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Millar at the 2014 Tour de France
|Full name||David Millar|
|Nickname||Millar-Time, Le Dandy|
4 January 1977 |
|Height||1.92 m (6 ft 4 in)|
|Weight||76 kg (168 lb; 12.0 st)|
|High Wycombe CC|
He is most associated with his long spells with two teams, Cofidis from 1997-2004 and Garmin-Sharp from 2008-2014. He has won four stages of the Tour de France, five of the Vuelta a España and one stage of the Giro d'Italia. He was the British national road champion and the national time trial champion, both in 2007. He is the only British rider to have worn all Tour de France jerseys and one of seven to have worn the yellow jersey. He was also the first (of three) British riders ever to have worn the leader's jersey in all three Grand Tours.
Millar was banned for two years in 2004 after admitting taking banned performance-enhancing drugs. Upon his return from his ban, Millar became a prominent anti-doping campaigner, a stance which eventually resulted in some describing him as an 'elder statesman' of cycling.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Career achievements
- 5 See also
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
Early life and education
David Millar is the son of Gordon and Avril Millar, both Scots. He has a sister, Fran. His father was a pilot in the Royal Air Force and Millar was born in Mtarfa, Malta, while his father was based there for a three-year tour of duty. His mother worked as a teacher. His sister Frances also works in cycling, currently as the head of business operations for Team Sky. The family returned to the UK, and lived at RAF Kinloss in Scotland before moving to Aylesbury, 60 km north-west of London. His father and mother divorced when Millar was 11 and his father moved to Hong Kong, when he joined the airline Cathay Pacific, which is based there. Millar considers Hong Kong as his home. Millar moved to Hong Kong to join his father when he was 13. He rode in BMX bike races in Hong Kong "and did pretty well." He bought a road bike in 1992 and raced at 6.30 in the morning before the roads began filling with traffic.
At King George V School he chose mathematics, economics and geography as his A-level, pre-university, examination subjects, then switched to art, graphics and sports studies at his father's suggestion. He completed his A-levels and, having moved back to England to be with his mother in Maidenhead, enrolled at an arts college. He started cycling with a club in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. His mother, Avril, took him there so that he would make new friends and have something to do. At age 18, a week before he was due to start at the arts college, he went to race in France. He joined a club at St-Quentin, in the Picardy region, and won eight races. Five professional teams[n 1] offered him a contract. He signed with Cyrille Guimard because his team, Cofidis, was based in the area and he knew of Guimard's skill in recognising young talent.
2000–2003: Early years
In his first professional season, Millar won the prologue of the Tour de l'Avenir and the competition for the best young rider in the Mi-Août Breton. He profited from his background in 10-mile time-trials in Britain to win the first stage of the 2000 Tour de France, a 16 km time-trial at Futuroscope. He held the yellow jersey for a few days. He failed to repeat his feat at Dunkirk in 2001 after puncturing in a bend and crashing. He finished fifth in the prologue in 2002 on a rolling course at Luxembourg. His attempt to win the prologue in central Paris in the centenary Tour of 2003 ended when his chain dropped off 500 m before the finish. He lost by 0.14 s to Brad McGee. Millar had ridden a bike without a front derailleur.[n 2] He blamed his directeur sportif, Alain Bondue. "It wasn't a problem with my chainring; it was a problem with my team," he told journalists at the finish. He said Bondue had tried to save a few grams by removing the derailleur. Bondue said he had told Millar to use a front derailleur after other riders had similar problems. Bondue was demoted to logistics manager.
Hopes of winning the Tour de France were fuelled by his stage win in the 2001 Vuelta a España, when he was in a breakaway with Santiago Botero on a mountain stage. Millar won a gold medal for Malta in the 2001 Games of the Small States of Europe, held in San Marino. Millar was selected for the Scotland team for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, but withdrew to compete for Cofidis instead.
Millar was dining in a restaurant with Dave Brailsford in Bidart, near Biarritz, on 23 June 2004 when he was approached by three plainclothes policemen of the Paris drug squad at 8.25pm. They took Millar's watch, shoelaces, jewellery, keys and phone. After two and a half hours they found empty phials of Eprex, a brand of the blood-boosting drug EPO, and two used syringes.[n 3] Millar claimed he had been given them as a gift at the Tour of Spain, that he had taken them to Manchester and used them. After that he had kept them as a souvenir. The detectives took Millar to the prison in Biarritz and put him alone in a cell.
The raid followed the arrest at the start of 2004 of Cofidis' soigneur, Bogdan Madejak. Police, looking to find out more about the drugs found on Madejak, turned their attention to another rider on the team, Philippe Gaumont, as he arrived at Orly airport in Paris on 20 January 2004.[n 4] On 22 January 2004 the magazine, Le Point, published transcripts of police phone taps.
Gaumont said it had happened the day before the Tour finished on the Champs-Élysées in 2003, when Millar won the time-trial. Gaumont said he didn't know what was in the syringe but that "ça m'avait bloqué (that blocked me; i.e. kept me from going well)." Millar denied the claim to the investigating judge and said Menuet was the best person he had ever met and that he was "like a father to me at races." He denied Gaumont's claims that Millar had taken drugs trips by mixing Stilnox, a sleeping powder, with ephedrine, a stimulant. He called Gaumont a lunatic and said he was talking "absolute crap." But his phone calls had been tapped for four months and Millar eventually confessed to police on 24 June 2004.
He admitted using EPO in 2001 and 2003. He blamed it on stress, in particular losing the prologue, the opening time-trial, in the 2003 Tour, and being beaten by Jan Ullrich in the 2001 world time trial championship. Under cycling rules a confession equates to a positive test.
British Cycling suspended him for two years in August 2004. He was disqualified as 2003 world time trial champion, fined CHF2,000 (approx. €1250), and disqualified from the 2003 Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré and 2001 Vuelta a España. Cofidis fired him and dropped out of racing while it investigated other team members. Several Cofidis riders and assistants were fired. Alain Bondue, the team's director, and Menuet, the doctor, left the team. Vasseur was forbidden to start the 2004 Tour de France but later cleared.
Millar was investigated in Nanterre in 2006 with nine other defendants, mostly from Cofidis. The court decided it was not clear he had taken drugs in France and that charges could not be pursued. The doctor he had consulted (see below) lived south of Biarritz but across the Pyrenees, in Spain. Millar's statement to the judge, Richard Pallain, told of a man torn apart by the pressure of racing, the expectations placed in him by British fans, and an inability to make close friends. He said he despaired of cycling in 1999 and began going to parties. At one, he fell down stairs and broke a bone. It put him out of cycling for four months and he didn't get back to racing form until the following year. Winning the prologue of the Tour de France made things worse; he had worn the maillot jaune of leadership – his "dream", he said – and when it was all over he was back in his apartment with no friends and just a television for company.
Doping had gained him 25 seconds in the championship, he said. He toasted his championship in the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas. But the suspension cost Millar his job, his income and his house. He was drunk for much of a year. He said he had scraped by with the help of family and friends.
Millar moved to Hayfield, on the edge of the Peak District of northern England to be close to the Manchester Velodrome where British cycling has its headquarters. He joined a Spanish team, Saunier Duval–Prodir. Its manager, Mauro Gianetti, had contacted him nine months into his suspension.
Millar's suspension ended a week before the 2006 Tour de France and he rode with Saunier Duval–Prodir. He finished 17th in the prologue and 11th on the penultimate, time-trial stage. He finished 59th of 139 finishers, more than 2 hours behind the winner, Óscar Pereiro.[n 5] In the 2006 Vuelta a España, Millar won in stage 14, a time trial around the city of Cuenca. On 3 October, he won the British 4,000m individual pursuit championship in 4m 22.32s at Manchester.
He left Saunier Duval–Prodir[n 6] to join an American team, Slipstream–Chipotle run by Jonathan Vaughters, a former rider. Vaughters stressed the team's stance against doping. In the 2007 season, Millar won both the British road and time trial championships and came second in the Eneco Tour, 11 seconds behind Jose Ivan Gutierrez. His other victory of the year came in the Paris-Nice, during which he won the prologue.
2008–2014: Career with Garmin
For the start of the 2008 season, Slipstream became known as Garmin Slipstream, and Millar took on part ownership of the team, in order to foster their anti-doping stance. He helped orchestrate Slipstream–Chipotle's victory in the Giro d'Italia opening team time trial. Millar was part of a five-man winning break on stage five of the 2008 Giro d'Italia when his chain broke in the last kilometre. He flung his bike away. In the 2008 Tour de France, Millar came third in the time trial on stage four, 18 seconds behind the winner. Overall he finished 68th, 1h 59m 39s behind Carlos Sastre. His best results of the season came in the 2008 Tour of California in which he finished second overall.
Millar's 2009 season continued to bring solid performances in time-trials, though was hampered by injury in March 2009. He returned at the Giro d'Italia and put in an impressive performance at the subsequent 2009 Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, finishing ninth overall. He competed in both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España, completing a hat-trick of Grand Tour entries for the year. His best performance in a stage was first, achieved in the stage twenty time trial at the Vuelta. The race was Millar's first win for two years, and his fifth at the Vuelta.
2010 saw Millar continue his strong time-trial form, with stage wins at the Critérium International and the Three Days of De Panne. De Panne also saw Millar gain his first multi-stage race victory since the 2001 Circuit de la Sarthe. Millar had a number of high placings in major time trials earlier in the season – he finished third in the prologue of the 2010 Tour de France and second in stage three of the Critérium du Dauphiné. Unfortunately, an injury in the Tour de France hampered the rest of his season, though he nonetheless repeated his achievement of finishing all three grand tours. Millar then matched his best clean placing at the Men's World Time-Trial Championships, finishing second behind Fabian Cancellara. Shortly after, at the Commonwealth Games, he won a gold medal in the time trial and a bronze in the road race.
2011 saw Millar suffer from illness [clarification needed] early in the season, missing many of the classics. His best performance was a 3rd-place finish in the overall of the Circuit de la Sarthe. He recovered in time for the Giro d'Italia, finishing second on stage 3 to take the maglia rosa. Millar's lead, however, was overshadowed by the death of Wouter Weylandt in the Giro on the same day; in the role of race leader, Millar helped organise the tributes to Weylandt's during the subsequent day's neutralised stage.
He later won the time-trial stage 21 of the Giro, meaning that he became only the third British rider – after Robert Millar and Mark Cavendish – to achieve victories in all three Grand Tours during his career. In June he published his autobiography titled Racing Through the Dark, which Richard Williams in The Guardian wrote was "one of the great first-person accounts of sporting experience". Millar was team captain of the Great Britain team that helped Cavendish win the 2011 UCI World Championships road race.
Millar fractured his collarbone in a crash in the 2012 E3 Harelbeke one-day race in Belgium on 23 March. He returned to competition at the Tour of Bavaria and the Critérium du Dauphiné, where his best result was a 9th place on stage 4. Despite his injuries earlier in the season, Millar was selected to ride his 11th Tour de France. He won stage 12 by escaping with four other riders, arriving five kilometres (3.1 mi) from the finish line in Annonay-Davézieux with more than ten minutes of an advantage over the bunch. He took the win after much cat-and-mouse-play with Jean-Christophe Péraud of Ag2r–La Mondiale. He was the fourth British rider to win a stage in a historic tour, as Bradley Wiggins became the first British rider to win the event. Despite controversy over his history of doping, Millar was selected to race on the British Road Race Team for the London Olympics. He reprised his role of team captain from the 2011 World Championships, again aiming to steer Mark Cavendish to victory. Millar and GB team-mates Bradley Wiggins, Ian Stannard and Chris Froome were forced to set the tempo for the majority of the race, with little help from the other nations, and were eventually unable to reel back a thirty-man breakaway that had gone clear on the final climb of the Box Hill circuit, leaving Cavendish to come in forty seconds behind the winner, Alexander Vinokourov.
Millar was not selected to make the 2014 Tour de France team, a decision that left him 'devastated and shocked'. Millar retired from professional cycling after the 2014 season with his last competitive start being at the Bec CC Hill Climb in October.
In March 2015 Millar revealed he was coaching former teammate Ryder Hesjedal, and that he would represent the professional cyclists' body Cyclistes Professionnels Associes on the UCI's working group to establish an Extreme Weather Protocol to provide clear guidance on procedures in the event of severe weather affecting a race.
In 2001 he was in love with an Australian photography student. Shari travelled from Brisbane to France to see him race but he crashed on the first day of the Tour de France. The rest of the race barely improved. Millar said he went to Australia with his fiancée at the end of 2001 and returned not wanting to ride a bike. Their relationship ended. He consulted Jesus Losa, the doctor of the Euskaltel team in Spain,[n 7] and had more sessions of EPO in May and August 2003.
- 1st Prologue Tour de l'Avenir
- Tour de l'Avenir
- 1st Stages 1a & 6
- 1st Stage 3b Three Days of De Panne
- 2nd National Time Trial Championships
- 2nd Overall Tour du Poitou-Charentes
- 1st Manx International
- 2nd Overall Critérium International
- 2nd National Time Trial Championships
- 3rd Tour de Vendée
- 3rd Gran Premio di Chiasso
- 4th Overall Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
- 4th Overall Étoile de Bessèges
- Tour de France
- 1st Stage 1
- 4th Overall Circuit de la Sarthe
- 9th Overall Route du Sud
- 1st Stage 1b
- 3rd National Road Race Championships
- Vuelta a España
- 1st Stages 1 & 6
- 1st Overall Danmark Rundt
- 1st Overall Circuit de la Sarthe
- 1st Stage 4 Euskal Bizikleta
- 1st ITT 2001 Games of the Small States of Europe
- 2nd World Time Trial Championships
- 2nd Paris–Camembert
- 3rd Overall Tour de Wallonie
- 4th Overall Tour de Picardie
- 7th Overall Four Days of Dunkirk
- 1st Stage 13 Tour de France
- 2nd Overall Clásica Internacional de Alcobendas
- 3rd Stage 10 Vuelta a España
- 10th Milano–Torino
- Vuelta a España
- 1st Stage 17
- 2nd Stages 6 & 13
- Tour de France
- 1st Overall Tour de Picardie
- 1st Prologue Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen
- 1st Stage 4 Vuelta Ciclista a Burgos
- 3rd Overall Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré
- 3rd Classique des Alpes
- 4th Overall Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
- 1st National Individual Pursuit Championships
- 1st Stage 14 Vuelta a España
- 1st National Road Race Championships
- 1st National Time Trial Championships
- 1st Prologue Paris–Nice
- 2nd Overall Eneco Tour
- 1st Stage 1 (TTT) Giro d'Italia
- 2nd Overall Tour of California
- 3rd Stage 4 Tour de France
- 9th World Time Trial Championships
- Vuelta a España
- 1st Stage 20
- 2nd Stage 7
- 2nd Stage 4 Tour de France
- 2nd Stage 1 Giro d'Italia
- 9th Overall Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré
- 10th Overall Volta ao Algarve
- 1st Overall Three Days of De Panne
- 1st Stage 3b
- 1st Chrono des Nations
- Commonwealth Games
- 2nd World Time Trial Championships
- 5th Overall Critérium International
- 1st Stage 3
- 3rd Prologue Tour de France
- 1st Stage 2 (TTT) Tour de France
- Giro d'Italia
- 1st Stage 21 (ITT)
- 2nd Stage 3
- 2nd Overall Tour of Beijing
- 3rd Overall Circuit de la Sarthe
- 3rd Overall Eneco Tour
- 5th Chrono des Nations
- 10th Overall Tour de Romandie
- 1st Stage 12 Tour de France
- 5th Chrono des Nations
- 3rd National Road Race Championships
- 8th Commonwealth Games Time Trial
Grand Tour general classification results timeline
|Tour de France||62||WD||68||55||—||—||56||68||67||82||157||76||106||113||—|
|Vuelta a España||—||64||WD||103||—||—||64||—||—||80||108||—||—||—||144|
|—||Did not compete|
World championships Individual Time Trial classification results timeline
WD = Withdrew; In Progress = IP
- List of British cyclists who have led the Tour de France general classification
- List of doping cases in cycling
- Yellow jersey statistics
- Banesto, GAN, Casino, Festina–Lotus, Française des Jeux and Cofidis offered Millar his first professional contract
- Riders rarely need more than one chain-ring in a time trial but the cage of a front gear, which wraps round the chain, makes the chain less likely to lift off in high and low gears.
- Some reports of the police search on 23 June 2004 say the syringes were on a book, others that they were in a hollowed-out book.
- Stories had begun to spread of the Cofidis team after the discovery of a paper written for a learned journal by a psychiatrist who had spent time with the team. The paper didn't name Cofidis but it was possible, with other information, to draw a conclusion. The police started taking an interest. Gaumont had a history in cycling and the police concluded he would be a good man to question. He was stopped at Orly airport after 10 days' training in Spain. Gaumont saw no reason to be the scapegoat for things that went wider – the police suspected other riders and officials and sensed a network of drug-sellers and carriers – and he named names and gave a long account of what he said went on within the team. "I have been treated as an informer and a madman," he said. "That leaves me neither angry nor sad. I knew that one day I'd have to get it all off my chest. You don't drug yourself for 10 years with a smile on your lips."
- Floyd Landis was later disqualified from the 2006 Tour de France for taking drugs and the win was given to Óscar Pereiro, who finished 57 seconds behind him.
- Saunier Duval–Prodir's leading rider, Riccardo Riccò, was disqualified for doping during the Tour de France of 2008. Millar told Le Journal du Dimanche on 20 July 2008: "I didn't see anything [doping] organised even if, at the time, there were suspicions about riders who were having exceptional performances. But there is no anti-doping culture in the team. I like the manager, Mauro Gianetti, a lot, but he is naive. He trusts people who don't deserve it. A positive dope test doesn't stop with the rider. It has ramifications. If Saunier Duval doesn't know that a rider is working with another doctor, outside the team, it's because it hasn't done what needs to be done."
- Jesus Losa, the doctor of the Euskaltel team in Spain, was also named in court in July 2008 by the Spanish rider, Moises Duenas after his eviction from the Tour de France – Moises Duenas Blames Spanish Doctor For Positive Dope Test. Losa denied his involvement, said Duenas had paid him only for nutrition advice, and said he had been named in the Millar case but not questioned.
- Millar's victory on Stage 19 of the 2003 Tour de France was removed from his record at his own request due to doping
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Scottish time-trial specialist David Millar
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