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on 2 July 2016
Robert Millar was a pioneer of British continental cycling. Great at mountain stages and the first English speaking cyclist to wear the King of the mountains polka dot jersey. This book explores the man and the dedication needed to break into continental cycling. He had a reputation for being difficult and uncooperative with the press. However most likely he had developed coping strategies for being a stranger in the closed world of professional cycling which enabled him to focus on his performance although it does sound like he didn't take any prisoners. He has left public life and maintains his privacy. I liked that this book was not an expose of any of the rumours surrounding his disappearance. It gave insight into the professional racing teams and, yes use of PED but the main point was to understand Millar himself. Recommended for all those interested in the dedication it takes to reach the top in professional sport.
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on 19 September 2016
Fascinating biography of the UK's most successful road cyclist before the Sky machine came along, made all the more interesting by the total lack of interest in the project from the subject himself, Robert Millar. This is not your standard ghost written autobiography and a must read book for anyone with more than a passing interest in bike racing, professional cycling and the Tour de France. This was what life was like for any aspiring road racer in the UK before Sky sponsorship took British Cycling beyond the velodrome.
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on 14 June 2013
Robert is and always was a quiet cyclist. A bit like Joey Dunlop in his modesty. Excellent reading and an incite into how Robert worked(s). I always admired Robert for being as good as, if not better, than the worlds best climbers. As a Glaswegian they don't come tougher. Many of the comments added by fellow professionals who knew 'Bob' throughout his long(ish) professional career shed a sense of the 'real' Robert. The way that the professional bunch can work for and against riders with alliances and friendships that go way beyond any usual friendships. Roberts' experience of the Vuelta is echoed also by Stephen Roche in the way other teams can and still do work against riders. This can be intentional and sometimes it is just bad luck. Despite Bob not being directly involved, the way that his views are added (from e-mails, phone calls) and other riders adds to the reality of the read. It's a shame that his perceived terseness was viewed so negatively at the time when perhaps today, this would be viewed more of the specialness of the person and their individuality. Fast delivery and well packaged. Great read too.
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on 6 December 2015
Having read very many cycling books, this for me stands out as the best. It is expertly written, it's been meticulously researched and it offers an insight into the enigma that is Robert Millar. Strange that it has taken so long for a book about Millar to surface, but this was most definitely worth the wait. A wonderful insight into a man who was abviously ahead of his time, his diet in particular very much against what others were doing at that time. I remember watching Millar in his prime, I've watched 'The High Life' and now this book fills in a lot of the many gaps in Millar's unusual story.
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on 8 February 2012
I approached this book with somewhat unorthodox reasons for wanting to read it - the author, Richard Moore, is due to release a book this Summer (2012) about the famous drugs-tainted 100-metre race that featured Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis and Linford Christie during the 1988 Summer Olympics. As an avid fan of athletics and Carl Lewis in particular, I wanted to read this book to gauge if Moore does his research, and if he is likely to be fair and unbiased in his portrayal of the sporting protagonists, ahead of the forthcoming 'Dirtiest Race in History'.

I wasn't disappointed. There can be no better test subject for an impartial biography than Robert Millar - a man who is truly the Marmite of the cycling world. As Moore's book showed, during his cycling career Millar polarised opinion between friends, colleagues, journalists and rivals alike. Moore, whilst evidently in adulation of Millar and his achievements, does not hesitate to convey all aspects of Millar, including those that do not reflect brilliantly on his character.

Evident also, is the fact that Moore did some serious research and digging of the archives to present this re-telling of Millar's life, prior/during/post professional cycling. Even to the most casual cycling fan - like me - this book was really interesting, in-depth, factually accurate and had a gripping dialogue at the end of the book (which I won't spoil here).

The book is like a treasure hunt, exploring Millar's stomping ground for any clues whatsoever about, well, where he actually is. But it is so much more than that; providing great commentary about British perception of cycling during Millar's career and the transformation of the professional tour from continentally exclusive to the breakthrough of the 'foreign legion' (Roche, Kelly, Millar, LeMond et al).

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I just hope that I will be writing the same thing about Moore's next book come June 2012.
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on 22 May 2009
In this book the author tries to piece together the life of Robert Millar - one of the UK's top British cyclists of the 20th century. To be precise, he was THE top British rider, and some of his feats, like winning the `King of the Mountains' in the Tour of France, have never been equalled. Given all that, how come he is not better known or appreciated?

The answer lies sadly with the man in question - his personality did little to endear him to the many he encountered, and in particular the media. Partly that was down to being shy and introverted, partly down to wariness of his fellow-competitors in a tough sport and for reporters out for a part of him. Which is understandable, and hardly a sin. However being so withdrawn, abrupt and even rude was less acceptable.

Certainly the road from Glasgow to winning mountain stages in the Tour of France was as uphill as any he could have chosen, with neither any precedent of great success to follow, nor much encouragement along the way. Not only physically demanding in the extreme, at times the hostility to his presence and winning ways was so over-whelming to alone have defeated all but the most determined.

Destined to be frustrated by poorly managed and financed teams, in the right set-up Millar would no doubt have achieved even more. However his failure to reach the very top was down to his relations within the team, his inability to lead, and his reluctance to negotiate for support outside the team. All of which only underlines what he did achieve - he alone, on his own terms.

Millar, the cyclist and person, is more than enough to dominate the pages. It is hard to imagine how anyone could have better covered all the bases, captured all the evidence, been more faithful to all the quotes, than Richard Moore has done here. Respectful, yet probing, the dots are there to join....

What is obviously missing is the opinion of Robert Millar himself (apart from a reproduced email exchange). The fact that the story ends with the widely reported allegation that Millar has undergone a sex change only highlight how little we really know this person!

At one point I felt the lack of contribution from Millar rendered the exercise futile. That turned out to be unfounded - this is a moving and memorable account, it is established and will hold until Millar steps forward with the real thing.
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on 18 August 2013
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 rankings. I think people thought I was a bit odd for being a cyclist then, but I would often be asked straightforward questions, normally about 'the tour' for which there were no straightforward answers! This only seemed to confirm peoples opinion that cycling is an odd sport. Has anything changed?
I liked and admired Robert when he was racing and am disappointed that he seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth. This book goes a long way to tell his story and explain what happened next. He is still for me Britain's greatest ever cyclist (2013) who deserves greater recognition for his achievements. A great read. Anyone who has an interest in UK cycling will find this book interesting.
Come back Robert!
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VINE VOICEon 19 January 2008
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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on 25 June 2013
Robert comes across as being introvert,stand-offish & almost ignorant/rude . BUT having been a competitive cyclist myself for nearly 20 years it proves that if you want to be the best you have to make sacrifices sometimes to the detriment of your popularity and (typical of the British mentality about sport) because Robert was this way and not the "Amiable plucky loser who is willing to do every interview going to gain popularity rather than concentrate on winning anything" he never really got the plaudits (for instance a road named after him as it says in the book) that he deserved off the general public although most cyclists like myself rate him as one of the best. And once more he did all this CLEAN!!!!
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on 9 May 2016
I think this is one of the best biographies of a professional cyclist I've read (I'd also recommend Domestique' by Charlie Wegelius). I grew up watching Robert Millar but knew nothing about the man. I suspect all elite performers (in whatever field) are somewhat odd but even Millar's contemporaries described him as 'special' - reading the book you certainly get that impression - of a wonderfully unique individual with an incredible drive to succeed and determination to do things his way regardless of the opinions of those around him.
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