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David Millar

David Millar (born 4 January 1977, Mtarfa, Malta)[1][2][3] is a Scottish road racing cyclist riding for . He has won five stages of the Tour de France, two of the Vuelta a Espa a and one Stage of the Giro d'Italia. He was the British national road champion[4] and the national time trial champion,[5] both in 2007. He is the only British rider to have worn all Tour de France jerseys and one of five to have worn the yellow jersey.[6] He was also the first (of two) British riders ever to have worn the leader's jersey in all three Grand Tours.[7] He was banned for two years in 2004 after admitting taking banned performance-enhancing drugs,[8][9] but four years after his return he won the silver medal at the World Time Trial Championships. He is not related to fellow Scottish cyclist Robert Millar.


Early life and education

David Millar is one of two children of Gordon and Avril Millar. His father was a pilot in the Royal Air Force and Millar was born while his father was based in Malta for a 3 year tour of duty. His sister Frances also works in cycling, currently as the press officer 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 Cathay Pacific, an airline, based there. Millar considers Hong Kong as his home.[10] Millar moved to Hong Kong to join his father when he was 13. He rode in mountain bike races in Hong Kong "and did pretty well."[11] 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, west of London. His mother, Avril, took him there so that he would make new friends[12] and have something to do.[11] Millar showed talent and at 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.[13] Five professional teams[14] offered him a contract. He signed with Cyrille Guimard because his team, Cofidis, was based in the area[13] and he knew of Guimard's skill in recognising young talent.[11]

Early career

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-Ao t Breton. He profited from his background in 10-mile time-trials in Britain to win the first stage of the 2000 Tour de France,[15] 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.[16] 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.[17][18] Bondue was demoted to logistics manager.[18]

Hopes of winning the Tour de France were fuelled by his stage win in the 2001 Vuelta a Espa a, when he was in a breakaway with Santiago Botero on a mountain stage. However, Millar said that if he were to go for a Tour win, it would be only if he were certain of winning, not simply to do well.

Millar won a gold medal for Malta in the 2001 Games of the Small States of Europe,[19] held in San Marino. Millar was selected for the Scotland team for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, but withdrew to compete for Cofidis instead.[20]


David Millar, Tour of Romandy 2007
David Millar, Tour of Romandy 2007
Millar was eating in a restaurant in Bidart, near Biarritz, on 23 June 2004 when he was approached by three plainclothes policemen of the Paris drug squad at 8.25pm.[12] They took Millar's watch, shoelaces, jewellery, keys and phone.[21] Millar said:

After two and a half hours they found empty phials of Eprex, a brand of the blood-boosting drug EPO, and two used syringes.[12][22] Millar said 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.[21] The detectives took Millar to the prison in Biarritz and put him alone in a cell.[21]

The raid followed the arrest at the start of 2004 of Cofidis' soigneur, Bogdan Madejak.[23] 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.[13][23][24] On 22 January 2004 the magazine, Le Point, published transcripts of police phone taps.[23]

David Walsh, writing in the Sunday Times in Britain, said:

"Gaumont accused Millar of encouraging the team's doctor, Jean-Jacques Menuet, to give both him and another rider, Cedric Vasseur, a doping product.[25] Gaumont said: 'Vasseur and I went to Menuet's room and were injected with a clear liquid. If Menuet agreed to do so, it was because Millar asked him to. He is the leader of the team, and leaders have such power.' Gaumont's statement implicated Millar in the police investigation into Cofidis. It was certain that the police would interview him."[12]

Gaumont said it had happened the day before the Tour finished on the Champs- lys es in 2003, when Millar won the time-trial. Gaumont said he didn't know what was in the syringe but that " a m'avait bloqu (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."[13] He also denied Gaumont's claims that Millar had taken drugs trips by mixing Stilnox, a sleeping powder, with ephedrine, a stimulant.[13] He called Gaumont a lunatic and said he was talking "absolute crap."[26] But his phone calls had been tapped for four months[13] and Millar eventually confessed to police on June 24, 2004.[27] 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.[27][28] 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 Crit rium du Dauphin Lib r and 2001 Vuelta a Espa a.[29] 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.[26] Vasseur was forbidden to start the 2004 Tour de France but later cleared.

Millar failed in an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to reduce his ban, but the court backdated the suspension to the day he confessed, June 24, 2004.[30][31]

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.[32] 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.[13]

In 2001 he was in love with an Australian photography student.[33] Shari traveled 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 in his statement to police:

Millar said he went to Australia with his fianc e 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,[34] and had more sessions of EPO in May and August 2003.[13]

Doping had gained him 25 seconds in the championship, he said.[35] He toasted his championship in the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas[36] But the suspension cost Millar his job, his income and his house. He said: He was drunk for much of a year.[8][36] He said he scraped by with the help of family and friends.


Millar at the 2007 Tour de France Millar moved to Hayfield, on the edge of the Peak District of northern England[35][36] to be close to the velodrome at Manchester where British cycling has its headquarters. He was quoted as saying:

He joined a Spanish team, . Its manager, Mauro Gianetti, had contacted him nine months into his suspension.[36] He said:

"After what David has been through over the past 18 months and what he has learned, I can't believe that he would take a risk again. He has been through hard times and I think that he's emerged as a wiser person."[36]

William Fotheringham wrote:

"His comeback will raise hackles. There will be outraged letters from cycling's moral majority, who feel that all drug-takers should face life bans. Yet Millar has built a support network, ranging from his former trainer Mike Taylor to British Cycling's performance director Dave Brailsford, who has always felt his case to be a complex one deserving of understanding rather than condemnation.[37] Millar acknowledges that in one sense he is on a hiding to nothing. If he succeeds, there will be knowing nudges and winks. If he fails, ditto."[35]

Millar's suspension ended a week before the 2006 Tour de France and he rode with . 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, scar Pereiro.[38] In the 2006 Vuelta a Espa a, 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 [39] to join an American team, [40][41] run by Jonathan Vaughters, a former rider. Vaughters stressed the team's stance against doping.[42][43] 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.


Millar at the 2008 Giro d'Italia For the start of the 2008 season, Slipstream became known as Garmin Slipstream, and Millar took on part ownership of the side, in order to foster their anti-doping stance.[44] He also helped orchestrate '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 Crit rium du Dauphin Lib r , finishing ninth overall. He competed in both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espa a, 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.


Tony Martin]] 2010 saw Millar continue his strong time-trial form, with stage wins at the Crit rium 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. In addition to those victories, 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 Crit rium du Dauphin . 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.


Millar wearing the leader's maglia rosa at the 2011 Giro d'Italia 2011 saw Millar suffer from illness early in the season,[45] 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.[46] 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".[47] Millar was team captain of the Great Britain team that helped Mark Cavendish win the 2011 UCI World Championships road race.[48][49]


2012 Olympic Road Race]]. Millar fractured his collarbone in a crash in the 2012 E3 Harelbeke one-day race in Belgium on 23 March.[50] He returned to competition at the Tour of Bavaria and the Crit rium du Dauphin , where his best result was a 9th place on stage 4. Despite his injuries earlier in the season, Millar was selected to be a part of British cycling team in 2012 Summer Olympics, [51] and to ride in his 11th Tour de France.[52] He won stage 12 by escaping with four other riders, arriving from the finish line in Annonay-Dav zieux with more than ten minutes of an advantage over the bunch. He took the win after much cat and mouse play with Jean-Christophe P raud of .[53]

Despite controversy over his history of doping, Millar was selected to race on the British Road Race Team for the London Olympics. [54] 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 to reel back a 30 man breakaway that had gone clear on the final climb of the Box Hill circuit, thus leaving Cavendish to come in fourty seconds behind the winner, Alexander Vinokourov.


Millar is known for blunt comments, and he quit the Vuelta in 2002 to protest against the route and the course, which he considered dangerous. He had crashed several times and ripped off his race number and quit metres from the finish of the stage. William Fotheringham said Millar was always good for a piquant, "if often foul-mouthed", quote full of "F and C words".[35] He described his dress sense as "artistic grunge-chic".

Millar observed, when speaking about other riders:

The English author, Freya North, met Millar for her book Cat. She said he did not look like a cyclist, "more like a cross between a snowboarder and a member of a student indie rock group."[55]

Personal life

On 9 September 2011, David Millar's wife, Nicole, gave birth to their son, Archibald Millar.[56][57] Millar's sister, Fran, is Head of Business Operations for cycling team Team Sky[58].


1st Prologue Tour de l'Avenir
1st Prologue Tour de l'Avenir
1st Stage 6 Tour de l'Avenir
1st Stage 3B Three Days of De Panne
1st Manx International, Isle of Man
1st Mountains Classification, Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
4th Overall
2nd Overall Crit rium International
3rd Stage 3
3rd Tour de Vend e
3rd Gran Premio di Chiasso
4th Overall toile de Bess ges
1st Stage 1 Tour de France
1st Stage 1B Route du Sud
Youth classification, Circuit de la Sarthe
4th with Nicco Mattan Grand Prix Eddy Merckx
4th GP Breitling Karlsruhe
4th Overall Circuit de la Sarthe
5th Stage 4 Crit rium du Dauphin
1st Stage 1 Vuelta a Espa a
1st Stage 6 Vuelta a Espa a
Overall Danmark Rundt
1st Stage 5
Youth Classification
Overall Circuit de la Sarthe
1st Stage 4
1st Stage 5
Youth Classification
1st Stage 4B Bicicleta Vaca
UCI Road World Championship Time Trial
2nd Prologue Paris-Nice
2nd Paris Camembert
2nd Stage 5 Crit rium du Dauphin
1st Stage 13 Tour de France
2nd Overall Cl sica Internacional de Alcobendas
1st Stage 19 Tour de France[59][60]
1st Tour de Picardie
1st Stage 1 Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen
1st Stage 4 Vuelta Ciclista a Burgos
1st Stage 17 Vuelta a Espa a
1st 20px Individual Pursuit Champion British National Track Championships
1st Stage 14 Vuelta a Espa a
1st 20px National Road Race Champion
1st 20px National Time Trial Champion
1st Prologue Paris Nice
1st Stage 1 TTT Giro d'Italia
2nd Overall Tour of California
1st Stage 20 Vuelta a Espa a
1st Edinburgh Nocturne
Combativity award
Stage 6, Tour de France
9th Overall Crit rium du Dauphin
10th Overall Volta ao Algarve
Time Trial Commonwealth Games Time Trial
Overall Three Days of De Panne
1st Stage 3b ITT
1st Stage 3 Crit rium International
1st Chrono des Nations
UCI Road World Championship Time Trial
Commonwealth Games Road Race
1st stage 21 Giro d'Italia
Wore Pink Jersey on Stages 6 7
1st Stage 2 TTT Tour de France
2nd Overall Tour of Beijing
2nd Stage 1 Tour of Beijing
3rd Overall Circuit de la Sarthe
3rd Overall Eneco Tour
1st Stage 12 Tour de France

See also



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