Tag Archives: David Millar

Pic of the day: Millar helps Farrar win at the Vuelta

Tyler Farrar won Stage 5 of the Vuelta, beating Mark Cavendish in the process (for once this season!). Below his teammate David Millar congratulates him. Millar is normally part of the lead-out but he came in 3 minutes down- not sure why.

The pic is by Italian photographer Sirotti– his ‘big photos’ are regularly featured on steephill.tv and are always absolutely excellent. Click the image for Steephill’s Vuelta coverage.

image by steephill.tv/sirotti

Hopefully Millar will not tire himself out too much leading out Americans for sprints and climbs, so he is still in good shape for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Dehli.

Links
Sirotti’s 16 big photos from Vuelta 2010 stage 5
Sirotti homepage
Steephill.tv home
Millar and Farrar on Garmin-Transitions flickr

Pics of the day: David Millar by Ed Madden

Up until now I haven’t really posted much about the Tour de France, because it is covered so well on so many other blogs, not to mention the professional news and photo sites.

But today, photographer Edward Madden was kind enough to send me some images of David Millar on Stage 8 to Morzine-Avoriaz. Ed has recently updated his homepage, which has several pro cycling photography galleries, and has some great cycling images on his flickr stream.

It’s pro quality stuff of the kind you’d expect to see on cyclingnews.com or in Pro Cycling or Cycling Weekly.


On days as bad as Stage 8 and 9, more water isn’t enough


Like the custom Scotland shoes

Millar’s nightmare day

The quotes from interview seem to be in the public domain, and you can find them in articles on Sportinglife.com, Road.cc and Velonation, and in French on velochrono.fr– so I don’t have too many qualms about reposting them here.

David Millar has been the only Scot riding the Tour for some time. Yesterday he had a jour sans, but struggled through one the hardest stage of the 2010 Tour so far alone, to finish just inside the time limit.

David Millar, Tour de France stage 8- Station des Rousses

“Today represents a brand new entry into my top five worst-ever days on a bike, I spent 180 kilometres by myself convinced I was going to abandon or be eliminated.”

He has loyal fans and vehement detractors in equal measure, and interestingly his ride yesterday was seen as either a heroic struggle or with schadenfreude, depending on which side of the fence you come down on.

“I crashed three times on Stage 2, and the third time I flipped over the handlebars and knew I’d really hurt myself. Ever since I’ve been battling injuries from that crash, plus a fever and stomach bug, and just basically hanging on for dear life. I started today motivated, but knew immediately something wasn’t right. My left side where I’d crashed just locked up and then my back started having spasms.”

“I spent about three hours packing in my head, at 100 kilometres to go I was 30 minutes down on the leaders. All I could see in my head were the contours of the stage from the maps. I broke it up into five-kilometre climbs and kept thinking – I have to get through this.”

“The fans on the side of the road were brilliant, they were cheering and telling me not to give up, and that made a huge difference for me. By the time I got to the finish, I didn’t know if I’d made the time cut – all I knew was that I’d finished.

Millar said: “And at the Tour, it’s about finishing. This is not a race you want to leave, or one you’ll give up on without turning yourself inside out.” One of the things I love about cycling is that a last placed finisher can be celebrated like this. The effort and struggle required to complete a ride when you are having a bad day is an achievement in itself, and something all cyclists can relate to.

This leaves him 147th on GC at 1:32.33. It’s meaningless statistic- that he’s still in the race is all that matters, If he survives the Pyrenees, he will be able to lead out Tyler Farrar (or perhaps Mark Cavendish) in the later sprint stages, and go for the win in the Bordeaux time trial.

David Millar, Stage 7 Giro D’Italia

Click this link to see an image from Garmin Slipstream’s flickr stream. Their flickr is protected so I can’t embed it in the blog.


image © sirotti/steephil.tv – click the image to see 35 brilliant quality large images from Stage 7.

David Millar limited his losses on today’s epic Giro D’Italia stage, which finished on the strade bianche dirt roads. He finished 1:29 down on GC, in third place.

Cadel Evans and Alexandre were stongest, on a day where several GC contenders were blown away, including Nibali and Sastre.

It remains to be seen whether Millar will be able to hang in the mountain stages… Stage 8 has a hilltop finish

Steephill.tv is a good place to start for links to live cycling feeds, highlights, photos, the GC and race reports of the Giro D’Italia and other races.

Pic of the day: David Millar, Tour of Flanders

David Millar did a good ride in the Tour of Flanders last week. He had made an all-out attempt to bridge from the chase group to the leaders Cancellara and Boonen, and got to within 35seconds, but when Gilbert and Leukemans joined him, he was dropped on the Muur.

This weekend Paris-Roubaix was one to forget though. Although faring well on the Flandrian cobbles, he admitted to Velonews that he is not strong on the French pavé.

Pic from Garmin-Transitions’ flickr stream.

(moving) Pic of the day: Edinburgh Nocturne 2009

David Millar, Cameron Meyer and Rob Hayles discuss the Edinburgh Nocturne 2009, a crit around a tough circuit of the Edinburgh old town which Millar won. It took in a short sharp climb, cobbles, and tight bends. The course was surrounded by pubs which might have helped the crowds and atmosphere.

I watched the race in 2009 and it’s not clear from FACE Partnership whether the Nocturne Series will take place in 2010, but if it does I will do one of the support races. Would be so cool to race in my home city.

Picture of the Day: David Millar, 2007 British Road Race champion

David Millar, Slipstream Chipotle, image by taimages.com, used with permission.

2007 Champion, David Millar, with his Felt bike wears his national title jersey for the last time before the 2008 championships. The team was Slipstream-Chipotle in those days (now Garmin-Transitions).

Millar is #4 on my Top 10 Scottish Cyclists of All Time.

Picture of the day: Dave Millar’s doomed escape

David Millar tries to stay away at the end of Stage 6 of the 2009 Tour de France from Girona to Barcelona. He was agonisingly caught with only about 1 km to go on the stage, after spending some time as ‘virtual leader’ of the tour after instigating the break with about 45km to go.

one of the top Scottish cyclists of all time

My Top 10 Scottish cyclists of all time

I thought it would be interesting to try to compile my Top 10 Scottish cyclists of all time, after being inspired by a podcast called the Two Johns, during an episode where they discussed a Top 10 list of American cyclists.

My main criteria for this list are achievements on the international stage- be that Grand Tours, Olympic Games, World Championships or Commonwealth Games. This has been deemed by some as a limiting factor- favouring racing cyclists. But after all, isn’t racing a way to measure greatness? Anyway, some acknowledgment has been given to Scotland’s touring greats, but I doubt if I will please everyone.

In addition to medals and results, other Scottish qualities are also valued, including: hard work, innovation, determination against bigger, stronger opponents, honesty, and other “underdoglike” traits such as riding well but not winning, or being a contender for a big victory.

As ever, this type of list is never definitive, all about opinions, and really just a bit of fun. Please feel free to comment.

10. Jason McIntyre
Jason McIntyre
Jason McIntyre’s achievements came in the face of adversity, and this often typifies Scottish sport. Tragically his career was cut short by a fatal road accident, which ended his life just as his career was belatedly taking off. 10th spot in my list could have gone to any number of riders, but I give it to Jason for the way he battled back from hardship in his personal life to become a National champion in his 30s, achieved so much from a relatively remote base in the highland, with little support, and looked to have much more to offer before his career was cut short.

15th Commonwealth games road race 2002
first Scot to win the British 25-Mile Championship- 2006 and 2007
Beat Graeme Obree’s 10 mile TT record – the mark of 18m 47s still stands (2017)
Tour of the Trossachs 50 mile TT – great write-up here on Pez

9. Mark Beaumont

Record breaking cyclist Mark Beaumont and THE bike

Mark Beaumont’s 2008 round the world record- 18,297 miles (29,446 km) in 194 days and 17 hours- is sometimes hotly debated as a cycling achievement, but for me it embodies the ultimate in the cycle touring tradition.

For some it is a feat of logistics as much as cycling, but consider this- 100 miles a day for nearly 200 days, in all weathers and conditions. Carrying 30-4kg of equipment. Unsupported. Logistics is naturally a challenging part of this feat, but then logistics is a part of any cycle tour, or even a road race. The team support for the Tour de France is a vital part

He didn’t just cycle around the world at a leisurely pace. He did it faster than anyone else, ever, smashing the previous record by 80 days. Beaumont took the round-the-world to another level, and it is being attempted in 2009 by another cyclist,

Compare this to Ellen McArthur, who sailed round the world in record time- an achievement that necessitated overcoming logistical problems as well as supreme endurance. The world sailing circumnavigation record is a prized goal, but for some reason, the cycling equivalent was not. Beaumont’s record has taken this event to the next level, and I’d say Beaumont is the McArthur of the cycling world, and his feat should be recognised more prominently.

Mark’s record was subsequently beaten several times, and in 2017 he is embarking on a new round the world record – in just 80 days.

8. Craig Maclean

spitting blood

Craig Maclean raced, and won, at the top of the track scene for several years in the late 90s and early 00s. As such he will always be in Hoy’s shadow somewhat, but with Ross Edgar he was part of a formidable Scottish team sprint team at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. His other medals include UCI Gold and Olympic Silver- Craig was a very strong rider and a consistent performer for many years.

Gold Team Sprint 2002 UCI World Track Championships
Gold Team Sprint 2006 Commonwealth Games (Scotland)
Silver Team Sprint 2000 Sydney Olympics
Silver Team Sprint 1999, 2000 UCI World Track Championships
Bronze Team Sprint 2001, 2003, 2004 UCI World Track Championships
1st place: various individual and team sprints events, British National and World Cup series level.

Read about Craig Maclean’s achievements within Chris Hoy’s autobiography.
He is also part of the rise of British track cycling recounted the in Heroes, Villains and Velodromes book.

7. Brian Smith

Brian Smith, image © Graham Watson

Brian Smith, image © Graham Watson

Brian Smith won the 1991 British professional road race championship (his first pro season) and went on to complete the 1994 Giro d’Italia for Motorola, on a team that included Andy Hampsten and a young Lance Armstrong. Internationally he represented Scotland at the 1984, 1990 and 1998 Commonwealth Games and Britain at the 1996 Atlanta Games. He also won races in the USA for Plymouth Racing Team.

He continues to have an influence in the Scottish cycling world through the Braveheart Cycling Fund, which supports young Scottish riders of all disciplines. A worthy cause- I look forward to seeing the next Scot challenging for the Tour de France!

Selected palmares
3 Commie Games ’86, ’90 + ’98
Twice GB PRO Champ ’91 + ’94 (2nd ’92 +’93)
1994 GP Midbank first European victory for Motorola CT

6. Billy Bilsland
Billy Bilsland, Peugeot-BP
A stellar international amateur career ensued with stage victories in The Tour of Czechoslovakia, the Peace Race, the Tour de l’Avenir, the Scottish Milk Race and the Milk Race. He rode the 1968 Olympics, making it into the winning break until a puncture ended dreams of a medal. -He recounts his 14th place in the 1971 world championship road race in an interview here.
He raced for three years as a pro with Peugeot, finishing 11th in Paris – Tours and 10th in the Tour of Lombardy. Making it on the continent in those days was not easy- as Ken Laidlaw, Robert Millar and Graeme Obree could attest to.
After retiring, he set up a bike shop, which his son now runs.

Other palmares
2nd British national road race 1974
3rd British national road race 1973

Bilsland was part of an early generation of British cyclist to make forays into Europe.
The best account of it is William Fotheringham’s book, Roule Britannia.

5. Ken Laidlaw

Ken Laidlaw, Scotland.

Laidlaw is somewhat of a forgotten man of Scottish cycling. He is not frequently mentioned, but finishing the world’s greatest bike race is a big achievement in itself. From a British point of view, this might sound like a ‘plucky loser’ tag, but it isn’t. Over the Channel, the French afford considerable respect to the last man- the Lanterne Rouge- because to finish the Tour is such a feat.

Ken was interviewed in 2004 by a local newspaper in Savannah, Georgia. Re gave an account of the 1961 TdF, and what racing was like then. “In my tour, we averaged 139 miles a day – flat out”. In those days, the tour was 800 miles longer than it is today.” Without the nutrition, sports science and bike technology of today, it would have been significantly more difficult. Interview is reblogged here.

Selected palmares:
First Scot to finish the Tour de France 1961.
Most aggressive rider of the day during stage 16 1961- led the stage but fell back with 7km to go to finish 19th. 65th place overall- only 72 of the 132 riders finished.

6th Briton to finish the Tour?  ref

Ken Laidlaw is also mentioned in William Fotheringham’s book, Roule Britannia.

4. David Millar

Commonwealth Games | Glasgow 2014 - Cycling Time Trial (Men)

David Millar’s career as a whole must be viewed in the context of the 2-year ban he received in 2004 for admitting the use of EPO. However his honesty and determination to spread an anti-doping message have set him apart from other banned riders, and he is now seen as an ambassador for clean cycling. For me, he took the punishment and then went on to make significant amends- not only being outspoken, but working with WADA, and helping to establish a stringently clean, independently-tested team in Slipstream.

Although the suspension does tarnish his reputation, he won Grand Tour stages and races before and after it and these results still put him amongst the most successful Scottish cyclists of all time. He was the youngest ever holder of the yellow jersey in 2000. It is tempting to ‘relegate’ him a place or two for the doping, but I feel his anti-doping work have made up for it, and even the non-doped results are still stronger than any other Scottish road racer.

There is a slight question over his Scottishness though- he was born in Malta, and has lived in Hong Kong, England and Spain. His parents are Scottish and he was selected (but did not compete) for Scotland in the 2002 Commonwealth Games. He is generally known as a Scot (as listed as Scottish on the Garmin-Slipstream site, and frequent media references). I would be very interested to know his personal feelings towards Scotland and whether he has a connection to the place.

Tour de France 1 stage win: 2000 stage 1. (2 stage wins during doping period? 2002 stg 13, 2003 stg 19)
Vuelta a Espana 2 stage wins: 2006 stage 14, 2009. (2 stage wins during doping period? 2001 stg 1, 2003 stg 17)
UK Time Trial champion and Road Race champion 2007
Tour of California 2008- 2nd place overall.
various other palmares

David Millar has published two books:
Racing Through the Dark – establishing his career, doping, and subsequent renewal
The Racer – an inside look at the life of a bike racer

3. Graeme Obree
Graeme Obree

The value of Graeme Obree‘s achievements is heightened by the fact that he undertook them as an amateur and in the face of great adversity. For me this embodies the Scottish underdog spirit. He broke the hour record and won world pursuit championships on a bike he designed and built himself, and in the face of obstruction from the UCI. He overcame personal problems to achieve these results and as such, is an inspiration to cyclists and people everywhere.

After the records, he entered the pro cycling world at the height of the doping era. When he refused to take anything, he was unceremoniously dumped- a great shame that we did not get a chance to see more of him.

Now in 2009, he has announced he will attempt the hour record again. As before, he has pushed the bounds of innovation and created his own bike, to meet the UCI regulations but to match his riding style. He has massive gear ratios, a custom hand position, but traditional frame and wheels. Good luck Graeme!

Selected palmares:
World hour record: twice holder, in 1993 and 1994. Beat a nine-year record held by all-time great Francesco Moser. Beaten first by Chris Boardman, before regaining the record and then Miguel Indurain.
Individual pursuit (4000m) world champion 1993 and 1995.
British 10mile Time Trial record holder- 18:57.

Graeme Obree’s autobiography is an honest and dark account of his struggles and triumphs
Ed Pickering’s book, The Race Against Time, focuses on the Obree-Boardman hour record rivalry
His training manual, The Obree Way, shows you specific advice and ways to think outside the box.
His wife has also published a book, Mrs Flying Scotsman, recounting the highs and lows during their time together.

2. Sir Chris Hoy

Chris Hoy

Track champion Chris Hoy’s three gold medals on the track at Beijing 2008 speak for themselves. 3 golds at a games is was the best medal haul for any Brit, for over 100 years. This is before you mention his numerous world championship medals at the kilo, the team sprint and the keirin. And his valiant attempt at the outright kilo world record, where he came up 0.005 seconds short at altitude in La Paz in 2007. He has simply dominated short-track racing for almost the past decade. And he made it look so easy.
Good luck for 2012 Sir Chris, we’ll be rooting for you.

[2015 – edit – Chris Hoy continued to win with 2 gold medals in 2012. He set a new World Record in the team sprint and his performance to win the keirin is one of the most outstanding performances I have ever seen, making him the most decorated British Olympian of all time. I’d put him #1 if I was rewriting this list today]

Chris Hoy’s autobiography charts his start in BMX racing through to his olympic success.
Chris Hoy also now writes the Flying Fergus series of children’s books.

Watch Hoy win 2012 keirin gold on olympics youtube channel

The Olympics Youtube Channel shows Sir Chris Hoy winning his 6th gold medal of his career in the keirin at London 2012, becoming the most decorated British Olympian of all time

1. Robert Millar

Robert Millar, Kellogg's Crit in Glasgow, early 1980s

Robert Millar’s King of the Mountains win, and his fourth overall place in the 1984 Tour de France puts him ahead of any other Scottish (or even British) cyclist, so for those two achievements, he is the #1. But he also has three Tour stage wins to his name, as well a Giro and a Vuelta stage win. He might have won the Vuelta a Espana, had Spanish riders (of different teams) not worked together against him to preventing him retaining his time advantage in the GC.

Millar is known an enigmatic and elusive character. It is the stubborness of this quality (also displayed in several of Scotland’s other top cyclists) which afforded him the single-minded determination to succeed in the sometimes unwelcoming world of European cycling. His achievements and subsequent disappearance are recounted by Richard Moore in his book, In Search of Robert Millar.

Tour de France
3 stage wins
KOM winner 1984 Tour De France (first time a Briton had won a major Tour classification)
4th overall 1984 Tour De France (highest Tour classification of any British rider, ever)

Giro D’Italia
1 stage win
KOM winner 1987
2nd overall 1987.

Vuelta a Espana
1 stage win.
2nd overall in 1985 and 1986
KOM winner 1987

NOTABLE OTHERS
Evan Oliphant, currently a pro in the british peloton, is going well and can progress further. He was three-time Scottish road race champion riding for Plowman Craven although he has recently switched team to Scottish-based Endura Racing (June 2009).

Ian Steel was a Glaswegian rider who won international recognition as winner of the Warsaw-Prague road race (Peace Race 1952?), and he also won the Tour of Britain in 1951, including three stages, and the British National Road Race championship in 1962.

Jackie Bone of the Glasgow Wheelers acquired national fame when he became the first British cyclist to attain an average speed of more than 20 mph in a 12-hour race. Jackie also rode as a member of the British team in the road race at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

George Berwick is another great in the touring/randonneur tradition, and although not a racer with competitive palmares to his name, he still holds numerous records for touring routes and annual mileage totals.

Tommy Chambers– cycle touring great who would ride 18,000 miles a year, and was once credited in the Guinness Boook of Records.

Davie Bell, pioneering off road cyclist and tourer/randonneur extreme, and for years had one of Scotland’s toughest one-day races held annually in his honour. David Bell’s The Highyway Man cycling column, was published as a book that is now difficult to find. His articles were originally published in the Ayrshire Post, and subsequently published as a book in the 1970s.

Ross Edgar, a prolific track racer who also represented Scotland but was born and lives in England.
Silver: Keirin 2008 Beijing Olympics, Team Sprint 2007 UCI world champs; Bronze Keirin 2007 UCI world champs; Gold 2006 Team Sprint Commonwealth Games.

Caroline Alexander, born in Lancashire but represented Scotland. Good palmares, and the only mountain biker in and around this list- strange with the quality of Scotland’s trails.
British National Mountain Bike Champion (XC) 6 times, 1995 European Cross Country Champion, 1998 British National Cyclo-cross Champion, 2nd UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Series 2 times (according to wikiP).