Books Reviews

Racing Through the Dark

Although subtitled ‘The Fall and Rise of David Millar’ this excellent book in fact follows a far more rollercoaster route than that simplistic linear trajectory might suggest. Opening with the one-time cycling hero at the lowest possible point: alone in a cell and with his personal and professional life in tatters with room only for reflection. And reflection is what this memoir serves up by the spade load.


It could be easy to dismiss a book quite this painfully honest and, at times brutal in its examination of the world of pro cycling, as nothing more than an exercise in personal confession and by extension cathartic cleansing. That, though, could be rather reductive (despite the fact that Millar is confessing all) because the arguments that he puts forward about the dangers – and considerable advantages of – doping within professional sports are powerfully put and he is clearly not afraid of exploring the grey areas that even those of a ‘black and white’ disposition when it comes to cheating should be forced to admire.


In interview Millar can come across as both intense and somewhat humourless and it’s accurate to say that both those characteristics apply to Racing Through the Dark. That’s not to say that it isn’t thoroughly entertaining – it’s absolutely riveting at times – just don’t expect too many laughs along the way. Some have accused Millar of being naïve in his expectations of future TdF riders competing ‘clean’ but its more a case of him (genuinely we think) hoping that this could be the case. Andy why not? If anyone can articulate the (very) highs of pro cycling whilst also illuminating the darkest corners, it’s Millar.


This is not only one of the best cycling or sports books of the year, but one of the best books period.


Racing Through the Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar is published by Orion (ISBN-10: 1409114945) with an RRP of £18.99 – available from



Giro Victory for Contador

The 2011 Giro d’Italia has drawn to dramatic conclusion in Milan (Sunday, May 29) with Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Bank) pulling in a third place win on the final stage Individual Time Trial to secure overall victory with a time of  84:05:14. The Spaniard had, in all honesty, looked relatively unchallenged (even unchallengeable) since taking the lead way back on the ninth stage Mount Etna run.  Adding to his 2008 Giro title, the 2011 edition win now brings his Grand Tour victories to six. In a warm and sunny Milan it was Britain’s David Millar of Garmin who won the 26 kilometre ITT, taking a comfortable looking stage victory in just 30:13, seven seconds up on second place Alex Rasmussen (HTC-Highroad) and some 36 seconds ahead of Contador.


Although this year’s edition of the Italian classic delivered all of the expected action and some truly memorable stages of racing it will, of course, be most remembered for the tragic death of Belgian cyclist Wouter Weylandt of Leopard-Trek who died after crashing on the Giro’s third stage on May 9.


For full Giro d’Italia results see: