Saturday, 14 July 2012

millar takes four

It seems to be a good year so far for British riders in the Tour de France. It is with no small matter of pride that I enjoyed the site of David Millar take his fourth ever stage win yesterday and the fourth by a British rider in this Tour. Riding Through the Dark, his autobiography, has been required guff reading recently. Yes he is a complicated character but that's the way we kind of like it in Scotland. Graeme Obree and Robert Millar to name but two. David Millar's book alludes to the duty of care that was sadly absent from his first teams. Happy to impress the need for wins but a bit more distant when it came to taking responsibility for a process that may push their charges in an unsavoury direction.

Arguably Millar straddles both the old and the new realms of cycling. He was one of the last British riders in old style to take himself to France and find a team to ride with. His experiences troubling as they have been led him, on his return from doping ban, to be one of the core members of Garmin. The team is not some loose association but has a specific location in Gerona. It expects riders to congregate there and work together. It has an active anti doping policy and it is reasonable to suggest has set the template for Team Sky. We therefore owe a lot to David Millar's honesty since he was prepared to acknowledge his mistakes and to learn positive lessons from them. That his win came on the anniversary of Tom Simpson's death makes his position all the more poignant. It won't come as a surprise to mention that as he crossed the line I was on my feet hands in the air and cheering.

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