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Racing Through the Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar [Hardcover]

David Brailsford , David Millar
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (298 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.99
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Book Description

16 Jun 2011
By his 18th birthday David Millar was living and racing in France, sleeping in rented rooms, tipped to be the next English-speaking Tour winner. A year later he'd realised the dream and signed a professional contract with the Cofidis team, who had one Lance Armstrong on their books. He perhaps lived the high life a little too enthusiastically -- high on a roof after too much drink, he broke his heel in a fall, and before long the pressure to succeed had tipped over into doping. Here, in a full and frank autobiography, David Millar recounts the story from the inside: he doped because 'cycling's drug culture was like white noise', and because of peer pressure. 'I doped for money and glory in order to guarantee the continuation of my status.' Five years on from his arrest, Millar is clean and reflective, and holds nothing back in this account of his dark years.

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Racing Through the Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar + The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; 1st edition (16 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409114945
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409114949
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (298 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 33,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


His tale - bizarrely - has become just about the most inspiring in all of cycling, perhaps any sport. If you want to find out how cyclists dope, it's here; if you want to discover why they do it, there has never been a more vivid account. But the defining achievement of RACING THROUGH THE DARK is that it makes you believe in cycling again. (OBSERVER)

One of the great first-person accounts of sporting experience... laceratingly honest, detailing every twist in the argument by which he convinced himself to take a step he had previously considered unthinkable... anyone seeking to understand the motivation of a drug cheat, or wondering why such a man should be allowed back into his sport will find their curiosity satisfied here. (Richard Williams GUARDIAN)

Unbeatable as a snapshot of the professional peloton, its agonies and ecstasies... Emotional yet in no way overwrought, Millar's memoirs read like a parable more than a manifesto... essential reading for all young riders as well as fans. (PRO CYCLING)

The greatest strength of this plainly but compellingly told story is that it doesn't shock. Millar is searingly honest about his own failings and neuroses but his book is intelligent, subtle, nuanced, not flowery or overly descriptive - and it is all the more powerful for it...This will go down as one of the great sporting autobiographies (SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY)

RACING THROUGH THE DARK will be a shoo-in for every award going this year with its controlled writing about the ins and outs of his descent into doping and personal crisis and his return to the world (William Fotheringham OBSERVER - Tour Diary)

A sporting masterpiece, a timeless snapshot of a sportsman plumbing the depths and miraculously bouncing back both as a rider and a man. (DAILY TELEGRAPH)

[An] excellent autobiography... well written... surely one of the sports books of the year. (METRO)

He has, as this excellent work testifies, seen it all and done it all, full throttle. This is a shocking expose of the corruption at the heart of a wonderful sport. Those who run cycling at every level would be well advised to closely study it, though history tells us they probably won't. (Conor Lally IRISH TIMES)

Britain's most intriguing cyclist... this is no ordinary memoir... this is an extremely rare first-hand account of what drugs and doping have done to the sport of cycling over the last two decades (LITERARY REVIEW)

The story of his [Millar's] fall from grace is gripping. (SPORT MAGAZINE)

An incredibly personal, moving and compelling story. (CYCLING PLUS)

Millar recounts with stark, unshirking honesty the spiralling pressure which saw him drawn into a murky world of doping (GLASGOW HERALD)

A well written, well paced and addictive (appropriate n'est pas?) book. None of its 354 pages can be considered padding and though there will probably always be murky goings on in top level cycle racing when so much is at stake, David Millar is to be comgratulated not only on 'fessing up, and recounting every last humiliation in print, but for giving us mere mortals an inkling into the machinations of the modern peloton, both good and bad. (THEWASHINGMACHINEPOST)

Outstanding... This is a stunning account, comparable to Matt Rendell's THE DEATH OF MARCO PANTANI... His [Millar's] book is already being mooted as a contender for the year's best sports book. (BIRMINGHAM POST)

Searingly honest (MAIL ON SUNDAY)

Brutal, honest, realistic - words that can be used to describe this fantastic, sweeping view of a pro cyclist... This is purely and simply sports book of the year and Milar deserves all the credit not only for turning his life around, but for writing an exceptional autobiography. (BURTON MAIL)

Well written and worth reading. (THE PRESS (YORK))

One of the better sports books, which non-cycling enthusiasts will find easy reading and fascinating. (PLYMOUTH INDEPENDENT)

"Gripping... The subject matter for the most part might be bleak but the passion that underpins Millar's renaissance as he falls back in love with the sport for its own sake is ultimately uplifting.' (Owen Gibson OBSERVER)

"A great autobiography from the eloquent pen and mind of the Scottish pro cyclist.' (HEALTHY FOR MEN)

"A searing portrayal of the moral ambiguities of drug taking.' (Matthew Syed TIMES)

"Redemption is literally the last word in this brave book' (Alan Pattullo SCOTSMAN)

"Thought-provoking' (Claire Allfree METRO)

"A compelling read' (Christopher Maume INDEPENDENT)

"As gripping in telling Millar's personal tale as it is in detailing the dark underbelly that once threatened to envelop professional cycling.' (SPORT)

"In this vivid first person account Millar not only reveals his personal descent but the jaw-dropping scale on which doping took place.' (FINANCIAL TIMES)

A superb book....Millar's fall and rise is a modern morality tale (Jim Holden DAILY EXPRESS)

'A harrowing account of his [Millar's] fall from grace and subsequent redemption.' (Simon Redfern INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY 2011-12-18)

Book Description

Tour de France cyclist comes to terms with drug use and cleans up.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sports book of the year? 21 Jun 2011
By William
I had this pre-ordered for nearly two years, but it has been well worth the wait. Largely self-authored, according to what I have read, this is a beautifully written account by someone who really does have a story to tell. It reveals more about the doping era in pro-cycling than any number of enquiries or investigations could ever achieve. It also puts Millar's own misdemeanour into clear perspective. One of Britain's all-time greats, deserving of the status of 'legend' when he eventually retires, Millar may, with this book, have produced the greatest legacy of his career. Anything that beats it to the 2011 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award would have to be truly exceptional.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Painfully honest 10 Jun 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've seen David Millar interviewed on TV many times and he comes across as a very decent, honest if slightly humourless and intense man. This has not always been the case as he states himself, being honest about previous dishonesty should have been cathartic but he may not have found writing this enthralling and important book as cathartic as it might have been but if it serves to inject (pun intended) some truth and self examination into big time pro cycling then it will have done him and the sport a huge favour. I just wonder though if he is being a bit naive or indulging in a bit of wishful thinking at least in his belief that most (surely not all) riders in the forthcoming tour de France will ride "clean". He hopes so,surely everyone with any interest in the sport hopes so, but after years of proven and suspected drug cheating there will be a cloud cast over the race that will take some shifting.

Mind you, he is not convinced that the drugs he took actually helped him, so he may be right. Mayve the drugs don't work. Despite having said above that he comes across as a bit humourless when interviewed there are numerous ironic and wittily mischevious moments recorded in this book so it is not all doom and gloom by any means.

I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in sport not just cycling, or indeed anyone interested in the human condition that drives men and woment close to and sometimes over the edge of competitiveness. I will be very surprised if this book doesn't make it onto the shortlist for the next sports or even biography book prize. It is that good.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 5 Dec 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Apparently David Millar wrote most of this book himself and it gains authenticity for that. I was surprised that I ended up finding him such a sympathetic character, obviously knowing his history of drug cheating, but his revelations about the culture of road cycling, about the sheer matter-of-fact nature of doping and the way he has used his experiences as a positive to campaign for change were inspiring.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving tale 13 Aug 2011
By Sussan
This book encompases the part of sport that could not easily be explained or described in any other way than the way it has been portrayed in this book.

It has needed the personal and very touching, emotional experience of the author, to give this excellent description of the turmoil and excitment that is, for most of us, the 'Tour de France'. My question over the years of being a fanatic through the televised programmes, has been 'how do they do it?' Now I know!

However, it is not only the 'Tour de France' that is featured in this book, it is the capture of the lives and times of the cyclists and the surrounding regions in which they have been part of a culture that has been integrated into this wonderfully moving tale of woe, heartbreak and some laughter.

I could not read it quickly enough, I now want to stand on the side of the road at the Madeleine, preferably watching the riders, because it now means something, as it has to so many. Read this book, it is wonderful.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, compelling read 12 Oct 2011
I have to confess that I'd been a little sniffy about David Millar since his doping scandal. Plus, I don't think he interviews very well on the TV - a slightly odd character. But this book is a complete revelation. The book goes into huge detail about his early life and what led to his downfall. For someone like me who loves cycling, it is just fascinating to read all about one horrible day in the Tour in 2010 when he nearly gave up - something that would be covered in seconds on the TV, but is recounted in amazing and fascinating detail in this book.

I used to feel that David Millar should have been made an example of, and banned for life - I absolutely don't believe that now. I know it's easy to say, but he's not like a stupid Ricco or a denier like Landis and Virenque - he confessed when he was arrested and rebuilt himself painfully.

This is a no-holds barred account of his downfall and his rise back to a fulfilling life, and is simply a superb read for any cycling fan. Well done, Dave !
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RESPECT 15 Nov 2011
By Bobcat
I've always loved cycling as a recreational hobby. I've also enjoyed watching the pro racing when I can, and when it gets on TV - which is very rare in the UK - thankfully getting better now with ITV4 and Eurosport.

I am also a keen rugby afficiando, football too, in fact any sport really. I have to say this is one of the best sports autobiogs I have ever read.

It fits perfectly on 2 levels - firstly, the mind of the author. Secondly, the workings of the sport - whilst I knew that cycling was far more popular on the continent than it is in the UK, I don't think I realised just how big it is in terms of sponsorship investment, and the implied perils and pressures that go with that to get results.

And the salaries too - almost premiership football levels!!!

Hats of to David Millar. Will never be as famous as Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish etc but he is right up there with them in terms of ability and guts.

And he can't ride in the Olympics after all that?

Shame on the BOC. If ever they need a team captain / unselfish rider he is the man. He did the crime, he owned up when many others didn't, he served the time and practically went bankrupt over it too.

We've all messed up at times - that's life.

One word sums it all up,

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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
Wow what a book. Honest (as far as you can tell from an ex doper) and leaves you wanting to read the next chaper. Read more
Published 3 days ago by N
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Dave Millar is an open book a truly honest and intriguing account of his career from dark to light.
Published 4 days ago by Dai Rees
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent personal account of a very difficult period in David's...
Really enjoyed this book. Anyone who has enjoyed Tyler Hamilton's book will love this one too. David comes across as a tortured cyclist constantly wrestling with his conscience. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Lin Dabnor
5.0 out of 5 stars Redemption
Fantastic insight into the world of procycling. David Millar describes in great detail the troubles faced during the dark days of cycling.
Published 12 days ago by Mr. James Francey
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book
Really honest and good insight to the professional cycling world many of us dream of but so few get to join.
Published 13 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
A well written and compelling story. A look inside the shady world of sporting drug culture. Some interesting views on the movers and shakers in the nineties and noughties peloton.
Published 21 days ago by Gaynor
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
Really good account of life in the peloton in the late 90s and noughties. Great human story as well. D
Published 26 days ago by Dave
5.0 out of 5 stars honest and enlightening book
Really enjoyed this book. David Millar writes very honestly and in great detail about his fall from grace and how he has responded and come back a better and stronger person. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful
Just finished this book. Found it hard to put down once started it gives you an insight into why & how doping in not only this sport but others goes on.
Published 1 month ago by Simon the great
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest and inspirational
It was a while ago that I read this book, however I recall it was quite a page turner. I felt it was a story told with complete honesty, nothing held back. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mrs Janet M Beardmore
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