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In Search of Robert Millar: Unravelling the Mystery Surrounding Britain's Most Successful Tour De France Cyclist [Paperback]

Richard Moore
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Jun 2008

The compelling story of Britain’s best-ever cyclist – one of the most enigmatic, complex and contradictory athletes in any sport – and the unravelling of the puzzle surrounding his sudden and dramatic disappearance. Fully updated with new material on the enigmatic Millar.

Cyclist Robert Millar came from one of Europe’s most industrialised cities, Glasgow, to excel in the most unlikely terrain – over the high mountain passes of the Pyrenees and the Alps. He was crowned King of the Mountains during the 1984 Tour de France and remains the only ever Briton to finish on the podium of the world’s toughest race.

In attitude and appearance he was unconventional – the malnourished-looking young Scot with the tiny stud in his ear who could be prickly, irascible and unapproachable – but to many followers he was the epitome of cool. Flying the flag for British cycling, this one-off original became a cult hero.

In Search of Robert Millar will follow the career of this other-worldly character, from his tough childhood on the streets of Glasgow in the 1960s to his move to France and success in the world’s most brutal and unforgiving races, including the controversy surrounding his positive drugs test and his enforced retirement from the sport at the age of 36.

It examines what set Millar apart from all other British cyclists who tried, and failed, to make an impact in this most European of sports, describing his single-mindedness, his eccentricity and the humour and intelligence that emerged only towards the end of his career.

It also proffers explanations for his subsequent disappearance, which repeated a familiar pattern: he vanished from Glasgow and never returned; he left his wife and son and his adopted country, France. Now, it appears, he has turned his back on cycling (amid rumours that he had undergone a sex-change operation).

Through interviews with Millar’s friends, acquaintances, cycling colleagues and ex-classmates, author Richard Moore helps to unravel the mystery of this maverick Scotsman, arguably one of the greatest enigmas in a sport full of remarkable characters.

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In Search of Robert Millar: Unravelling the Mystery Surrounding Britain's Most Successful Tour De France Cyclist + Slaying the Badger: LeMond, Hinault and the Greatest Ever Tour de France + The Death of Marco Pantani: A Biography
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperSport (2 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000723502X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007235025
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 13.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 33,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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‘…as riveting a read as any detective story, as well as an intriguing attempt to separate myth from fact.' The Metro

'..a prodigious work of research, (which)..delivers overdue illumination of a fascinating Scot'. The Glasgow Herald

‘A classic bird-like climber, light and wiry in build, Millar was the best British cyclist, all round, since Tom Simpson.’ William Fotheringham

'A fine portrait of Britain's most successful Tour de France cyclist.' 'The author's meticulous but lively book traces Millar's journey from Glasgow's tenements to the Alps and the Pyrenees, in whose company he had few peers.' The Scotsman.

From the Publisher

The National Sporting Club, Annual British Sports Book Awards 2008 - WINNER: BEST BIOGRAPHY
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
72 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rider wrapped up in an enigma 31 May 2007
The riddle being, the whereabouts of Robert Millar, the finest grand tour cyclist ever to come from Britain. The enigma being the contrast of Robert Millar's personas - the same man that performed so spectacularly and explosively in the arena of the high mountain passes in the biggest bike races in the world was also the man who gave monosyllabic answers to journalistic queries. In a way Robert Millar refused to provide his fans with any gratifying, instant emotional fix. Something that sits poorly with the modern confessional culture. The questions are simple enough, but Richard Moore's book `In Search of Robert Millar' takes us on a fascinating journey.

Richard Moore is a journalist, a breed that was traditionally afforded very little sympathy from the man that is Robert Millar. This is the perceived wisdom, but Moore digs deeper than that. There's no doubt that Robert Millar was a complex man and not easy to know, but when he spoke it was always something worth listening to. He never provided the usual `lazy' race analysis. He was always more pithy and constructively critical. Perhaps this is why he wrote so well once he stopped riding a bike for a living and maybe this is also why he never really made the opportunity to impart his undoubted wisdom to the British domestic racing scene.

Moore's book does a fine job of exploring the seeming contradictions of the lives of Robert Millar. He's a self professed fan of Millar the man and Millar the athlete, but this doesn't get in the way of his task, indeed it makes him research and write all the harder.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile 4 Jun 2007
Richard Moore's In search of Robert Millar finally provides the myriad of Cycling fans with something that they never thought they would see; a whole book dedicated to Britain's greatest and most successful cyclist. Millar himself stated once that he had no intention of writing such a work so many assumed it would never be available; thankfully Moore does not disappoint.

He takes us through the chronology of Millar's career from his birth and life in Glasgow, to national and international cycling sensation, through to his retirement and his subsequent and complete exit from public scrutiny to being a private person with a right to lead a life free from any sort of interference, whether it be from prying journalists, the cycling world at large or his many thousands of supporters and fans who recognised in Millar an impossible dream come true, mostly an awe and simply people who would have (and indeed do) refer to him as a (their) hero.

In his introduction the author states that one of his aims is to discover Millar the person rather than just Millar the cyclist. In part he succeeds. His interviews with many of the cyclist's peers and friends give further insight into what made him a great, generous and `special' cyclist. He also reveals the more public taciturn, monosyllabic Millar as so often reported by outsiders and or certain journalists. Perhaps Moore labours too extensively on this area. Millar, as is described, had his own way of doing things and part of that was letting his legs do the talking by winning races, or coming close, and letting the public enjoy the sport of cycle racing; he was the one after all who was doing the suffering, in part for money and winning, and in part to allow the lovers of the sport to witness real spectacle.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally readable 11 Jun 2007
This book should carry a warning because once you start reading you can`t put it down and the rest of your life goes on hold!! I`m of the generation where Robert Millar was a good bike rider it wasn`t until reading this book that i realised he was a great bike rider. Imagine if a Brit was placing on the podium in major tours these days then we as cyclists would be beside ourselves. But Millar did it in the 80`s and did it in his own style. The author has spoken to most people who had anything to do with Millar and everyone has given there opinion love him or hate him this comes out in the book, Richard Moore has captured the emotion and the passion and added his own personal anecdotes that makes this book even more readable. It details Millars career in detail and updates us with his unsucessful foray into cycle coaching and subsequent withdrawal from the cycling scene to his almost total reclusiveness but adds intrigue with correspondance from the man himself. Moore should perhaps consider a career as a mystery thriller writer the way he has unravelled this amazing story. And this book should be a serious contender for the Sportswriter of the year, much better than the Pantani book and no technical jargon to put the reader off. In my opinion the best cycling book ever written and i`m already looking forward to future Richard Moore publications. Buy it you won`t regret it.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long overdue recognition 19 Jun 2007
After years of wondering if we would ever see a book on Robert Millar, Scotland's cycling super star, Richard Moore has produced a stunner. It really is a 'warts and all' story, and none the worse for that. I read it in two sittings and was completely held by the writing. There's an amazing amount of detail in the book, despite Robert not having a great deal to do with it, although he gives it his blessing and adds some email comments on various aspects. His explanation of the EPO testing criteria was very interesting indeed, especially the different rules regarding cyclists and cross-country skiers for example. This is a must buy for anyone remotely interested in bike racing. Well done Richard, you've done Robert proud.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 9 days ago by E
5.0 out of 5 stars Robert Millar
What a read, highly recommended book. Robert Millar was a hero of mine,he did it his way, and why not!!
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Individuality
Cycling is a tough sport and Millar a tough man!
Given what has happened to continental and simultaneously British cycling since the publication of this book, one wonders if... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Adam Breaks
4.0 out of 5 stars really fascinating read
I thought this was a really good book and would recommend it to anyone interested in Robert Millar's cycling career
Published 4 months ago by John Baxter
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting search for the identity of perhaps Britains best...
Even if the author never gets much nearer to finding the real Robert Millar ( perhaps impossible ! ), the search & effort are an excellent read .
Published 5 months ago by Turnbull paul
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Illuminating insight into a career, and retirement of the great hero of 80s and 90s British cycling. I would recommend
Published 6 months ago by Mr D G Andrews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting and Entertaining!
A loner and an oddball?
Is he weird or is it everyone else?
What ever the case an incredible journey with a large measure of professional success well worth the read.
Published 8 months ago by Matt
5.0 out of 5 stars Robert Millar
In Search of Robert Millar book; A super Read, ideal for Cyclists to find out about how tough it is to be a Pro
Published 9 months ago by Violet
5.0 out of 5 stars Millar,the questions answered.
I'm still reading the book but I'm on holiday next week in St Andrews and look forward to relaxation and the Millar book will be a principle factor.
Published 11 months ago by Kenneth McNamee
5.0 out of 5 stars The enigma?
Robert was always a controversial character, I have read a few stories about him and his ways. He was around at a time when cycling was very much an also ran in the UK sports... Read more
Published 11 months ago by SideBurn
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