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72 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rider wrapped up in an enigma
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...
Published on 31 May 2007 by John-paul Shirreffs

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3.0 out of 5 stars Where is Robert Millar?
I quite enjoyed most of this book but the end is very weak. It seems that we don't actually manage to find Robert Millar, or maybe that is the point. Good but a little soft at the end.
Published 21 months ago by WengaBoy


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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
By 
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. I've read quite a lot of Richard Moores' journalism and the book is certainly journalistic, as well as covering ground that is familiar to any cycle fan, he gives me the feeling that I am being written to directly about my `heroes'. For me, this is good sports journalism. More than this, good journalism is story telling and Moore also paints the bigger picture, giving the reader a context for events. In this respect I was reminded of the writing of Maynard Hershon, of the (late lamented) Winning magazine fame. Yes, Richard Moore's book is that good. Along with many others, I have a fascination with Robert Millar and Moore explores the rumours and innuendo around the man. The book has sent me off on my own trip down memory lane, truly lovely stuff.

Even if you don't have such an appetite for attempting to solve riddles, this is a cracking good read. There is a lot of raw emotion, with interesting and valid parallels being drawn with those of similar mercurial climbing tragic talent: Pantani, Jiminez and Claveyrolat. There is also a lot of sometimes surprising character references from Robert Millar's old teammates, friends and managers. Robert Millar, for reasons that become clear when reading the book, had nothing to do with the writing of the book. A fact that make this volume all the more valid as far as I'm concerned. You are left to draw your own conclusions. This is one of the reasons why I found this to be more satisfying than Chris Sidwells' A Peiper's Tale', which, although an excellent read about another ex pro cyclist having wrestled and resolved many of his demons, is somehow too conclusive and not as imaginative or inspiring. An email correspondence with Robert Millar in the end of the book is really quite touching and leaves the intrigue open.

This book was well overdue in my opinion. On the internet, in chat rooms, out on a club run, you could take part in the `Robert Millar debate' with all the curiosity and frustrations that this would entail. The debate that would flare up, die down and reignite at some later date. It's all here - the rumours, the nonsense and the passion. Yes, for all that was perceived about Millar he is a man of passion. An over used phrase certainly, and one that might not sit well with such a phlegmatic Scot, but in the opinion of this reviewer, it is appropriate. You won't `know' Robert Millar by the end of the book, but you will understand a lot more about him, about the sport of cycling and what makes some of the athletes tick. This truly is the book that we've all been looking for. Perversely there's a part of me that would find it pretty disappointing if he now turned up in the Eurosport studios. Buy the book and read it, you will not be disappointed.

John-Paul Shirreffs
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile, 4 Jun 2007
By 
Ken Swin Spruz (Dundee, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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. This area, it has to be said, is not unaddressed, and Millar's life and travails are covered in probably just the right amount of depth and detail. In this day of celebrity "this and that" it is refreshing to read again about the exploits and successes of a man for whom celebrity was an unfortunate price that came along with being an exceptionally gifted an successful athlete who managed to have a career in the sport that lasted 15 great years at the highest level. Lets us applaud Robert Millar one final time when we have finished our time down memory lane (in the reading of this book) for his talent, the enjoyment he gave the watching spectators of probably the world's most demanding sport and for his honesty in the "adversity of celebrity".

One final note. Moore mentioned Lucien Van Impe as being Dutch on more than one occasion. I have every reason to believe that he was Belgian. I hope that was the only slight error (possibly editorial) in a "most recommendable" work. Bravo.
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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
By 
Rosian-Dubh (Glasgow, Scotland United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally readable, 11 Jun 2007
By 
D. M. Riley "Danielle Riley" (Manchester, U.K.) - See all my reviews
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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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Read, 29 Jun 2007
A very good book on a very much underrated (in the UK) rider. Single mindedness and dedication to the job in hand is a facet of the great competitors in all sports. Ali didn't care what people thought of him and told them so too, just like Millar. I think that it is a shame though, that this aspect of his personality has followed him into retirement, because, as the book also highlights, he did have a very good sense of humour as well.

It wasn't just Millar who has been, as a cyclist, ignored by the sporting media. As this is being typed, the British track cyclists that have performed so well over the last few years receive few column inches or television coverage. It isn't just a "Millar" thing: this country always seems to prefer of focus on what is perceived as "interest" sports, even if the county does not bring home the top prizes.

One problem with the book though: Lucien Van Impe is from Belgium, and is not Dutch as the author repeatedly states!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could not put it down, 3 July 2008
I 'knew' Robert Millar as we both worked at Weir Pumps in the Test department in 1977/1978. I followed his cycling career and truly believe that Richard Moore has captured the spirit and character of Robert in the book. He has done some amazing amount of research to come up with the book. It is much more than a 'Sports Biography'. For reasons I cannot quite explain I felt sad when I finished the book - maybe simply because I had finished a great read - or perhaps the apparent closing of the door on Robert's life.

I have also read Matt Rendell's 'The Death of Marco Pantani' which is also a very good book. Matt Rendell's writing is really excellent, as is his forensic analysis of medical records a la the drugs and doping. But the Robert Millar book is something else - much more personal and simply a 'good' story.

Wherever Robert is, and whatever he is doing, I console myself to hoping that at least he has read the book, and can hopefully consider that his life story has been well presented (at last).

Ian Reynolds
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very entertaining, 5 Dec 2007
By 
Mr. Terence Jones "terencej72" (Glasgow, Scotland, U.K.) - See all my reviews
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I enjoyed this book very much.
I only read books in work at tea and lunch breaks and when i get near the end of a book i very rarely take it home at the weekend to finish it.
I did that with this one.

I live in Glasgow and was just old enough to remember Millar's exploits in the TDF from 84 onwards. He was certainly a hero to all that rode bikes whether it be BMX's or racers.

I won't go into too much detail but this book charts Millar's carear from a teenager to his retirement with the help of interviews he gave himself, magazine articles and speaking to the people who knew him best - his peers.

Despite a stand-offish attitude to the media most pros described Millar as "strange but a good guy".

The book is very well written and engaging the bonus being the included email correspondance between the Author and Millar himself.

Thoroughly recommended
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mystery No Moore, 23 Jan 2009
By 
Neutral "Phil" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Being a sports fan in general, though not of cycling in particular, my main interest in reading this book was to discover who Robert Millar was. I did remember him winning a mountain stage of the Tour de France in which he simply left the opposition standing but that was years ago and, unlike many reviewers here, the notion of whether he was better than the tragic Tom Simpson is of no interest to me. Clearly it is of interest to them.

For many cyclist enthusiasts Millar seems to have been one of those people you either admired or despised. For those of us with little interest in the sport he comes across as a dedicated sportsman with a keen appreciation of - and distaste for - the British media's habit of gleefully building people up simply to pull them down as hard as possible. He is not the only who adopted this kind of attitude. Steve Ovett in athletics, Ellery Hanley in Rugby League and a Premier League manager have taken a stance of "You're not interested in what I say, you'll write what you intend to write, so stuff you."

And who can blame them? Professional sportsmen with the dedication shown by Millar are often mentally fragile, capable of being knocked off balance by the merest feather of criticism. Most journalists simply do not understand that sport is 5% physical and 95% mental and, who in their right mind, would focus their entire being on something as repetitive as sport? A winning mentality is significantly different from the mentality of taking part.

There's no doubt that Millar had a winning mentality and his single mindedness, coupled with a fierce sense of his own independence, was inevitably bound to produce conflict in the politics of sport. When he took himself off to France as a professional he just did it. It was what he wanted to do. He felt no need to explain and why should he?

Those who criticised his apparent indifference to Scotland in general - and Glasgow in particular - attempted to impose on him their own values rather than those things he valued. Millar himself called it a quirk of character, in reality it was the desire to be left alone to do his own thing.

Although Millar's exit from the sport was less with a bang than a whimper it was a loud whimper, his final success winning the British Road Race championship in 1995. Cycling politics and his apparent desire to move on ended his coaching career. He continued to write about the sport but in his own time he decided it no longer demanded him. He just let go and wandered off into the sunset to find himself. Some regard it as a waste of talent and experience, others just want to invade the privacy he prefers to maintain. As he himself put it, "I spent a lot of time living an extra-ordinary life so now a bit of ordinary peace and quiet is appreciated".

Allegedly no one knows where Miller lives and his observation that no one would recognise him now supported the unsubstantiated rumours that he has undergone a sex change operation. Miller is content to let people form their own judgement, knowing precisely who will reach what conclusion based on their prejudices. He clearly doesn't care.

Did I find the real Robert Miller? Thanks to Richard Moore I probably did. My conclusion, let the guy (ignore the sex change rumours) live his life in peace. He deserves it. His record speaks for itself and, if Millar chooses to adopt a policy of silence let him be, respect his final comment, "No more questions".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Insight into a Fascinating Character, 19 Jan 2008
By 
Richard Allen (Wellington, Somerset) - See all my reviews
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As a Scot and a cycling enthusiast, it was logical that I would follow Robert Millar's career closely. The fact that he rode with great flair and had such a cool image only added to his appeal. Clearly the author felt similarly toward Millar and this has resulted in an excellent book. Millar's story is told thoroughly from his childhood, through his amateur and professional careers, to his recent disappearance. The author's knowledge of cycling is considerable and this adds hugely to the story, explaining both the tactics and politics of professional cycling. Whilst he only had very limited access to Millar himself (as evidenced in an excellent conclusion where he recounts their email correspondence), he accesses a very impressive array of sources who add much to the story.

For anyone interested in professional cycling, this is an excellent read. As for Robert Millar himself, he's clearly a very complex character, but I was left with a sense that Richard Moore gets very close to the man. At the end of the book I was left with one closing thought; what on earth has Robert Millar's private life got to do with readers of a rag like the Daily mail? What do they care about the man and his achievements? This level of intrusion into someone who only wishes to be left alone is disgraceful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-overdue biography of a cycling legend., 31 Aug 2008
My earliest memory of Robert Millar is when he appeared in the Kellogg's cinema advert soon after winning the Tour de France "King of the Mountains" title. Sadly, Robert remains the only british rider to achive this level of success in Le Tour and this biographer makes no attempt to hide his admiration.

I don't agree with the reviewer who suggested that this is the best ever cycling biography but it is nevertheless a very good read. Journalist Richard Moore has done a terrific job of researching his subject including interviews with a wide range of people who knew / know Millar. Unfortunately, Millar himself did not cooperate with the book (although he did not actively provide an obstruction) and for that reason, there is little comment from the great man himself. Similarly, there is little in the way of comment from his immediate family.

Millar's career is covered in detail and the book doesn't shy away from discussing subjects such as Millar's legendary caution with money or his failed drugs test. A less sympathetic author might have been tempted to provide a bit more analysis in these areas. A fine book.
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