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Watch > Episode > David Millar - The Truth About Performance Enhancing Drugs

David Millar - The Truth About Performance Enhancing Drugs


In the (literally) fast-paced world of professional cycling, few figures have made as profound an impact as David Millar. A former professional cyclist turned author and commentator, Millar’s journey is a captivating tale of triumph, redemption, and self-discovery. In this fascinating London Real episode, David Millar sits down with Brian Rose to discuss his career, the impact of doping on the sport and his vision for clean cycling.

Born on January 4, 1977, in Malta, Scotland, David Millar’s cycling journey began at an early age. His natural talent and determination quickly propelled him into the world of professional cycling. Millar turned heads with his exceptional time trial abilities and joined the French team Cofidis in 1997, marking the beginning of his professional career.

In 2000, Millar achieved a historic feat by becoming the first Briton to wear the leader’s jersey in all three Grand Tours including the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, and Vuelta a España. His prowess against the clock and strategic racing style made him a force to be reckoned with in the competitive world of professional cycling.

Millar’s career faced a significant setback in 2004 when he was implicated in the Operation Puerto doping scandal. Admitting to using performance-enhancing substances, Millar faced a two-year suspension from professional cycling. This period marked a turning point in his life and career.

Millar emerged from his suspension with a newfound commitment to clean cycling. He became an advocate for anti-doping initiatives, expressing remorse for his past actions and championing a culture of transparency and accountability within the sport.

Beyond the peloton, David Millar found solace and purpose in literature. His introspective and candid memoir, “Racing Through the Dark,” published in 2011, offered a raw and unfiltered account of his experiences in professional cycling, including the darker aspects of the sport. The book not only served as a cathartic outlet for Millar but also resonated with readers seeking a deeper understanding of the complexities within the cycling world.

Millar continued his literary pursuits with “The Racer: Life on the Road as a Pro Cyclist,” providing readers with an insider’s view of the highs and lows of professional cycling. His ability to articulate the physical and emotional challenges of the sport garnered praise and solidified his reputation as a thoughtful and influential voice.

As his competitive cycling career drew to a close, David Millar seamlessly transitioned to a new role as a cycling commentator. His insightful analysis and articulate commentary have made him a sought-after figure in the world of sports broadcasting. Whether covering Grand Tours or providing expert insights during major cycling events, Millar’s eloquence and deep understanding of the sport captivate audiences around the globe.

David Millar’s journey transcends the boundaries of the peloton. His resilience in overcoming personal and professional challenges, combined with his commitment to clean cycling, has left an indelible mark on the sport. Millar’s contributions extend beyond the race course; he has become a beacon for cyclists and fans alike, demonstrating that redemption and transformation are possible even in the face of adversity.

David Millar’s story is one of redemption, self-discovery, and a commitment to the integrity of professional cycling. From his rise to prominence as a gifted cyclist to his candid literary explorations and insightful commentary, Millar’s multifaceted journey inspires and resonates with those passionate about the sport. As a cycling maverick, author, and commentator, David Millar continues to shape the narrative of professional cycling, leaving an enduring legacy that goes beyond the finish line.


00:00 | Trailer
3:01 Brian’s thoughts on the episode
05:41 Brian’s introduction
06:06 What drives someone to be a professional cyclist
08:10 What makes a great cyclist
11:05 How David managed exhaustion, suffering, and hurting
16:00 Drug use in sports as portrayed in Icarus film and David’s damming views on IOC ethics and morals
22:59 Why cycling became clean
26:40 David’s argument for a change in punishment for drug taking in sport
28:02 Public dichotomy in wanting the best from their athletes while condemning those who cheat on drugs
29:32 Sporting world: a paragon of excellence, human condition at its best, corrupted by the normal world
31:51 The IOC must be held culpable for the state sport is now in and needs to take the lead in reform
32:52 How British cycling sport has changed in the last 20 years
35:47 The doping culture that previously existed in British cycling
37:42 You can’t plant what you think you know onto Lance Armstrong because it doesn’t apply, he’s unique
42:36 David admits it was possible to beat the system, it became a game, the compass had been smashed
44:27 Success Secrets
46:04 The mental damage done to athletes by drug taking is a serious issue and one that needs immediate attention
50:47 The drug that mentally affected David52:02 Sport should be the last bastion of purity
54:20 With gene therapy developments, will drug agencies be able to detect performance enhancement
55:33 David’s purpose is to disrupt and make a difference despite the IOC holding the keys and the locks
56:58 Sport has almost become an arms race with the IOC serving as a gladiatorial arena
58:32 Why there has perhaps been no doping scandal in American Baseball, Soccer or Basketball
1:02:54 The effects of Cortisone and EPO on David
1:13:31 What it is like to compete in the Tour de France and how it feels to become the yellow jersey
1:17:40 What it was like to come back after the ban and why he did
1:23:59 Peoples reaction to his message to the sporting world now and the success he has had so far
1:27:26 What it was like competing again in the Tour de France as a clean athlete
1:32:00 David speaks of his love affair with bike racing and the painful ending of that affair
1:35:18 Creating his new project CHPT 3
1:37:07 Finding a higher purpose in being the voice of anti-doping
1:37:58 The doping ban while coming as a relief also broke him up completely
1:39:34 What he does with the haters
1:44:27 His message to all athletes about drugs
1:47:58 David’s ultimate optimism for the next 100 years
1:50:20 His final thoughts on what people and big organizations need to understand to make the change
1:53:21 Brian’s summing up.


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