The British national championships will be back on the Isle of Man this year. As Rouleur’s email newsletter highlighted, Robert Millar won the national title there back in 1995 at the age of 36.
The win was the last race of his career and the house of cards that his team, Le Groupement, was built on came tumbling down. He was due to race at the Tour de France that year, but never got the chance to wear the British stripes.
Other riders on the team included Luc Leblanc, Jean-Paul van Poppel, Robert Millar, Marcel Wüst and Graeme Obree – who walked away when he realised he was expected to contribute a proportion of his wages to doping.
Philippa York, while racing professionally as Robert Millar was often someone of few words. But those words were carefully chosen and could be cutting or insightful.
“Why stop for a cup of tea when out training, when you could have one when you got home? Either you were training or you weren’t.”
As a racer, training was taken seriously. Rumour has it Robert would do a dozen reps of the Crow Road to try to simulate Continental climbs.
October kicks off with the Tour de Trossachs mountain time trial, run by the Glasgow Ivy CC and stalwart race organiser Jeannette Hazlett. It is a true classic in the Scottish, and in fact the British racing calendar. Amazingly it has run since 1943.
The former winners read like a who’s who of Scottish Cycling greatness: Ian Steel in the 50s, Billy Billsland in the 60s, Robert Millar in 1978 and the 80s, Graeme Obree breaking the record on a fixed gear in the 90s, and and Jason McIntyre winning in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and breaking Obree’s record.
Scotland’s, and one of Britain’s best, if not THE best road racer ever. Joyeux Anniversaire.
The picture is copyrighted and I apologise for the infringement, but it’s just such a good shot! It is from PEZ cycling news- if you haven’t already checked out that site you should do so. It has a good mix of race reports and interviews that you won’t find anywhere else.
Scottish writer Ed Hood has a fair amount published on there, including pieces about Billy Bilsland, Scottish classics like the Tour de Trossachs mountain TT and Robert Millar himself.
Last week Mark Cavendish won two stages of the Vuelta a Espana, becoming only the second British rider ever to win a stage in all three grand tours. The first was Scot Robert Millar, who completed the set in 1987.
Cav is the best British sprinter ever, and if his career continues at the same rate, may become the best of all time. But this doesn’t make him the best British stage racer ever. Tom Simpson took 6th in the Tour in the 1962 and was consistently challenging, and Bradley Wiggins equalled that placing in 2009. But Robert Millar was second in the Giro d’Italia in 1987, winning a stage, and came very close to winning the Vuelta in 1985, where bad luck, bad management and collusion among the Spanish teams prevented him from winning.
Find out more about this tragedy for Scottish Cycling in Robert Millar- the Stolen Vuelta, which unfortunately cannot be embedded. 🙁
Laurent Fignon died today aged 50, of cancer. Tributes have been made all across the world.
I wanted to look at Fignon’s greates achievements from a Scottish perspective, and his 1984 Tour win stands out- because it was the year in which Robert Millar won the polka dot jersey.
Below you can see Fignon celebrating winning the yellow jersey, and Robert Millar just on the edge of the shot. The image links to l’Equipe’s photo tribute to Fignon’s career -click on it for 24 brilliant images.
I couldn’t really claim to have watched Fignon when he was racing, so last night I was searching for any interviews where Robert Millar comments on Laurent Fignon. This morning Cyclingnews got his thoughts, and he provides a fitting tribute to the man and the sportsman in the link above.
As the Tour de France hits the mountains, here is a cool illustration of Robert Millar, Britain’s and Scotland’s greatest ever tour climber. Rider even. It is the second part of Richard Mitchelson‘s ‘Tete de la Course’ series.
Robert is illustrated in Richard’s minimal style, with subtle details that make the image of Fausto Coppi, Tom Simpson and Bernard Hinault instantly recognisable.
I came across this image on Simon Lamb’s Gazzetta Della Bici blog, who in turn found it on a facebook group called 80s cycling remembered. The group has over 3000 images of 80s cycling. This one was added by Duff Fawcett but there is no indication who the photographer was or what the source is.
Wikipedia tells us that in 1988, Millar rode for the French Fagor team and managed his best position in a one-day Monument Classic, third in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, which is the race pictured above.
In the Tour de France, he lost the opportunity of another mountain stage win in Guzet-Neige when, sprinting uphill to the finish with Phillipe Bouvatier, both riders mistook a gendarme’s signals, took a wrong turn and ceded the win to Massimo Ghirotto.