David Millar: Stylemeister

Cycling is a sport steeped in the tradition of style. There’s no denying it. From the days of miners and farmers escaping the hardships of a life spent toiling in harsh and filthy conditions either under or above ground, through Coppi and his Cosa Nostra-esque garb and swagger, Merckx and De Vlaeminck’s 70s sideburns, to Cipo and his many hits and misses both on and off the bike, there have always been riders who just look the part. I don’t hesitate to add David Millar’s name to that list as a modern day doyen of cycling style.

While we’re all wrapped up in farewells and handing out plaudits, let’s not forget that the curtain is about to be lowered on the long and storied, some may say sullied, career of this polarising British rider. Yes, we all know what he did. We have either accepted it and re-accepted him, or possibly still hold him in contempt. To me, he was always a classy Pro with a fluid riding style, a constant time trial threat, a worthy wearer of the Maillot Jaune and Maglia Rosa, a multiple stage winner in all three Grand Tours. Nothing more, nothing less. Not a fan, more an observer and moderate admirer.

Off the bike, however, Millar’s style is something I’m definitely a fan of. Maybe it’s because of his inherent Britishness that enables him to pull off the array of casual, smart, almost foppish looks which he does so well. Crisp collared shirts, tailored suits, pastel polos, smart shoes, just the right balance between ostentatious and sensible accessories. In the peloton, you could usually rely on him to be largely Rule compliant (and even if he wasn’t, he’d somehow manage to get a pass with ease). Being a tall and thin guy myself, his dress sense and attention to detail is not the worst template to work from. Especially as I’ll never pedal a bike as well as he did.

 

I think cycling has always had a tradition of being a bit dapper, especially back in the day. Fausto Coppi, Jacques Anquetil and that older generation were renowned for being suave and sophisticated gentlemen off the bike–that’s something I was enchanted by. They always looked so cool. 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.

David Millar via

Chapeau Mr Millar.

[dmalbum path=”/velominati.com/content/Photo Galleries/brettok@velominati.com/Millar/”/]

Millar’s tips from Mr Porter

The David Millar Project

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87 Replies to “David Millar: Stylemeister”

  1. Well done Brett, Millar’s retirement does deserve some tip-o-the hat. He is a badass on and off the bike. I am a fan, even more so after hearing him refer to himself as a doper. I don’t know of anyone who has dealt with it more honestly. Many may disagree with that last sentence but that’s my take. 

    Fuck him; good looking, great bike rider, great writer. I need to hang out with him 

     

  2. @TBONE

    Despite last Thursday, scots are still part of great, and I mean G r e a t Britain* They may not like it but democracy spoke.

    *all great except our shite pot holed roads, wanker drivers, politicians, cost of living, endless stream of fat people, rain, xfactor and anyone called Gavin.

  3. @TBONE

    ‘career of this polarising British rider.’

    ‘Off the bike, however, Millar’s style is something I’m definitely a fan of. Maybe it’s because of his inherent Britishness’
    He’s Scottish.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Millar

    If he reads this, don’t be surprised if he chucks his bike in your general direction.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIW1MAvyPD4

    He might be a Scot but judging by his morning after tweet he’s have voted “No”

  4. @brett

    @TBONE

    ‘career of this polarising British rider.’

    ‘Off the bike, however, Millar’s style is something I’m definitely a fan of. Maybe it’s because of his inherent Britishness’
    He’s Scottish.

    Last time I checked, Scotland voted to remain part of Great Britain.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/388435/scotland-remains-british-now-editors

    I guess the News doesn’t make it to ‘Murica.

    ‘Murican’s loved how we could do the whole secession thing argument without the necessity of a four year war and the devastation of half the country.

    (Possibly) Voting “No” doesn’t make him unstylish. Style, politics and the ability to ride a bike are separate things.

  5. @brett

    @TBONE

    ‘career of this polarising British rider.’

    ‘Off the bike, however, Millar’s style is something I’m definitely a fan of. Maybe it’s because of his inherent Britishness’
    He’s Scottish.

    Last time I checked, Scotland voted to remain part of Great Britain.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/388435/scotland-remains-british-now-editors

    I guess the News doesn’t make it to ‘Murica.

    Hey hey now. T-Bone is from Canada eh. Yes, it’s part of North America, but not privy to the same derision as my brethren. (Since this has morphed into some sorta geography throw down).

    Back on track: yes Millar, though previously a douche, is quite the standard bearer of style.

  6. ‘David Millar (born 4 January 1977[1][2][3]) is a Scottish road racing cyclist

    Unless this stupid colonist is really bad at reading.

    ‘David Millar is one of two children of Gordon and Avril Millar, both of whom are Scottish’

    Anyways, the next person who calls me American will have 7 years of flats. 

  7. If I’m not mistaken, I believe that Scotland has their own national football team.  Just like how Quebec has their own hockey team (oh wait, they don’t).

    Would it be deemed an insult to mix Wallonia and Vlaanderen?

  8. Upon further investigation (I asked on The Reddits) it is technically correct (which is the best kind of correct) to call a Scot British, however you won’t be making any friends by doing so is the general consensus. Kind of like how technically I’m from the Americas.

    Anyways, is the Scot still selling his bike after the team he is part owner of cut him from the team?

  9. @TBONE I don’t think Scotland to Great Britain is the same as Canada to the Americas. Scotland to The British Isles is like Canada to the Americas. I think Great Britain is a political entity,  the Americas are a geographical entity, like The British Isles. Millar is indeed a stylish entity; I’ll take the man’s own word, and he seems comfortable with being referred to as a Brit.

  10. Actually, now that I think about it The United Kingdom is the political entity, Britain is the island, so you’re right.

  11. Very clever to use the shadow of TT helmet behind head in intro picture.  Creative to say the least.

  12. @TBONE

    Upon further investigation (I asked on The Reddits) it is technically correct (which is the best kind of correct) to call a Scot British, however you won’t be making any friends by doing so is the general consensus. Kind of like how technically I’m from the Americas.

    I would have thought a Canadian would see the obvious parallel to Quebec.

    People from Quebec are Canadians, but many will also identify themselves as Quebecois.

    The Scottish Social Attitudes survey (a large-scale and ongoing survey) recently found a decline in the number of people identifying themselves as Scottish ahead of British.

    Only 26% said they felt “more Scottish than British” which is the lowest number since the survey began in 1992. The largest group, 32%, said they felt “equally Scottish and British”.

    From a geo-political standpoint, they are undoubtedly British. Great Britain is both the island and also a political entity made up of England, Scotland and Wales.

    The United Kingdom is Great Britain and Northern Ireland combined.

  13. exciting to watch when he was doping, boring otherwise, except to Imperialists

  14. @Barracuda

    Very clever to use the shadow of TT helmet behind head in intro picture. Creative to say the least.

    Yes! I hadn’t noticed until Ray, the photographer, told me… brilliant.

  15. Guys if you want to be really pedantic, the ancient Britons were the Celts who lived in Britain before the waves of various invaders(Angles, Saxons and Normans) pushed them to the Western and Northern extremes of the island(Wales, Cornwall, Scotland etc… though Scotland was Pictish as well I think).

    Either way Britain is a geographical/cultural entity as well as political, like say Scandinavia. Great Britain is the main island. The sovereign state is the ‘United Kingdom’, which also includes Northern Island (not technically part of ‘Great Britain’ though many there would identify themselves as British and that’s a whole other can of worms).

    When I’ve met North Americans some confusion seems to come from equating British with English. That’s why us Welsh and Scots get a bit tetchy, many will be proud to be British (independence or not) but calling one English is like calling a Texan a Californian. Probably worse. The different parts of the United Kingdom each have their own long history of kings, cultures, languages, rulers and various battles both alongside and against the other UK nations.

    In team sports such as soccer and rugby these old nations are usually retained(and so are the old rivalries), but for the Olympics we compete as ‘Team GB’ (even though it’s really ‘Team UK’ I guess but bear with me). No cyclist seems to have a problem riding for GB, in fact the opposite, even Cavendish who is from the Isle of Man… a crown dependency but not technically even part of the UK(perhaps the U.S Virgin islands are similar? no idea).

    See, clear as mud and not at all confusing :-/ Sorry for the tangent…

  16. @brett How about this for the Lexicon:

    Imperial Velominati // Velominati for whom 100km is nothing more than the correct way of referring to a 60 mile ride.

    @american psycho

    exciting to watch when he was doping, boring otherwise, except to Imperialists

  17. If you haven’t taken the time to read his book, Racing Through The Dark, go buy a copy and read it this weekend.  It’s fascinating, and quite disheartening at times.

    All of us have asked ourselves this question:  were I in their shoes, would i have doped?   This book is an object lesson the difficulty of that question.  The pressures upon these guys were immense, and I can’t in good conscience say that I wouldn’t have done exactly as they did.

    Millar’s a badass for owning up, taking his lumps, and leading the way toward clean sport.  And he has killer dress sense.

  18. @Rhodri

    Either way Britain is a geographical/cultural entity as well as political, like say Scandinavia.

    I wouldn’t agree that Scandinavia is a political entity in the same way as Britain/UK – given that Sweden, Norway and Denmark are all sovereign, independent nations.

    However for the possible combination of the Schleswig-Holstein Question and the West Lothian Question in a single thread I applaud you.

    If we could only work in the War of Jenkin’s Ear this thread would be a general knowledge syllabus in its own right.

  19. @Harminator But would it be a new, independent thread or would it share some of the identity of the parent thread?

    Oh, yeah, David Millar, son of an RAF pilot, expat and product of British private school system wears nice clothes. Congratulations, who would have guessed.

  20. @ChrisO Very good.

    I wish I knew Brett was going to put up a style article. Now I’m going to have to wait a few months to submit my “Reverence – Socks and Sandles” piece

  21. @Harminator

    @ChrisO Very good.

    I wish I knew Brett was going to put up a style article. Now I’m going to have to wait a few months to submit my “Reverence – Socks and Sandles” piece

    hmmm – Socks and Sandes – now that is very British.

  22. Actually back on thread, I will be at the Bec Hill Climb on October 12 (spectating not watching) which will be Millar’s last competitive event.

    I was going anyway to watch a friend but it should make it a good turnout watching him get his pro-cyclist arse handed to him in the nicest possible way by a bunch of hill-climb whippets. I’m sure he’ll take it in good spirit (seriously, not being sarcastic).

  23. I’m not sure why all the discussion of Scotland – Millar was born in Malta, so that makes him a Maltese

  24. Generally I’m a big fan of DM. Admitted his mistakes and converted to the good side. The pics Brett has selected are great but I recall seeing some pics of DM with JV – and DM looked like a bag o’ washin’. Mind you, I think alcohol was involved.

    Mmmmmmm . . . . maltesers.

  25. @Rhodri

    When I’ve met North Americans some confusion seems to come from equating British with English. That’s why us Welsh and Scots get a bit tetchy, many will be proud to be British (independence or not) but calling one English is like calling a Texan a Californian. Probably worse. The different parts of the United Kingdom each have their own long history of kings, cultures, languages, rulers and various battles both alongside and against the other UK nations.

    That sums it up.  Brett referred to him as British, not English.  If he had claimed English, then whole thing would have been justified.  But British encompasses all entities of GB.

  26. You know you can just tell he likes nothing better than to slip into a nice woolly cardigan when no-one is looking.

    I, on the other hand, look like nothing so much as 10 pounds of shite in a 5 pound bag.

  27. @VeloVita

    Thought that was a picture of a Shih Tzu ?     Then I remembered that a Shih Tzu is just a zoo with no animals.

  28. I like him. I’ve even chucked a bit of money in the direction of the film project. But them I am a Brit who is Scottish..

     

    It’ll be interesting to see where he goes next. I think he’s talked about having a role at the Slipstream development team in the US, though how that’ll fit with his love of Girona I’m not sure.

     

    As for the Bec Hill Climb, I think he said his wife is doing it to. Fun for all the family!

  29. @Barracuda

    @VeloVita

    Thought that was a picture of a Shih Tzu ? Then I remembered that a Shih Tzu is just a zoo with no animals.

    Ha!  Nicely done.

  30. I like him. His book was a good, sobering read, and I’d agree with @antihero’s sentiments about the position he found himself in, and his subsequent resolve to help clean up the mess.

    He must have some style as he manages to make that minging POC kit look half decent. I’ll miss him when he’s retired, but hopefully he’ll get himself a gig as a DS or media pundit, so it’ll be a transition rather than a departure.

    Here’s a pic of him tooling around Abergavenny sometime in late June. Judging by his shoes, he must have been feeling patriotic.

  31. Wow, what a thread. It was fascinating for its sheer pedanticness. I have seen some wild tangents, but never one so…boring in the minutiae.

  32. @therealpeel

    Wow, what a thread. It was fascinating for its sheer pedanticness. I have seen some wild tangents, but never one so…boring in the minutiae.

    There is no such word in the dictionary as “pedanticness.” I believe you’re looking for the word “pedantry.” (I would put an emoticon here, but Frank doesn’t like them.)

  33. Ok, here’s a question for Velominati regarding style. How many of you/us take a double standard approach to bike gear/clothing as opposed to casual/non-bike clothing. Example, I’m sure many of us have cycling shoes that cost many, many times what we’d pay for “regular” shoes. Or, we but a jersey/gilet, shorts that cost way more than what we’d consider prudent for off-the-bike wear. In short, we look at the cost of bike gear and think “yup, I’ll pay that”, whereas with something equivalent in non-bike gear we’d say “no way!”

    Those with spouses/significant others may also have a different approach to this than the unattached amongst us.

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