At the end of 2014, David Millar will lower the curtain on an extra ordinary career. One that's seen him hit huge heights such as stage wins in all three grand tours and becoming national road race champion in 2007. The middle of his career saw his personal nadir too: a bust and a ban for EPO use. Since his return in 2006 – and a competitively successful one too – Millar's has become, arguably, the peloton's voice on doping and the fight against it.
Throughout it all, Millar carried a reputation as an aesthetic, cultured pro; a rider with a strong sense of cycling's rich history, its characters and the landscapes that are its natural setting.
As part of his swansong season, the Garmin-Sharp rider has been working with Italian handlebar, saddle and shoe specialist fi'zi:k on a charity project: for each major race this year, Millar rides in a pair of custom designed shoes that celebrate the iconography of that event. At the end of each event the shoes are auctioned off and proceeds go to the humanitarian organisation Small Steps Project.
So far, Millar has worn shoes to celebrate Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Tirreno-Adriatico Milan-Sanremo, and the Labyrinth shoes for Dwar Doors Vlaanderen. After releasing the intricate labyrinth shoes, Millar tweeted: "For the techies out there, the labyrinth is laser-etched. Yeah, that's right, @fizikofficial used a LASER. Jedi-sh*t."
Cobbles and a newspaper make their way into the design on the het Nieuwsblad shoes
Our particular favourite are last Sunday's pair that celebrate the cobbled Belgian climbs of the Tour of Flanders. It was a design informed by Andreas Klier, a former teammate who knows the roads and climbs like the proverbial back of his hand. The shoes are currently on auction for around £600 (US$990), with 10 days left to go.
Earlier this year, Millar visited the fi'zi:k factory in Vicenza to watch some of his shoes being put together – and had a go at sewing the uppers. We were sent an exclusive gallery of photos of the appointment.
Millar watches the pros in action as they make his shoes
Check out the gallery above. We'll add photos of the next special edition, to celebrate Paris-Roubaix tomorrow.