Great Britain cycling team technical director Shane Sutton talks about the appointment of David Millar as a mentor for development riders

Shane Sutton has said that although people will question the appointment of former professional rider David Millar as a mentor for young British riders, he believes there is “no one better to come into the team and put the guys in the right direction”.

Millar’s appointment was announced on Thursday morning by British Cycling, and was greeted by a mixed response with some questioning his association with developing British riders given he has served a ban for doping. Others say the passing on of his experience of the highs and lows of pro cycling will be of great benefit.

Winning stage twelve of the 2012 Tour de France, his last victory at the Tour

David Millar rode for 17 years as a professional

Great Britain cycling team technical director Sutton talked about the appointment in a short video released by British Cycling, saying: “I think people will probably question why we’ve brought Dave in… and we know Dave’s past.

“I don’t think there’s anyone better to come into the team and put the guys in the right direction on an anti-doping stance, given the way he’s reformed himself. He’s one of the leading lights in that direction.

>>> David Millar mentoring British Cycling academy riders about anti-doping

“But that’s not the only reason we’re employing this guy, he’s got major victories in all the major tours.”

This guy has been on the road for a long, long time, he’s been on one of life’s real pro journeys. All those organisation skills as a professional athlete, he opens doors into major events, he knows every race organiser out there… that’s another added bonus of having Dave there.”

“We look at those sort of things and think, that’s the guy we need to do the job.”

Millar was handed a two-year ban for taking EPO in 2004 while riding for Cofidis, and returned to racing for the Saunier Duval–Prodir team in 2006. He then rode for Garmin-Slipstream from 2008 until his retirement in 2014. He is now a leading supporter of clean riding, and his book Racing Through the Dark lifted the lid on the secret life of a professional rider in that era.

During his racing career, Millar won stages of all three Grand Tours, and also wore the leader’s jersey in each.

Millar will work with the GB squad on a voluntary basis until the end of February, when his position will be reviewed, Sutton said. Long-term, he would help to nurture riders through to the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.

  • Samuel Clemens

    You’re going to broad. By liars and cheats I (obviously, I thought) meant those who have (obviously) lied and cheated in the ‘sport they love so much and which has given so much to them.’
    Would accountants who’d committed fraud be appointed to top positions? Professionals, right?

  • Stevo

    That rules put pretty much the whole of humanity then. Anyway, if someone is truly repentant and otherwise eminently suited to the job, is there really a problem?

  • ummm…

    your right, most i put very little effort into. Why dont I give it a rest? Because this is what cycling deserves. We werent upset when it was taboo to openly claim such things, so why are we upset when we embrace the hundred year history of this sport and all elite sport. You give it a rest. If you dont like it dont read it or engage with me. I can’t help you. Move along.

  • Stevo

    Why don’t you give it a rest? Your asinine comments aren’t even remotely funny.

  • ummm…

    i never went to school with anybody that…advanced in age

  • ummm…

    ……those ex pros dont exist, or where never very good. the jury is still out on sastre

  • Chris Williams

    Well said…….
    As an aside – doesn’t Shane Sutton look like some bully you used to have at school!

  • Andrew Bairsto

    And make money out of being a doper they should be held up as an example of what not to be by genuine ex pros.

  • Tim packer

    Perhaps now British cycling have recruited that doper Miller they can bring lance Armstrong on board as well. He could teach all the young riders all about why not to dope to win 7 tours!! Why is it in this country if you break any type of law you’re then given more chances than some one who sticks to the rules.. Surly there are plenty of ex riders our there who could be given the job who haven’t doped!!

  • Mike Prytherch

    I couldn’t disagree more with the people who say he shouldn’t do this and it’s wrong, I find this argument that he has no place to be flawed completely, he knows and understands the pressures, he also knows what goes in the athletes minds, he knows there routines, when and how they can succumb, how they can be influenced, he has been there and done it, there is nobody better to talk about the pressures and how to handle. It adds far more credibility coming from somebody who has been there and done it, and I believe the athletes will respond better to it.

  • Huw

    Personally, I think this is an excellent appointment. In schools, there are teams that come in to speak to the children to educate them about crime and turn them away from it (if they can) and these teams are made up of key workers and ex criminals. Apply that to cycling. What better way to deter young cyclists from doping than have an ex doper telling them the pitfalls and how it nearly destroyed his career… Makes perfect sense to me.

  • David Simons

    Surely there is someone with the right background and experience who wasn’t a doper? There are plenty of ex-pros who didn’t dope, aren’t there? Oh, is that too sensitive a question perhaps….

  • Samuel Clemens

    Liars and cheats should have no place in the sport. That’s your problem right there – along with other ridiculous concessions like the Hincapie Pro Team. I mean WTF is wrong with cycling that the wolves are repeatedly let into the henhouse.