I’m a fan of cycling – it’s the only sport I follow. However I wasn’t really following it that closely in the days when David Millar was at his prime. I do know him as a pundit and commentator and when I discovered that his background as a cyclist included being caught for doping, serving a ban then coming back to cycle ‘clean’. So I decided to read his autobiography.
I’m not however a great fan of autobiographies as a style and struggled to read this taking at least six months on and off to get through it. This was also partially because I have it as a paperback and tend to read mostly on a phone app now, so I’ve lost the habit of picking up a physical book.
OK so what about the book – it was interesting. David Millar’s childhood, interest in cycling, etc. was alright but really this book is about the insight into the growing awareness of a naive young cyclist to the fact that doping is happening all around him and the gradual feeling that the only way he can compete with doppers is to join them and the final submission to this temptation. Framed around his arrest and various legal battles the rise and fall and rise of David Millar is a good read.
David explains very well the isolation of a cyclist even in a team situation and how that personal drive to improve can, when the situation allows it, lead to overwhelming temptation. In those days of cycling drugs seem to have been so easily obtained and used that it really was widespread. David’s insight into the situation seem to have been of some use to the fight against drugs in sport in the years since he has served his ban.