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Krey20

Racing Through the Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar

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The second book on my little literary cycling oddessy, and it turned out to be an excellent companion piece to the Bradley Wiggins autobiography 'My Time'.

In Wiggins' book the subject of doping in professional cycling is treated with contempt and dirision. It is almost batted away as an acusation. I can fully understand this position from a clean sportsperson, but it does not take into account the past drug culture of the sport, and the trust it has lost in the media as a result.

David Millar's book is a brilliant insight into that drug culture, it is an introduction to the murkier side of professional cycling, how even the most honnest, good intentioned sports person can be corrupted by their surroundings.

 

Going into this book I had a vague understanding of the drugs culture in cycling. I followed the USADA investigation into Lance Armstrong with interst and was shocked by a lot of the revelations. Even after that, I had a black and white view of doping in cycling, and sport in general. I simply thought, they take drugs to cheat. If they take the drugs they instantly win. David Millar's book blurred that definite black and white view into a huge mass of grey.

 

I won't spell it all out, but needless to say, this is an autobiography, so there is the usual biographical content, which gives excelent context for his eventual 'fall'. I found his writing voice quite eloquent, and his honesty refreshing, in a sport where dopers are usually plagued with denial.

 

By the end of it, I still didn't agree with what Millar, and many others have done to themselves and to their sport, but I understood it a lot better, and I do actually admire Millar for his 'recovery'. He has set himself up as an anti-doping ambasador and leads the fight to clean up the sport.

 

This book was published in 2011, I believe, so it misses out any reaction to the USADA report on Lance Armstrong. He was very outspoken at the time nd I was easily able to find news reports from Millar with his reactions. Like the book, it all makes for very interesting, if at times, uncomfortable reading. But that is entirely the point.

 

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