The unexpectedly inspirational story of a pro cyclist’s “clean” return to the sport after doping.
David Millar was an avid bicycle road racer in his teens, and after he turned pro at age 22, he raced in all the big European events, including the Tour de France, where he wore the yellow leader’s jersey. He resisted doping for years, but not forever; he was eventually busted for the illegal use of performance-enhancing drugs. His story was, perhaps, not highly remarkable in a sport already ridden with doping scandals, but it became noteworthy when he spoke out about his experiences, took a strong anti-doping stand and returned to the sport as a high-profile–and still highly accomplished–”clean” racer. Racing Through the Dark is his story.
Millar’s memoir begins in childhood and follows through rocky years on the pro circuit, the painful decision to dope after abstaining for years, the details of his bust and the raging alcoholic haze of his ban before returning to the sport. It includes anecdotes featuring many of pro cycling’s biggest names, including Mark Cavendish, Stuart O’Grady and Lance Armstrong. Millar’s voice is appealingly open and artless. He takes full responsibility for his poor decisions even as he criticizes pro cycling’s traditional code of silence that overlooks or condones widespread use of illegal drugs. While Millar excoriates the culture of doping, he doesn’t use it as an excuse. He comes across in the end as a surprisingly honorable figure, whose continuing professional career offers a final theme of redemption.