, Lung Wei Road, Tim Ma Avenue, Harcourt Road, Tim Mei Avenue, back on to Fenwick Pier Street, Convention Avenue, Expo Drive East and back again to Golden Bauhinia Square. Organisers said cyclists from Australia, Belgium, China, Taiwan, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, China, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Spain, Slovakia, Switzerland, Britain, US and Hong Kong would take part.