British road pro David Millar will be featured on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, an American sports analysis show produced by Home Box Office (HBO), during a segment on attempts to rid cycling of performance-enhacing drugs, starting June 24 at 10 p.m. EST.
During the episode, correspondent Jon Frankel looks at Millar’s doping scandal and subsequent re-invention as a champion for a drug-free sport.
The segment starts by painting a simplistic and bleak picture of the sport; placing blame for a negative public perception and loss of sponsorship support solely at the hands of the riders who have been embroiled in doping scandals in recent seasons, then quickly switches focus to Millar, now riding for Team Garmin-Chipotle.
In the segment, Millar walks through his career, saying he was naive about the prevalence of doping in the sport when he started as an amateur and said doping “went against everything I stood for.” Millar then speaks about a point in his early days as a professional after he won a race when he showed a teammate that his natural hematocrit level at the time was 8 points below the UCI allowable 50 percent.
“I saw it as showing him that you could win without doping,” Millar says in the show, but adds that his teammates’ response was that Millar was unprofessional to not have a hematocrit level right at the allowable limits. The message, he says, was that doping was considered normal and expected.
Millar says it took years for him to finally relent to using EPO after a lacklustre season and a sit-down with a an older colleague and a doctor. He said he used EPO three times and was caught and suspended from cycling in 2004 for two years.
The segment covers Millar’s return to the sport and alignment with Jonathan Vaughter’s Slipstream cycling team and delves into the team’s mission to operate as a clean and open team. Vaughters and Dr. Paul Strauss (developer of Slipstream’s blood profile program) are both featured in the segment.
The episode, which also features segments on the upcoming Beijing Olympics and horse breeding, will be aired again several times before the end of June.