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Racing Through the Dark: Crash. Burn. Coming Clean. Coming Back. Hardcover – June 26, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“World-class cyclist Millar examines his tarnished quest to the top of his sport in his stunning memoir… Anyone interested in the grueling world of the men in professional cycling ought to read this candid, courageous book of Millar’s journey from regret to redemption.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Millar unflinchingly lays bare his story, from his personal struggles to deal with his success to his path to drugs to his dark, post-arrest days to his Phoenix-like return to cycling. At the end of Millar’s memoir comes redemption through his humbling return as a clean rider to the sport he loves and through becoming a vocal proponent of strong anti-doping measures.” (Booklist)

“Engagingly straightforward recollections of a champion athlete who succumbed to the dark side of illegal performance enhancement…(Millar’s) forthright tone makes his downfall seem relatable...Will appeal to cycling enthusiasts and readers who seek an honest explanation of the scandals sullying the sport." (Kirkus)

“His tale—bizarrely—has become just about the most inspiring in all of cycling, perhaps any sport. If you want to find out how cyclists dope, it's here; if you want to discover why they do it, there has never been a more vivid account. But the defining achievement of RACING THROUGH THE DARK is that it makes you believe in cycling again.” (The Observer (UK))

“One of the great first-person accounts of sporting experience...Laceratingly honest, detailing every twist in the argument by which he convinced himself to take a step he had previously considered unthinkable. Anyone seeking to understand the motivation of a drug cheat, or wondering why such a man should be allowed back into his sport will find their curiosity satisfied here.” (The Guardian (UK))

“Unbeatable as a snapshot of the professional peloton, its agonies and ecstasies...Emotional yet in no way overwrought, Millar's memoirs read like a parable more than a manifesto. Essential reading for all young riders as well as fans.” (Pro Cycling)

"The greatest strength of this plainly but compellingly told story is that it doesn't shock. Millar is searingly honest about his own failings and neuroses but his book is intelligent, subtle, nuanced, not flowery or overly descriptive —and it is all the more powerful for it. This will go down as one of the great sporting autobiographies.” (Scotland on Sunday)

“A sporting masterpiece, a timeless snapshot of a sportsman plumbing the depths and miraculously bouncing back both as a rider and a man.” (Daily Telegraph (UK))

“The story of [Millar's] fall from grace is gripping.” (Sport Magazine)

“An incredibly personal, moving and compelling story.” (Cycling Plus)

“Searingly honest.” (Mail on Sunday (UK))

About the Author

World-class cyclist David Millar turned pro in 1999. A champion time trialist for team Garmin-Cervélo, he has raced in nearly every major international cycling event, including the Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and the Olympics. He lives in Girona, Spain with his wife and son.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781451682687
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451682687
  • ASIN: 1451682689
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #499,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book really grabbed me. Yep, David Millar is pretty fascinated with himself, but this is an autobiography after all -- he had to be fascinated enough with himself to write it. Most readers looking at this review probably already know who David Millar is -- he's been an elite professional cyclist for more than 10 years, winning stages of all three grand tours (France, Spain, Italy), specializing in individual time trials. And he is a reformed doper, having been banned from pro cycling for 2 years from 2004 to 2006.

Millar tells his story in three stages. In the first, he is a gifted rider, progressing from almost too-easy dominance in smaller amateur races to the challenges of a new pro. He's up for the challenges, though, eventually winning races while staying clean. All along he's prideful in his quiet, personal anti-doping stance. When he finds that his hematocrit level tested at only 40.1 per cent (well below the threshold of suspicion at 50 percent) after winning the time trial at De Panne, he's excited. He's proven he can win clean against a field he knows is doping. But in one of the most poignant moments of the book, he proudly tells Francesco Casagrande, one of his team leaders, of his feat, and Casagrande just says to another team member, "Why isn't he at 50?" It doesn't matter if you can win clean -- what your team wants is that you race at your max, and your max means doping.

Eventually, Millar hits the wall in his career, due to poor training habits, excessive lifestyle, and, presumably, operating at a disadvantage with respect to riders using EPO and other performance-enhancing drugs and treatments. By this time, he's already taking injections of vitamins to aid recovery from race efforts and sleeping meds to get rested enough to race day after day.
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Format: Hardcover
David Millar's memoir is mostly about his long, intense inner struggle to fend off the "demons of doping" as he emerged as one of pro cycling's forces in the 90's. It is graphic, names names and shines a long-awaited bright light on a pervasive, insidious culture of use of illegal substances in cycling.

Some might find Millar a hypocrite while others find a hero who had the courage to speak against the powers within cycling. I found him most very human with a story worth hearing. And, in the massive fallout of Lance Armstrong in 2012, you will now have a much better understanding of how all that happened around Lance (who is mentioned often in the book). While the books fades a bit towards the end (as others note) after all the doping revelations, it comes to life again in an epic scene where Millar futilely implores a shark-eyed Armstrong to join forces to clean up the sport - which largely ended his relationship with the patron.

The book starts with Millar as an idealistic youth wanting to be a pro cycling and goes chronologically till his current (clean) days racing for Boulder-based Garmin. Millar's journey goes from staunch anti-drug person to eventual conceding to "recovery vitamin injection" to finally giving in to the temptations of the EPO, the arrest and fall and eventual coming clear to start a strong new life. Some of the darker aspects were the covert operations how athletes obtained and stored EPO. Same went for Postal. Ironically, Millar was eventually busted by French police well-after he ceased drugs but haphazardly left two vials in a hollowed-out book they discovered.

If you want juicy details as to what it all looked like, Millar delivers the goods.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a bicycle racing fan. The story of David Millar is very interesting. Not riveting, but interesting. Writing is OK, but I find myself putting the book down after a chapter or two to read some others that I have on my Fire. Not a page turner, but an interesting bio none the less. If I were not a fanatic, it would be so-so.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I recently read Tyler Hamilton's book and that spurred me to read Millar's. I think I preferred Millar's as it comes across as an honest assessment of racing in the post Festina years. It is Millar's story and not an indictment of anyone but himself. The stories of other riders are intersting, matter of fact, but not accusatory. It conveys the frustrations of a rider trying to complete clean and the almost impossible task of staying that way if one wanted to compete at the highest level in the sport. I thought the book was well written and a super page turner if you're interested in Road racing at the International pro level.
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Format: Hardcover
As a cyclist that considered attempting the path to pro, the book speaks volumes about the mind of a young cyclist with pressure on him to win and what happens when over-stressed young phenomenon rider has easy access to PEDs. They dope because in their mind, it's either that, or their whole life is over. Millar can come off a little pretentious sometimes, but that's the athlete in him coming out. After reading the book, he has the right to be. As a read, it's well written and almost reminiscent of a long dinner table conversation over rounds and rounds of beer. It's really quite hard to put down once you start.
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