I decided to read David Millar‘s book a couple of months ago, shortly after listening to a programme on BBC Radio 5 about systematic doping in le Tour de France, which discussed Lance Armstrong and his old team mates. As we now know, Lance Armstrong was a doper, but at the time I started reading Millar’s book, Armstrong had yet to confess and I wanted to hear more about the subject.
David Millar is a professional cyclist who was banned for two years for EPO usage in 2004. Racing Through the Dark; The fall and rise of David Millar starts with him waking up in a police cell after being caught doping. He decides to tell the police everything. Starting from the beginning.
As usual with an autobiography, we learn about his childhood and the early days of his cycling. I found Millar’s book was somewhat akin to watching a scary movie. After he entered the world of professional cycling, I knew something bad was going to happen, but I didn’t want it to happen to him! So much so, that I stopped reading until after Lance Armstrong had met Oprah to confess.
Millar did well to link together his broken childhood, his constant loneliness and the pressures from within his team to start injecting. At first, he refused, then relented to inject legal substances, such as vitamins, iron and other supplements. As time went on, loneliness, frustration at rampant doping and a growing hatred towards the sport shrank his resistance until he agreed to “prepare properly” and inject illegal substances.
Racing Through the Dark is a very good read, albeit not an easy one at times. As people point out, he is “such a dick” for a lot of it.
However, it does end on a high note. David Millar is now a outspoken critic of doping, and the environments in which it prospers. He now rides on Team Garmin Sharp, one of the most vocal anti-doping teams, and he helped guide Dave Brailsford, and his sister, to form British-success-story Team Sky.