The first time I rode a bike I was four or five. I crashed into the back of a car.
– David Millar
I shave my legs twice a week. It’s hard the first time you do it. But I’m very lazy. For a team photo in December I just did the fronts.
It seemed romantic but also tragic – people would be winning but then lose it all, or crash but fight on, break bones but get back on their bikes and try to finish. Just getting to the end was seen as an achievement in itself.
I think cycling has always had a tradition of being a bit dapper, especially back in the day.
My epiphany came in that police cell: I realised I was about to lose everything and it didn’t bother me, not in the slightest. I’d come to hate cycling because I blamed it for the lie I was living.
I think if I get the training spot on, the equipment perfect and I’m in the right state of mind, I can get a result there from no competitive action.
People do make mistakes and I think they should be punished. But they should be forgiven and given the opportunity for a second chance. We are human beings.
The sky was falling down on me and I spent most of the time drunk. It was the only way I could handle it.
Cycling is based so much on form, on aesthetics, on class – the way you carry yourself on the bike, the sort of technique you have.
But human nature dictates that there will always be cheaters. That’s inevitable. Where there’s money involved and glory, there are going to be people that cheat, and there will always be ways to cheat.
I’m an accumulation of every single thing I’ve done, good and bad.
Often the best guys are just those that can suffer longer, who don’t give up. And it’s so easy to give up, when you’re on a mountain and it’s really hurting. We go through a lot physically.
Everything that’s going on within the peloton – there’s about ten different races going on. There is also a survival element to it – I love the fact that it’s so epic. You crash on a bike, the first thing you do is try and get back up on it. No whinging!
I’ve been proud to be national champion. I’ve really enjoyed it. I have very little opportunity to remind people that I’m British and it’s a nice way of staying in touch. I’m going to defend it fiercely. I want to keep it.
Why should sports men and women get punished harsher than people in the normal world?
There will always be cheaters. It is human nature. It will never be 100 percent clean, in any sport.
Now there are two or three teams who are very ethical in their outlook who have opened up the economic benefits and that is probably going to be a turning point in the sport.
Survival is the main objective. There are going to be some awful days, I know that from my background in the sport.
I sat there with everything – and I had nothing.
In fact cycling has always been ‘saved’ by judicial investigations and not by the anti-doping controls we put in place. That’s the harsh truth. We have relied on them to clean the sport up.
In Italy it’s full-on stardom when you’re a cyclist – eating in restaurants for free, it’s great.
To be brutally honest, it’s simple economics. If they want to come into cycling, sponsors need to know the team they are funding is clean, otherwise the risk is just too great.
I like my hands. Which is lucky as I have to spend all day looking at them on the handlebars.