Richard Moore spoke at the Portobello Book Festival in 2009, after he had published In Search of Robert Millar, the story of how he tried to track down Britain’s most successful Tour de France Cyclist.
Richard discussed some of the stories in the book, and the background to Millar’s enigmatic character. He touched on a few other snippets that I felt worthy of attention.
The infamous ‘sex change story’ published by the Daily Mail is something that most people couldn’t be bothered with. It’s distasteful tabloid bullying, but even if it was true, the majority of real cycilng fans wouldn’t give a monkey’s about. Althought the story was published by a gutter paper more interested in salacious headlines than facts, it does seem to have soured relations between Moore and Millar. Although Richard Moore’s investigative work for his book was conducted with caution and respect for privacy, Millar appeared to hold Moore responsible for the renewed interest. In Millar’s eyes, Moore was indirectly responsible for the sex change story.
Richard felt that Millar could have a lot to offer cycling in Britain, and I agree, along with thousands of other British cycling fans, no doubt. The sport is in a boom phase and he could use his profile to inspire riders young and old to get involved. Richard states that he himself was inspired to take up cycling by watching Millar in the Tour de France in the early Eighties. Unfortunately for us though, Millar seems determined to lead a private life.
The desire to shun the limelight is perhaps understandable. At the talk, both Richard Moore and Chris Hoy’s parents spoke of the difficulty that Chris has had adjusting to being recognised everywhere he goes after his triple gold medal performance at the Beijing Olympics. Being doorstepped, constantly recognised, and the feeling of being ‘public property’ would be pretty unpleasant for any person.
Robert Millar Rouleur Magazine issue 13
Robert Millar is not completely reclusive though. He came back to being involved in cycling when he wrote an article for Rouleur Magazine issue 13. This was sold out but back issues are available if you look hard enough and your pockets are deep enough.
The book won Best Biography at the 2008 British Sports Book Awards.