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Racing Through the Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar Hardcover – June 16, 2011


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Review

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. OBSERVER 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. -- Richard Williams GUARDIAN 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 RACING THROUGH THE DARK will be a shoo-in for every award going this year with its controlled writing about the ins and outs of his descent into doping and personal crisis and his return to the world -- William Fotheringham OBSERVER - Tour Diary 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 [An] excellent autobiography... well written... surely one of the sports books of the year. METRO He has, as this excellent work testifies, seen it all and done it all, full throttle. This is a shocking expose of the corruption at the heart of a wonderful sport. Those who run cycling at every level would be well advised to closely study it, though history tells us they probably won't. -- Conor Lally IRISH TIMES Britain's most intriguing cyclist... this is no ordinary memoir... this is an extremely rare first-hand account of what drugs and doping have done to the sport of cycling over the last two decades LITERARY REVIEW The story of his [Millar's] fall from grace is gripping. SPORT MAGAZINE An incredibly personal, moving and compelling story. CYCLING PLUS Millar recounts with stark, unshirking honesty the spiralling pressure which saw him drawn into a murky world of doping GLASGOW HERALD A well written, well paced and addictive (appropriate n'est pas?) book. None of its 354 pages can be considered padding and though there will probably always be murky goings on in top level cycle racing when so much is at stake, David Millar is to be comgratulated not only on 'fessing up, and recounting every last humiliation in print, but for giving us mere mortals an inkling into the machinations of the modern peloton, both good and bad. THEWASHINGMACHINEPOST Outstanding... This is a stunning account, comparable to Matt Rendell's THE DEATH OF MARCO PANTANI... His [Millar's] book is already being mooted as a contender for the year's best sports book. BIRMINGHAM POST Searingly honest MAIL ON SUNDAY Brutal, honest, realistic - words that can be used to describe this fantastic, sweeping view of a pro cyclist... This is purely and simply sports book of the year and Milar deserves all the credit not only for turning his life around, but for writing an exceptional autobiography. BURTON MAIL Well written and worth reading. THE PRESS (YORK) One of the better sports books, which non-cycling enthusiasts will find easy reading and fascinating. PLYMOUTH INDEPENDENT "Gripping... The subject matter for the most part might be bleak but the passion that underpins Millar's renaissance as he falls back in love with the sport for its own sake is ultimately uplifting.' -- Owen Gibson OBSERVER "A great autobiography from the eloquent pen and mind of the Scottish pro cyclist.' HEALTHY FOR MEN "A searing portrayal of the moral ambiguities of drug taking.' -- Matthew Syed TIMES "Redemption is literally the last word in this brave book' -- Alan Pattullo SCOTSMAN "Thought-provoking' -- Claire Allfree METRO "A compelling read' -- Christopher Maume INDEPENDENT "As gripping in telling Millar's personal tale as it is in detailing the dark underbelly that once threatened to envelop professional cycling.' SPORT "In this vivid first person account Millar not only reveals his personal descent but the jaw-dropping scale on which doping took place.' FINANCIAL TIMES A superb book...Millar's fall and rise is a modern morality tale -- Jim Holden DAILY EXPRESS 'A harrowing account of his [Millar's] fall from grace and subsequent redemption.' -- Simon Redfern INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

About the Author

David Millar was born in Malta in 1977. He has won stages of the Tour de France and Tour of Spain. He is now a part-owner of the Garmin-Chipotle team and a key figure of the World Anti-doping Agency's athletes committee. Jeremy Whittle's BAD BLOOD: THE SECRET LIFE OF THE TOUR DE FRANCE was shortlisted for the WILLIAM HILL SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR in 2008. He writes on cycling for THE TIMES, FINANCIAL TIMES and L'EQUIPE. He has known David Millar for 15 years. https://twitter.com/millarmind
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) (June 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409114945
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409114949
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,743,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

They should really read this book so that they can get a clue.
Lynn McArd
Those who are interested in professional sport and cycling will love the story.
DMac
A very interesting book which kept me reading chapters into the small hours.
Stephen Gallagher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Doctor Moss on October 29, 2011
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alan Lekan on October 22, 2012
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 13, 2012
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By nmf23 on December 5, 2012
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brian Joyner on August 15, 2012
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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