Home
Garmin-Sharp rider to bring curtain down on successful - and controversial - career

David Millar has revealed that he is to retire from racing at the end of the 2014 season. One of Britain’s most successful road cyclists, he is also arguably the most controversial, serving a two-year ban after confessing to EPO use.

The Garmin-Sharp rider, aged 36, has won stages in all three of cycling’s Grand Tours – the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España – and was also the first Briton to wear the leader’s jersey in all three of those races.

Millar, who is married with two young sons, confirmed his retirement in a video interview with the Dutch magazine, Weiler Revue.

"It has been quite organic really," he admitted. "You always think it is going to be a definitive moment but it hasn't been. It has kind of crept up and I am suddenly realising it is time. “

Last year, Millar won a stage of the Tour de France, and he reflected: “I can still be on top of the game – I know that – but it is a lot harder for me now and I want to be on top of my game next year, so I know I can get that out of me.

"With the motivation of knowing it is my last year, I know I can get the best out of myself."

He rejected the idea his body was getting weaker. “I think my body is actually getting stronger. It is just that I don't want it or need it as much as I did when I was younger. It is very much a conscious decision.”

Asked what he considered to be the high point of his career, Millar said: “My whole career is a highlight. I’d like to think years from now I’d remember this as being one part of my life rather than one moment in my life.”

In 2003, Millar won the World Time Trial Championship in Canada, but within a year was in disgrace after police arrested him while he was having dinner in his then hometown of Biarritz, France, with British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford.

Police searched Millar’s home and found two syringes. Millar, then riding for Cofidis, insists he had stopped doping at that point and had kept them as a warning to himself, but his admission of having used EPO led to a two-year ban.

Following his return to the sport with Saunier-Duval in 2006, Millar became an high-profile critic of drug use within the peloton, and now sits on the athlete committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

He was also one of the first riders signed up to Garmin-Sharp’s management company, Slipstream Sports, when Jonathan Vaughters was putting the squad together in 2007 and now has a stake in the business.

It was WADA’s successful challenge last year at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) of the British Olympic Association’s lifetime ban for drug cheats that paved the way for Millar to compete in the road race at London 2012.

He had acted as road captain when Mark Cavendish won the rainbow jersey in Copenhagen in 2011, but despite leading a strong Team GB performance at the Olympics for most of the race, the chance of a gold medal slipped away from Cavendish on the final Box Hill circuit.

Born on Malta to Scottish parents, his father’s career as a pilot took Millar to Scotland and Buckinghamshire and – after his parents divorced – Hong Kong.

His upbringing, and his racing career, including his downfall and subsequent return to the sport, are the subject of his powerful autobiography, Racing Through the Dark.

Millar's programme for 2014 remains unknown, but the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France both start in the UK, in Belfast and Leeds, respectively.

Later in the season, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow may well be the event where the Scot decides to call it a day as he defends the time trial title he won at Delhi in 2010. 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

38 comments

Avatar
RussFar66 [14 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

So the biggest hypocrite in cycling is going  103

Avatar
notfastenough [3661 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Absolutely.

Assuming you've never made a mistake in your life.

Avatar
clarko86 [2 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Who will be the next scottish cyclist to make an world tour level impact?

Avatar
James Warrener [1080 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Farewell and good luck.

The final year will hopefully see havoc reeked on the Peloton  1

Avatar
Sadly Biggins [269 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

For what it's worth, I like Millar. Yes he cheated but he's now strongly anti-doping. The pro peloton needs a few more high-profile riders like him to lead the charge (no pun intended) on this front to try to ensure that younger riders don't feel tempted to cheat, especially after pro cycling's relatively recent history and the murk of the previous leadership of the UCI.

Avatar
Sandy_l [25 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
RussFar66 wrote:

So the biggest hypocrite in cycling is going  103

How so?

Avatar
Leviathan [1786 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Sandy_l wrote:
RussFar66 wrote:

So the biggest hypocrite in cycling is going  103

How so?

Oh, I cheated and got caught and it made me so sad  20 But now I am better and really against that sort of thing. Buy one of my books and read all about it.

Avatar
Simon_MacMichael [2443 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
clarko86 wrote:

Who will be the next scottish cyclist to make an world tour level impact?

I'm hoping for great things from Andy Fenn in the years ahead. Even if he was born in England  3

Avatar
stumps [3187 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Good luck to him in whatever he does but i hope he stays in cycling as a ds or similar.  41

Avatar
RussFar66 [14 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
notfastenough wrote:

Absolutely.

Assuming you've never made a mistake in your life.

Taking drugs is a decision not a mistake! Armstrong did it and is not the hypocrite Miller is.

Avatar
Doctor Fegg [143 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Millar for ITV4 Tour commentator, please. It's (well past) time for Phil and Paul to retire and Ant McCrossan's, er, enthusiastic style isn't best suited to a three-week stage race.

Only disadvantage is that you'd have to reschedule the Tour coverage after the watershed. "What the **** does that guy think he's doing, for Christ's sake, that's a ****ing suicidal move..."

Avatar
Chuck [521 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I know this is semantics but in my view Millar would only be a hypocrite if he was still doping while simultaneously denouncing it, which I don't think anyone is really suggesting he is. It's not hypocrisy to admit past mistakes.

RussFar66 wrote:
notfastenough wrote:

Absolutely.

Assuming you've never made a mistake in your life.

Taking drugs is a decision not a mistake! Armstrong did it and is not the hypocrite Miller is.

Avatar
ianj [20 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

"Hypocrite - a person who pretends to be what he is not"
so, took drugs, admitted he was wrong, lost everthing, worked hard to put it behind him, tried to use his mistakes to help others, never shyed away from being a drug taker.....now Di Luca, then you can use the word.........

Avatar
nuclear coffee [205 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I'd rather be the person who makes a mistake and then makes a sincere effort to make amends than the one who lacks the ability to forgive said person.

Avatar
Yennings [237 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

A classy bike rider. Imagine he'll stay involved in the sport through his team ownership. Won't massively miss his rather born-again attitude to dopers in the peloton, though.

Avatar
Colin Peyresourde [1637 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Yeah, I think there are those that doubt Saint David. Bear in mind I wasn't the one that coined that name.

I liked his book and how frank he was about the problems (though I sort of think he did a lot of picking and choosing when it came to his admissions - no rider who wasn't caught doping was mentioned, though likely for the fear of being sued as much as anything else).

I sort of feel with the way things are in pro-cycling and the amount he eulogizes about the cleanliness of the pro-peloton he is working the 'trust me, I should know' angle. But he in fact he is almost the last person we should trust (and to this extent
I sort of wonder about his comments about being stronger).

Garmin has been a sweet ride for him, being able to pick and choose when and where he rides and how hard.

I'm sure he'll move into some sort of pundit/DS roll. He at least gets kudos from me for not wearing Armstrong's Oakleys in 2005.

Avatar
James Warrener [1080 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Armstrong not a hypocrite and Millar is ?

One admitted it straight away, took his ban and came back to make a change.

The other is called Lance.

 7

Avatar
Raleigh [1665 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I'LL NOT HEAR A WORD SAID AGAINST 'IM

Avatar
ragtimecyclist [158 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
ianj wrote:

"Hypocrite - a person who pretends to be what he is not"
so, took drugs, admitted he was wrong, lost everthing, worked hard to put it behind him, tried to use his mistakes to help others, never shyed away from being a drug taker.....now Di Luca, then you can use the word.........

Completely agree, plenty of riders who've doped just slink back to the peloton and carry on picking up their pay check as if nothing had happened. Like him or not Millar puts in time and effort to promoting a positive message...he puts himself there to be shot at when he doesn't have to.

Classy rider too if you ask me, loved his attack along the gutter on the Champs Elysees this year.

Avatar
Swindaloo [15 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
RussFar66 wrote:

So the biggest hypocrite in cycling is going  103

Let's ignore the fact you're using words you don't understand for a minute. You feel his "Hypocrisy" is worse than the guys that doped and got caught, or even the one's who clearly doped/are doping but got away with it, and pretend like nothing happened and it's no big deal? Baffling..

Avatar
mudshark [41 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Can we ignore the troll please - one guy shouldn't spoil this. FWIW Millar is my favourite pro no question and I hope he gets involved in commentating though he'll be busy with Garmin I imagine.

Avatar
Simon_MacMichael [2443 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
ragtimecyclist wrote:

Classy rider too if you ask me, loved his attack along the gutter on the Champs Elysees this year.

Was wondering at the time whether that might have been his way of saying 'goodbye' to the Tour, but hopefully we'll see him there again in 2014.

Avatar
Metjas [359 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
nuclear coffee wrote:

I'd rather be the person who makes a mistake and then makes a sincere effort to make amends than the one who lacks the ability to forgive said person.

couldn't agree more.

Millar has done more to highlight the issues of doping in the peloton than most pro cyclists. Redemption.

Avatar
hairyairey [296 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I like Millar - he speaks his mind like Cavendish does. It'll be a shame to lose him. Wishing him every success with what he does and I suspect it'll involve talking a lot.

Avatar
Karbon Kev [688 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

good riddance, cheating hypocrite ...

Avatar
aslongasicycle [380 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

There are two reasons my son is called Millar. Both are Scottish.

Mainly its to do with admitting you're far from perfect, and transcending because of it. I admire that hugely. Here's to the weirdos and big mouths.

Here's something I wrote quite a bit earlier on it all:
http://www.vulpine.cc/Blog/road/cycling-characters-part-iii-david-millar

Avatar
SounDaz_7 [48 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

A brilliant cyclist and a fantastic role model for young and upcoming talent. Can't wait to see what DM does next season, I'm sure it'll be special.

Avatar
Al__S [959 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I'm guessing/hoping he'll stay involved with the Slipstream team, given he's got a financial stake in it. Hoping for fireworks next season- would be good to see him a grand tour stage (ideally TdF?). Outside of grand tours it could be quite the year for breakaways with both Millar and Jensie (who's sticking to shorter races) on their farewell year.

Avatar
paulmcmillan [95 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Really enjoyed getting out to see him fly round the streets of Glasgow with Stannard and Cavendish for the National road champs this year. World class time trialist & effortless style on the bike.

Avatar
Ottadini [17 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Always been a favourite rider of mine and if you want to understand the context of the doping his book's a great read.

Almost lost my voice shouting for him on the Champs Elysee this year, looking forward to losing it properly next year in Glasgow..

Pages