"You wanted it too much," said Fran Millar, a media officer at Garmin-Sharp's rivals Team Sky.
Two days after missing out on yellow by one second at the end of stage two, Scot Millar could not help pre-stage favourites Garmin-Sharp to win the 25-km collective effort against the clock to claim the jersey he wore 13 years ago when he won the Tour prologue in Poitiers.
"We did our best. It was not a good day, that lost us some time," Millar told reporters, sweat still dripping down his chest.
"We would have been better on a more technical, up-and-down course."
Garmin-Sharp were four seconds behind early pacesetters Omega Pharma-Quick Step at the 13-km time check but they ran out of gas in the final part, ending up in sixth place, 17 seconds off stage winners Orica-GreenEdge's pace.
"Yes, I'm very disappointed to be honest," said Millar, who wrote in his autobiography, Racing Through the Dark, that he won the 2000 prologue clean.
He started to use the banned drug erythropoietin the following year, he said, and served a two-year ban after admitting to doping from 2004-06.
Two years after his comeback, the man who calls himself an ex-doper, became a founding member of the Garmin team who built their reputation on a strong anti-doping stance.
Millar won a stage in last year's Tour but wearing the yellow jersey would have added to the sense of redemption.
Winning Tuesday's stage and taking the yellow jersey in the process, even for a few days, would also have settled Millar's career nicely.
"It would have been too perfect," he admitted, adding with a grin: "Life's not fair."
On Sunday, Millar came tantalisingly close to wearing the yellow jersey but Belgian Jan Bakelants's win by one second in the second stage meant he had to wait for Tuesday's time trial to have another go.
"It was really hard not to have it in my head beforehand," said Millar.
"You try to switch it off and think about the job to do rather than the reward but it's such a big thing and I came so close on Sunday that it was unavoidable I would be thinking about it."
There is still a chance for Millar to jump into a breakaway in Wednesday's undulating stage from Cagnes-sur-Mer to Marseille but Millar said Garmin-Sharp were targeting the overall standings on this Tour.
"I've used all my opportunities; I'm here for the team," he said. "It's a team who is primarily here for GC (general classification)."