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Racing Through the Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar (English Edition)
 
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Racing Through the Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

David Millar , David Brailsford

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

By his eighteenth birthday David Millar was living and racing in France, sleeping in rented rooms, tipped to be the next English-speaking Tour winner. A year later he'd realised the dream and signed a professional contract. He perhaps lived the high life a little too enthusiastically - he broke his heel in a fall from a roof after too much drink, and before long the pressure to succeed had tipped over into doping. Here, in a full and frank autobiography, David Millar recounts the story from the inside: he doped because 'cycling's drug culture was like white noise', and because of peer pressure. 'I doped for money and glory in order to guarantee the continuation of my status.' Five years on from his arrest, Millar is clean and reflective, and holds nothing back in this account of his dark years.

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Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  96 commentaires
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Exuberant Frailty 29 octobre 2011
Par Doctor Moss - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
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. Now he accepts doping just as what riders do in order to be successful. He's caught red-handed, and he faces both suspension by the sport and criminal charges in France, where he lives.

In stage 3, Millar makes his comeback. During his suspension, he doesn't ride. He's lost the fun of cycling -- it's turned into a job, and now a job he can no longer perform. And his personal life has gone to hell. But he does pull it together, with help, and he is just gifted enough to get enough initial success to propel himself forward. He returns to the top of the sport again, and now, with Jonathon Vaughters' new clean team, Garmin, he finds what he clearly thinks is his more mature self, a spokesperson for clean cycling.

In the end, Millar takes a strident born-again anti-doping stance. He believes that what he lacked as a younger rider was someone who could give him the encouragement and support he needed to resist doping. Doping was ubiquitous but never talked about among the riders. The silence meant that even clean riders couldn't take a stance or band together for support with other clean riders. Now Millar wants, as an established, successful rider and doping-survivor, to fill that gap for other riders who want to stay clean.

He may be too fervent to be effective at getting other riders to do the same. He "lectures" Lance Armstrong after the 2007 Tour de France, challenging him to "Give something back, help us clean up the sport . . . " It doesn't go well, he says, having "perhaps lectured him for a little too long -- 10 minutes too long" in public. Lance says he has "bigger things to do now" than clean up cycling, and the friendship between the two is pretty much cooked.

I liked Millar at the end of the book. He is full of himself, and he proves that over and over again. But, unlike so many other cyclists, he ultimately admits his frailties. Even after having been caught, so many others, like Floyd Landis, carry on the lie in one way or another, destroying their personal credibility so thoroughly that we wouldn't listen to them even if they did try finally to tell the truth.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Culture of Silence Unveiled 23 octobre 2012
Par Alan Lekan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
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. He comes across fairly well for a first-time author: chapter endings leave the reader with suspense while he paints sharp contrasts - like starting his doping days in the idyllic countryside of Tuscany.

Many colorful mini-stories of fellow riders help keep things interesting. For example, if you ever wondered why enigmatic riders like Phillipe Gaumont and VDB imploded, you'll see here in part. And who would have guessed that prescription sleeping pills were one of the most abused (and perhaps needed) drugs? Sleeplessness is a bane of a modern rider having to stay at crummy hotels after abusing their body all day. Millar's most of all describes endless episodes of pain, depletion, abuse, crashes, sickness and how it sets up the appeal as EPO as a savior.

Why does a rider take such risks and use illegal substances? Because they work great! EPO, a main booster, is used extensively in cancer patients to boost red-blood cells (guess one place where team soigniers get EPO??) and does same in an athlete really well. Millar's experience once taking EPO, testosterone etc: "Things were becoming easier for me. I still felt like I suffered as much, but now I could suffer for longer and recover faster. It was like having the form of my life, day in, day out."

But "wanting to ride like superman" is only part of the reason a rider will cross that line. What will likely be new to many readers is the multifaceted dynamics within the culture that made doping essentially an eventual duty and part of being a good team rider and good employee. Against this backdrop, Millar and many other riders become more human. In David's own words: "The more I doped, the more I hated cycling. I felt an emptiness and pointlessness that would not go away."

Millar is strongest and most believable in his depiction of "the loss of innocence and soul" in his eventual (and really short-lived) doping days: "But it was all business now (once doping). it didn't feel like sport anymore. Winning this way was not my childhood dream. The victories seemed hollow; I felt nothing in the national anthem of my country."

In such a culture where team management blindly condoned or outright supported doping, one has to wonder why it was mainly the riders who took the fall. Where is the prosecution of cycling (eg: US Postal's) management are co-conspirators? Its easy to be judgmental - and athletes need to take full responsibility. But, after reading this book, you may more empathy for the riders and take issue with the entire cycling culture of business around them. Its a bit like the famous words of President Bill Clinton: "Its an explanation, but not an excuse." You can say what you want about any rider who cheated, but at least some like David Millar have now started a serious contribution to make things right. And if I see him around Boulder (Garmin Hdq), I will offer my sincere thanks.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Interesting tale 13 août 2012
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
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.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A gripping story of destruction and hope 27 juillet 2011
Par Mark van Gils - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
This is easily the most impressive (auto)biography I've ever read. A highly compelling, at times gut-wrenching,
first-hand account of riding the destructive road to doping via a cocktail of extreme competitiveness, peer-pressure and 'omerta'. But above all, it is a story of hope. Comes very highly recommended - even if you
are not interested in bicycling at all.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Good, quick interesting read 5 décembre 2012
Par nmf23 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
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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