Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just open your current read to a random page and share a few sentences. Be careful not to include spoilers!
David Millar is a veteran professional bike racer who has raced in all the biggest events – the Vuelta, the Giro, the Olympics, and the Tour de France where he’s worn the yellow leader’s jersey. This memoir tells the story of his childhood discovery of the sport he loves, his journey upwards through the professional ranks, and his eventual bust for doping – and then his comeback to the sport, as a “clean” racer. It’s an emotional and unfortunately relevant topic for any fan of professional road racing. Here’s a teaser for you.
After winning Denmark, it would have been reasonable for me to think that I didn’t have to go to Italy, that if I worked hard and put my head down and believed in myself, I could win the Vuelta prologue – clean.
Perhaps if I’d had people – somebody – around me whom I could have talked to about it, then that might have been the conclusion I’d have come to and I’d have canceled the trip to Tuscany.
This is an example of the problem Millar describes as a lack of support for those racers trying to stay clean. He stops short of blaming his decision to dope on pressure from the sport or his team; in fact, he receives very little direct pressure. But the culture surrounding him, so nonchalantly accepting of doping, as he portrays it, makes it difficult for him to resist at a certain point, and no one supports his attempt to stay clean. There is definitely a discussion point here about the meaning and power of peer pressure, alongside the ever-looming question of “clean” competition vs. doping in sports and cycling in particular… I will say for now that Millar never struck me as making excuses. Review to come after this book’s US publication date. [Note: this book has been out in the UK for almost a year. US pub is this June.]
This quotation comes from an uncorrected advance proof and is subject to change.