David Millar Interview

We chat with Cinquante Cents.

Interview audio is here

Photos courtesy Chris Henry and Team Garmin-Transitions.

schmalz We’re here with David Millar of Team Garmin-Transitions. Now, you’re part owner of the team, right?

Millar I am a stakeholder, yes.

schmalz So, out on the road, if someone does something that you don’t like, can you just threaten to fire them?

Millar Yes, fire them, fire the motherfuckers immediately.

schmalz Get me my bottle or you’re off the team…

Millar (laughs) Unfortunately, I have zero power, it’s purely a token (position).

schmalz It’s just a token thing, like you’re on the board of directors?

Millar Exactly, it’s token.

schmalz So you weren’t involved with Bradley Wiggins moving?

Millar I had nothing to do with it, unfortunately.

schmalz Was that a big surprise?

Millar Ah, big surprise? No. I mean Sky tapped him up at the Tour. I was surprised at how JV (Jonathan Vaughters) fought very hard to keep him. JV had a lot of personal interest vested in him (Wiggins). He really liked him. And he believed in him when no one else knew about him.

Shen He made him…

Millar Well, he didn’t make him. Six months ago, maybe even a year ago, Jonathan believed in Brad, maybe not as a GC rider, but believed in him as potentially a much better rider than he already was.

schmalz Well, without the year that he had this year, he wouldn’t have had the interest he got from Sky.

Millar Exactly, look, I understand both sides. For us, it’s been – not traumatic – but it’s a bit sad. We like Brad, and we had good fun, but they just threw shitloads of money at him.

schmalz The team’s young and this would be the first big exodus from the team, would you say this is the first time you’ve lost someone from the core?

Millar I don think it’s going to change our progression in any way. Brads come and go, our core element of the team remains the same. And we have Christian, who is a close friend of mine. I just love racing with Christian, if Christian were to leave that would devastate me, but Brad going – that doesn’t change anything.

schmalz It’s not like Christian was a schlub last year, he was eighth and he had a crash…

Millar He’d been on his bike for three weeks.

schmalz Yeah, and he had no preparation for the Tour.

Millar What Christian did was the ride of the Tour, and that’s one of the things I love about Christian — he’s spent the majority of his career as a domestique; as somebody who’s worked for the other guys — which he’s also liked, he’s not got a big ego. This year was a prime example, he went from being the top American finisher last year, fourth in the Tour de France — his life changed completely after 2008… He could’ve easily, this year, after breaking his back in the Giro said, "Eh, nah, I’m going to bail out. I won’t do what I’m supposed to do." But he didn’t. He got on his bike, did three weeks and came into it knowing he was going to under- perform. Which takes, as an athlete, courage and balls and lack of ego.

schmalz The interesting thing was that, as the Tour progressed, Christian fell into a role where he was going to help Bradley as it went along. Who was strongest became evident. And he was going to help out, because that’s the way Christian is.

[Christian] could’ve easily, after breaking his back in the Giro said, "Eh, nah, I’m going to bail out. I won’t do what I’m supposed to do." But he didn’t. He got on his bike, did three weeks and came into it knowing he was going to under-perform. Which takes, as an athlete, courage and balls and lack of ego.

Millar Yeah, that’s his default role – that’s what he does.

We’ve Got a Lot of Soul on Our Team

schmalz You can contrast that with the ways things went with Astana, where they had in-fighting, and "who’s going to be the leader", and then it just all went to hell. It shows that your team has a better sense of camaraderie.

Millar We’ve got a lot of soul on our team, that’s how I like to explain it. And it doesn’t matter who among us is going good, it’s just fucking great if they’re going good, and we’re going to work for them. And that comes a lot from Christian’s spirit and my spirit, we kind of set the standard on that. And I think we’ll always be like that. That’s one of the things I love about our team, I’ve never been on a team like that before. I spent my whole career on Cofidis, where I was a mercenary. I did what I wanted when I wanted. If I wanted to try and win a stage, I’d do that. If I didn’t, I’d just get dropped, and take it easy getting ready for another day. I didn’t have any cares.

schmalz Was the whole team like that? Back in the old days you tried to get UCI points in the rider rankings, and the more points you got, – the more you got paid. So it was an incentive for guys to just do whatever they wanted.

Millar It was particularly so of that era, with the old UCI rankings and the points system we had in place. I had a contract that we negotiated through IMG when I was 21;, it was a four year contract that was massively bonus- induced. So I’d have my manager come up and he’d get percentages from me, so he’d be like, "How are you doing? Are you getting points? Are you going good?", because he’d be getting money from it.

schmalz Did that make it a different style of racing for you and for other racers?

Millar It made it for me, that made me the person I was, it all added up. It was an accumulation of different things that ended up making me the rider I was and the person I was. But these days, it’s got a lot to do with how a team works. If you go into a team and you want to be part of it, and you enjoy the whole experience, then it’s not going to make much difference what your bonus system is. It’s kind of what goes around, comes around. And it’s a much more healthy environment to be in.

Shen The footage of you after that first stage of the Tour of California two years ago, when you got on the bus and said "That was so much fun!"; it was right from the start, what happened?

Millar It was one of the thing that Christian and I, when Jonathan first approached us when he was starting this team – Christian was on CSC at the time, a great team, and he had his role cemented until the day he retired, well payed, did his job… For me it was different. , I was on Saunier Duval, a team I wasn’t very comfortable in, I was coming back. I was underpaid. For me it was whole different ball game, I had an opportunity and I had nothing to lose. I had everything to gain, and Jonathan’s vision matched my vision. And I was on a soapbox, and I do still to this day love the fact that I can maybe make a difference, just even a little difference, in our sport. And Jonathan gave me that opportunity, and gave me the vehicle to do it with on this team. Hence, I was a stakeholder from day one. It was like, "Look, buy into this, Dave. Here you go, you can have part of this team. I need you to help me convince Christian and everyone else that this is going to work."

With the young guys, I just say: "Don’t do what I did." But the thing is now that they aren’t going to even face the decisions I faced, which is one of the primary goals with this team.

schmalz You often hear that you’re the cautionary tale for young pros – how does that work? Are you the "Scared Straight" guy? Have you ever seen "Scared Straight"? Do you just scare the crap out of them?

Millar With the young guys, I just say: "Don’t do what I did." But the thing is now that they aren’t going to even face the decisions I faced – which is one of the primary goals with this team. That’s one thing I feel very strongly about – I don’t want it to have any injectable recuperation. I don’t want a young guy to ever face getting an injection. I don’t care if it’s for vitamins or whatever – that’s not sport. The day you start getting injected, it’s not sport to me anymore. In regards to me being the "Scared Straight" guy, I don’t think they can relate to me. Honestly, I live in a world that’s so foreign to them.

schmalz It’s just such an old school way of thinking that they don’t even think that way…

Millar It’s not even that. I represent something that is old and past. And for them, it’s never existed, and never will. Which is the way it should be.

schmalz Do you think the temptation for you to dope was, like as you said, you had to get the (UCI) points or was it more that you felt that you were falling behind?

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Millar No, I’ve always said it’s such a combination of things, a series of unfortunate events. It was peer pressure. It was wanting to fit in. It was laziness. It was glory. It was money. It was so many things that accumulated, and it was getting taken advantage of. And like I said it was my laziness and it was my kind of "I couldn’t give a fuck." And you know what? Some of it was "I’m not going to get caught." I had done it for four or five years without doping, and I was seeing everybody around me and I had been so strong and so anti it (doping). And then I was seeing my teammates and knowing that my team management knew that they were doing it. I got to a point where, all of a sudden, that was my life. I was no longer a neo-pro, it was never an option for me to not be a pro – it was my life. I was a professional cyclist, I was 22, 23 years old, and this was it. I was in Biarritz with my apartment, everything, my whole life was professional cycling. And yet I was still living by these idealistic standards that nobody else in my sport, in my eyes, lived by. I was like, "I’m a fucking idiot."

schmalz You did it (doped) in a terrible country to do it in, because the cops came, you got tossed in jail – quite a life experience.

Millar For 48 hours.

It was peer pressure. It was wanting to fit in. It was laziness. It was glory. It was money. It was so many things that accumulated, and it was getting taken advantage of. And like I said it was my laziness and it was my kind of "I couldn’t give a fuck."

schmalz Were you in the general population? Did you have to whack someone as soon as you got in there, like in prison movies?

Millar No, well it was interesting, I was having dinner with Dave Brailsford, who’s the boss of Sky, and got arrested, taken out to the car park, shoelaces, fucking belt off, taken at gunpoint to my apartment. I was a full deal. Three cops, and hardcore drug squad from Paris, threatening violence on me.

schmalz Were they going to beat you?

Millar I got up at one point to show them something, and they were like, "Sit the fuck down!"

schmalz And they speak really good English too.

Millar Oh yeah, really good English, oh yeah. (laughs) They were cunts, man. I’ll tell you what, I fucking hate the police.

Shen As opposed to being the guy that scares them straight, what about, I think that you told Kimmage that when you were 23, you needed someone to look up to that who was clean.

I Had My Whole Sky Falling In

Millar Yeah, well, here’s one of my thing. When I got banned, I fucking hated the sport, I was resentful. When I just "blah", divulged everything, it was because I just wanted to be fucking done with it. I had no fucking conception of coming back into the sport. I hated it at the time. I was resentful of it, I blamed it. I was just like, "Fuck this, I’m just going to tell them everything, when I doped, where I doped, and that way I’m done with it. I can walk away and they can fuck off and have their sport. Cunts." And then I got drunk for 6 months, just had a proper mate’s drinking habit for a while, smoking… And it was a fun time. It was just indifference – alcoholism breeds indifference. Which is great when you’ve got so many concerns. I had my whole sky falling in, and alcoholism is a great escape. I met somebody in Glasgow who told me something wonderful as well, towards the end of it, when I said, "Well I’ve just been drunk for six months." It was a lovely lady, very successful lady, and she said to me, "Oh, David, don’t worry – I did the same thing. When you have a really big life crisis, there’s nothing better than getting drunk for six months." And I was like, "Yeah, you’re probably right." It got me through that really horrible period in my life, and when I came out of that, like seven or eight months in, I realized that all I had was cycling, and it was the one thing I loved the lost in the world. I was practically a teenager again.

schmalz I think that a lot of people that who get involved in doping, eventually become drug addicts or suffer from depression, because it’s a betrayal of what you started.

Millar I find the dark area of our sport, the dark places, there’s no other sport in the world that has had three or four major champions commit suicide through drug overdoses. You’ve got Jimenez, Pantani, Vandenbrouke – these were big guys in our sport – and they were talented, healthy. Can you imagine the amount of drugs it takes for them to kill themselves? It’s something that we forget about. And that’s the dark place that some of these guys go to.

There’s a big body count, it’s starting to pile up.

We have to remember that’s part of this legacy, and that’s the history of the sport. And now these young guys on our team, who can’t even relate to me, can’t even imagine that I even did the shit I did .T – that’s good, but at the same time, they need to know that happened. We can’t pretend it never happened, because if we do that, five or ten years from now, it will happen again.

There’s no other sport in the world that has had three or four major champions commit suicide through drug overdoses… that’s part of this legacy.

schmalz I think one of the reason people appreciate what you’ve done is that, you’re one of the few that’s said you’re sorry, you were actually contrite. There are so many people who actually do the time, do the two- year ban, but just never admit anything. I – it’s ridiculous.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Millar Well, going back to what I said about coming out of my alcohol binge, when I said I wanted to come back and I enjoyed it again. I got back on the bike, and it was the first time in a decade when I got on a bike and there was no reason to get on a bike, other than to just go for a ride. I hadn’t done that in over a decade. And it was like, "Oh, this is really nice."

schmalz Bike riding is fun!

I got back on the bike, and it was the first time in a decade when I got on a bike and there was no reason to get on a bike, other than to just go for a ride. I hadn’t done that in over a decade.

Millar And then I was like "Fuck, I am so lucky, that I can do this and I have a prospect of doing the Tour de France. " And I was the same teenager I had been 10 to 12 years before, but the difference was I was out riding a bike and instead of imagining and dreaming of one day doing the Tour de France, I knew that I had the option to do the Tour de France next year if I really wanted to, and I was like "Fuck, I’m lucky." And I thought, "I had lot of responsibility, if I come back, I’ll have to deal with this shit." I could never escape it. The one thing about getting banned and having dope is that it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Until the day I die, I’m going to be an ex-doper.

Shen If someone gets busted, they (the press) come right to you.

schmalz Well, you’re the go-to interview, firstly because you’re forthright and you admitted doping.

Millar Like I said, I assumed responsibility, and there is contrition there. But for me, I know that it would’ve helped me a lot when I was a younger rider to hear a big rider be honest and be contrite. And when I won that stage in the Vuelta, me saying I did it on bread and water, I needed to do that for that 23 year old version of me. The 23 year old version of me needed to hear me say that. If I had heard that, I could’ve gone, "Fuck you" to everybody, because I used to finish fourth or second in a time trials, and people would say, "Don’t worry, they’re all on drugs." That’s what they would say to me, everybody around me. And that was supposed to make me feel better.

schmalz Did that put the idea in your mind of "Either I do it, or I keep getting second."?

Millar At the time it would be, "Ah, you’re young David, just give it time." And it was like that, "Oh, get to 24, then you’ll do drugs and you’ll kill everybody." It was like, OK, mature physically, then get on the program, and you’re going to fucking kill everybody.

schmalz What do you think the state of the peloton is right now? As far as doping goes?

Millar I think it’s healthy. I think we are the vanguard of anti-doping because of the dark places we descended into. And remember, we only got out of it for economic reasons.

schmalz You didn’t want to jeopardize sponsorship.

Riding Clean to Keep Sponsors

Millar We’re the only team that did it for ethical reasons. Just because of Jonathan being Jonathan and me being me – we’re very idealistic. And that ended up being an incredibly intelligent marketing plan. But it was ethically based. It really was. It was idealistic and with with Doug (Ellis), Doug allowed us to do that. Because Doug gave us the funds and he had the belief and he had the will. But, other than that, every single other team has done it for economic reasons – it’s the only way they can keep their sponsor. But this is what’s made it successful, it is the invisible hand. It’s thanks to everybody realizing the only way they can make this sport continue to be is by having it clean. The only way they can keep getting paid and keep their livelihood is by being clean. And that’s what’s happened.

Shen You’re probably the only strongly anti-doping, contrite, ex-doper that who Lance Armstrong likes, why is that? You had a personal relationship before, right?

Millar One of my first memories of turning pro is meeting Lance, when he was fucking bald, bald as a coot. And it was young Lance coming back from cancer. So I’ve known him since I’ve turned pro, and he was Lance and he went through his shit and all that, then he came back. And I think he’s always looked upon me, especially in my younger years, as a little brother, and not just in a cycling way. He was just like, "Dave, you’re good, but fucking just buckle down and do your shit." He was very much like that. I was never able to fit into Lance’s way of being just 100%, boom, operational.

schmalz Well, not many people are.

Millar Yeah, well, he is a one-off. But I’ve always respected that, and I think he’s always respected the fact that I am flawed, and we both think we’re flawed in different ways. I’m living my life, he’s living his life, and we’re both very honest with each other.

Shen And how’s your relationship with (Paul) Kimmage? He went from the guy who hated you the most to almost being your biggest fan.

Millar Paul’s a great guy, Paul’s an interesting guy. He loves cycling so much, but he’s treated like dirt. But he also, a lot of times, treats the sport like dirt. And it’s a vicious circle, I think very few people are actually honest with Paul. If you’re honest with Paul, that’s all Paul asks of anybody, – is to be absolutely honest with him. If you do that, he’s going to treat you well. If you don’t… And he’s very good at reading you because he lives in a black and white world, Paul, there’s no grey, but he reads it very well. He knows that you’re playing and he doesn’t like that, he doesn’t enjoy that.

Barcelona: As Close As You Get to the Ultimate Experience of Being a Pro Cyclist.

schmalz So, about the racing this year, the Tour stage to Barcelona…

Millar Oh, yeah…

schmalz Close, right? You were away with two other guys, with about 20k to go, is that right?

Millar 30k to go, 28k when I attacked.

schmalz What was the plan there, David?

Millar Well, there was no plan, it was one of my absolute, purely emotional-driven moves. We left from Barcelona and we had the mountain day the next day, I destroyed myself the day before and the day before, so I was just, "No, I’m going to take it easy. " We raced down to the coast, we hit this beautiful road that snakes up and down, left and right, and it’s one that I do often in training, in winter especially, and in training me and Christian have raced up and down it. We’d go down and we’d sprint up. And we hit this road, and the race had gone bananas, and I was sitting at the front and I was thinking, "Oh, oh, oh, c’mon." And I was on the road and I was like a junior, I was like that kid from Hong Kong, you know, I was like, "Oh, I’m at the front of the Tour, oh, I’m going to go attack. I’ve got to go a bit." And I was watching everyone frazzle themselves, and I had just watched the Tour de France peloton destroy itself, and I sat down and I waited and waited, and as soon as everybody in the best race in the world had cooked themselves, I was like, "Fuck it, I’m going!" And it was just like…fun. I just attacked and just went for pure fun.

And after five minutes, realizing that I was off the front, I was like, "Awwww, idiot! You idiot!" This was with 150k to go, so then Chavanel bridged up to me, and Chavanel’s a lot like me, because he’s quite emotionally driven as well, and he was like, "Oh, what are we doing? Idiots!" And then Augé was coming up, and we were, "Let’s wait for Augé. With the three of us, let’s see how we go." Then we had two and a half minutes, and they were holding us. I was like, "Ah fuck." It just became this cat and mouse game. And we gave up with 35k to go, it was at a minute, so it was like, "Well, this is over. We’re fucked." And it started raining, and I just thought, "Fuck it! I’m going. And I felt really bad for like 8k."

Barcelona Breakaway: I was watching everyone frazzle themselves, and I had just watched the Tour de France peloton destroy itself, and I sat down and I waited and waited, and as soon as everybody in the best race in the world had cooked themselves, I was like, "Fuck it, I’m going!" And after five minutes, realizing that I was off the front, I was like, "Awwww, idiot!”

schmalz Were you praying for a crash behind you when the rain came? Because it’s in Barcelona, and there’s probably going to be some slick streets, it will at least slow them down…

Millar You know the funny thing was, I had no idea. I attacked when it started raining, it was more, "I’m off the front, I’m cooked anyway, let’s just do this." And I thought, "You know what? Riding through Barcelona, leading the Tour de France is going to be quite cool." And I got off the front coming through, and I’m very good in the wet, and I did realize it was as sketchy as a mother fucker. As I came into the center a motorbike tipped over, and it was, "OK this is sketchy."

schmalz There was a lot of mayhem in the race.

Millar It was to my advantage in many ways, but I’m coming in to Barcelona, and it was, honestly, one of the most incredible things I’ve ever experienced in my life. There were tens and tens and tens of thousands of people everywhere and for 20 minutes – I owned Barcelona. I was leading the Tour de France through Barcelona, the biggest boulevards were closed down.

schmalz It was such a beautiful finish, going up the hill.

Millar Oh, it was stunning. On the way here, two days ago, me and my wife, we stayed in Barcelona for the night, and driving to the airport, we were coming through Barcelona We came around a corner of this huge roundabout, and the big beautiful entrance was there, and I was in the car driving, and I was like, "Oh, shit! I can remember this vividly coming through here."

schmalz I almost won here!

Millar I can remember it vividly, coming through there on my bike. I came around the corner and I had been going through the boulevards, and even now looking back, I can remember being in the boulevards. , I was in my position, like tucked over, and I felt like ten men. I really did. I was looking down, and I wasn’t dropping it below 50 (kph). And I was like, "Don’t let it go below 50, don’t let it go below 50.", and I sprint out of the corner, as I get up to 50, "Don’t let it go below 50, don’t let it go below 50." I was coming and hitting the boulevards, and they were all like slightly false flats, and I was like "Awwww, cunt! (laughs) I’m gonna get raped!" And Whitey was in the radio saying, "Dave, Dave, you’ve got a minute, 55 seconds, 55 seconds." And I was holding them off.

schmalz They caught you at how many k to go?

Millar A k to go. But when I came around the corner, and I saw the view, I was like, so fucked. And I just remember how beautiful it was. I remember coming around and I had ridden through the boulevards of Barcelona in front of probably a hundred, two hundred thousand, three thousand people, since it was a public holiday as well. And it was sublime. As close as you get to the ultimate experience of being a pro cyclist. I was saying earlier, it didn’t matter if I won or not – if I had won – it still changes nothing about the experience I lived that day. It was sublime. It will stay with me until the day I die – how wonderful that was.

Remembering the Bad Old Days

schmalz And Goddamn Hushovd came through and took it away. So, how did your whole doping experience change you as a person? Going through the whole thing, from then to now.

Millar I grew up a lot.

schmalz Even by your own admission, you were kind of a jerk before…

Millar Oh, I was a dick! I was a total dick. My wife says she was pleased she didn’t meet me four years ago, five years ago. Oh, I was a cock. I wouldn’t have like to have met me six years ago. I was very irresponsible, I didn’t care. I just did what I wanted, when I wanted.

schmalz Fell into temptation, obviously.

Millar I was just a teenager, I was a 27 year old world champion teenager. I lived in Biarritz, I was making huge amounts of money and I still lived in the same apartment that I lived in as a neo-pro. I would just spend all of my money on partying. I was having fun, I would never eat in. I was like the mayor of Biarritz for a few years there. Literally, it was like my town, whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.

schmalz Partying like a rap star?

Millar Oh, yeah, French-style. (laughs)

schmalz The French 50 cent.

Millar Cinquante Cents. Yeah, no, I was a dick. But I was setting myself up for the fall, I just didn’t know it. It was like self-sabotage. The fact that I had the two syringes setting on my bookshelf, I knew the police were going to — I knew that was going to happen one day, I knew I was going to get caught. I wanted to get caught, it was my only way out.

I knew that was going to happen one day, I knew I was going to get caught. I wanted to get caught, it was my only way out.

schmalz It was EPO, right?

Millar Yeah.

schmalz And what was the effect of it? I don’t think it’s like you inject something and suddenly you’re like Popeye…

Millar You wouldn’t notice it unless you were a high level athlete, an elite athlete. And if you’re an elite athlete, it makes a big difference.

schmalz And then in training it was a big difference?

Millar All you do is, all that happens is, let’s say you’re riding up the climb and breathing really hard. – Iit really hurts. Once you do EPO, same sensation: I – it really hurts, but you can keep going. You keep going. A five k climb, where you’re like "It really hurts!" I, it still really hurts when you’re on EPO, but you get ten ks. And then you can recover immediately, boom, do it again the next climb. It sustains your maximal effort.

A five k climb, where you’re like "It really hurts!" It still really hurts when you’re on EPO, but you get ten ks. And then you can recover immediately, boom, do it again the next climb.

schmalz What was the plan for not getting caught? Did you have one? You didn’t have a very good plan, obviously.

Millar There were no out- of- competition controls.

schmalz And it was by hematocrit back then?

Millar I didn’t ever even come close to 50. I was conservative. I’d stop doing EPO, the three times I did it, I stopped 12 days before the race. And then I’d hear after that guys were still doing it in races, micro-doses up to two days before, a day before. And it was like, the topic of conversation was, "What doctor are you with, who’s that (one) with?"

schmalz And you all were left to your own devices to find EPO? The riders were doing it, it wasn’t the team thing anymore. And God knows what you were getting, how did you know you were getting something that was solid or wasn’t…

Millar Many times I didn’t care. The funny thing about doping is that you cross the line immediately when you dope, even if it’s written there correctly, it’s purely pharmaceutical grade, it’s obviously a branded syringe, you do it the first time and after that, it’s like, you’ve crossed the line.

schmalz You’ve joined the mob after that.

Millar You’re in. And I’ve always said, it’s an anticlimax. Everyone’s like "Ah, what’s it like the first time?" It’s like, mate, I spent years fighting it.

Shen You said it was relief, right?

Millar It was. It was just like, I had been so idealistic and fighting it, just fighting a losing battle, Jesus Christ. Then the day I did it, it was like, "Fuck it."

We’ve Got a Lovely Team Building Up Slowly

schmalz So the plan for the future obviously with the team leadership is to eventually take over and edge JV out, is that correct?

Millar Oh yeah that’s it, he is OUT! We’ll put him to pasture.

schmalz You’re by far a better dresser.

Millar (laughs) Ah, Jonathan, that’s Jonathan. I think Whitey’s the man, we’ve got a lovely team building up slowly. It’s been a very gradual process. You know, JV was, back a year and a half, doing everything. And now it’s like he delegates and he hands things off and the team’s growing. It’s been a steady progression.

schmalz Do the guys on the team feel the rivalry with Columbia at all? In American there are’s now three big teams, and if you count BMC, there’s four, which is unprecedented. And now you’re stuck in the middle of this American rivalry, now that you have all these teams that are going to battle one another.

Millar I think it’s just become Sky…

schmalz You’re not going to chase Bradley Wiggins down and take away the yellow jersey, are you?

Millar Ahhhhh…. (laughs)

schmalz That would be awkward.

Millar Rivalries are a funny thing. Generally it happens in the spur of the moment.

Rivalries are a funny thing. Generally it happens in the spur of the moment.

schmalz It’s an unprecedented thing in America, there’s only ever been one American team in big races…

Gallery of Americans

Millar You’ve got a lot of big American riders at the moment. It’s the "Lance Effect" renewed, he’s brought in Radio Shack on his own, and you’ve got a diverse selection of riders as well, personalities, styles… So you can take your pick. It’s quite funny how some of them are so popular and some of them aren’t. Each rider attracts a certain demographic.

schmalz You’ve probably seen that outside the bus though with certain riders and who they attract, and who are the groupies – I think George is good for that – I think George has a lot of American fans.

Millar George is loved.

schmalz Yeah he is. He’s a very beloved American rider.

Millar He really is, he’s like an icon.

schmalz I think Dave Zabriskie attracts a lot of geeks.

Millar He’s the perfect cycling pervert fan.

schmalz Yeah, you get the protractor types with Dave.

Millar Yeah, he loves it as well.

He’s kind of cerebral and ironic.

Off the wall, individualistic, anti-conformist .

schmalz So you’re totally going to fire him then?

Millar Oh, he’s out.  



It might’ve been interesting to hear what he thinks about the possiblilty of approaching other riders now that Wiggins is gone and how that would affect team chemistry…

C. Henry

Nice interview… and perhaps the first time I’ve seen a pro cyclist evoke the “invisible hand” of economics in conversation.


Great interview – NYVC does it again! and fair play to Millar for fronting up and answering the questions honestly

Xander Cogset

Nice interview, Millar is one of the more intelligent guys in the sport and it’s always good to hear from him. NYCV is THE place for smart interviews.

Jonas Tracknut

Another good one! Hats off to you guys… asking the tough questions and showing all the cycling rags how it should be done.


Great interview. I think Tiger could take a few pointers from David’s example. Contrition is a beautiful thing.

Derek Troy

Some great questioning there folks of David but he seems to get a light pass now that he’s become a spokesman for anti-doping, I suppose he can’t come out and say anything anti-lance due the force he exerts in the peleton, but surely he could h ave been questioned further on the rumours surrounding the loss of Lim to Radioshack and the seeming hatred from Bruyneel towards JV.

They seem to be preaching an anti doping method but I haven’t seen them push forward, the loss of Lim reinforces this idea that they are just paying lip service, unless of course I’ve misjudged Lim for another dodgy drugs wizard that baffles people with some oriental cooking.

LA sheriffs

While a good interview, and an interesting man, his views on police are quite childish. He hates them? Does he think the world would be better without them or does he just not like authority? Down with the man!

Chris J

Amazing Interview. Great work Dan.
I love David Millar. He’s my favorite cyclist.
You just can’t get this kind of cycling coverage anywhere else. It is world class. The best.

West Coast Reader

Yes you hit it! But whats with the non-bold excerpts to get us to read the story? They’re scattered through out, you don’t need them, unless you want the trashy newspaper look?

I met Dave back in ’02 and I can vouch for his statement that he was a dick, he was on the high horse but still approachable somewhat. I’m glad he can look back and see the wrongs or just look back and see it as it was.

You did forget the Lim thing or are you going to tell us what he said after he had his beer(s) at the bar?

You should of ragged on him for http://www.itsmillartime.com he took the site down and the cool forum where it was all Dave Millar talk, a bit much, a lot of Brits and me, still was fun though. I think I still have the picture of him pressure washing his MBK (fancy painted Cyfac).

Romain Compliant

He was a twat before he got caught. ‘A dick’? Nah too nice. An arrogant little asshole. He was a twat with his “Oh I kept the syringes to remind me and they just happened to be on my bookshelf” lie. He’s a twat for believing that you can fool all the people all the time. And he’s a twat now with statements like “Awwww, cunt! (laughs) I’m gonna get raped!” Good article though. Shows him for exactly what he is.

Gaetan Headset

If he says he is better now, I would hate to have met him before! At least now he is an asshole with a purpose.


Great interview – your style is so refreshing. I don’t feel like I am being spoon fed marketing bullshit.
I listened to the podcast too, and the interview text above missed one telling comment about the finish into Barcelona.

Schmalz said “And Goddamn Hushovd came through and took it away” and on the podcast you hear Millar say “At least it was Thor” – I think that’s a clear reference to “thank God it wasn’t Cavendish” – which is fair enough I suppose given the rivalry between the two teams.

Good on Millar for being so candid – he ought to listen to the recording though… the swearing is cringe worthy.
Wee fckin Scotch radge.


… Millar shag your wife or something, Romain Compliant?

Millar’s always a good interview and this is no exception. Nice work, guys. I don’t think he’s under any illusion that he’s lucky to have been given a second chance and is doing something constructive with it. Take note, Signor Ricco.


great read. i don’t know which is harder to believe – the “i wanted to get caught” statement or the “i only tried it three times” statement. funny how everyone who gets caught had JUST started doing it… but again, great read, and thanks.

Typo Negative

Schmalz: “You can contrast that with the ways things went with Astana, where they had in-fighting, and ‘who’s going to be the leader,’ and then it just all went to hell.”

In-fighting may have cost Astana a sweep of the podium, but first and third hardly makes a lack of camaraderie look hellish. And speaking of first, no one asks whether Garmin’s pursuit of Contador made their mission appear suspect. I mean, if you’re going to give AC the benefit of the doubt then you’d best give it to everybody. Millar seems to know that, at least in his reference to the positive culture surrounding younger pros. NYVC could learn something from him.

Lorenzo Kevlar

Many people hold these pro riders in very high regard due to their talent, celebrity, etc. It’s refreshing to see he’s just like other folks with his swearing and the lack of a PR person to vet his comments.


I love the candid straight talk. Good questions too. I’ll have to go back and look at that that ‘almost win’ at the tour.
I would have loved to have seen Horner on the Garmin squad. I’m surprised JV didnt throw’em a bone for the tour since Johan left’em out. I read that he put the feelers out and didnt get the call.

smallie's nemesis

Pretty good read/listen, but Smallie you seem to answer all of your questons before giving him a chance. I also found his take on Barcelona interesting. I and my friends knew he was doomed WAY before he did. Kinda like hearing your friend’s take on a race after the finish…very different from what actually went down. Keep up the great work David Miller!!

smallie's nemesis

No problem Smallie, just doin me job. But I wish you had asked him if he would have won that stage when juiced. Maybe he is following this and will post up.

Xander Cable

So Cooool..I hate him-I admire him..Such an interview!!!Front page Rolling Stone stuff.Vande Velde for 2010!!

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