This week former pro cyclist David Millar named his all-time dream team and set off a firestorm of criticism.
Since five of his nine riders had doped during their careers, many questioned Millar’s sense of ethics and the recent decision by British Cycling to bring him on as a mentor for young riders.
Millar had selected Mark Cavendish, Christian Vande Velde, Ryder Hesjedal, David Zabriskie, Stuart O’Grady, Ian Stannard, Gearing Thomas, Íñigo Cuesta and in an act of self-promotion put his own name in as well.
Now Millar has also named his dream team for his wine and foodie cycling vacations through tour outfitter Velocamps.
The three day David Millar camps in Lombardia, Catalonia and the Coté d’Azur are luxury trips designed for fans who want to wine and dine and ride with the charming Brit and hear insider tales of his days (no drug stories, please) in the pro peloton.
Millar’s dream vacation team is:
Jan Ullrich. The German was a natural choice based on his well-documented love of food and desserts in particular. The big German had a big appetite and Der Kaiser will happily take his place at the head of Millar’s table.
Andy Schleck. An inspired choice given the Luxemburger’s fondness for alcoholic beverages even while racing the Vuelta a Espana. His team kicked him out of the race but with plenty of excellent Spanish and Italian wine and just three days of riding, Schleck will no doubt make it all the way through.
Chris Horner. The aging American GC rider was always partial to fast food and only in the twilight of his career made an effort to eat healthy. He loves Spain, is an excellent storyteller and a perfect fit for Millar’s Velocamps culinary romp.
Ted King. You’d barely know the long time Liquigas and Cannondale-Garmin rider had retired last year — such is the volume of social media tweets and stories he puts out. After many years in Italy and Spain, King has been riding with every chef-cyclists he can find and making the gran fondo rounds. Who would you rather have giving you menu pointers? Bonus — he travels with his own maple syrup so he can doctor up your dessert.
Lance Armstrong. Why not the Boss? Juan Pelota returns to Spain. Lance has been living a life of expensive wine and food for a long time. He sees himself as a connoisseur who sips wine with Bono or has braised oxtail stew with the Pope. While his lifetime sporting ban keeps him out of mountain bike races and Triathlons, there’s no rule that prevents him from riding around Europe wining and dining in style.
Christophe Bassons. As Millar astutely noted, the dream team is not just about athletic talent but what benefits each person brings to the mix of personalities. Like haute cuisine and exceptional wine, it’s a question of balance – a little Lance, a little Christophe. Both are outspoken personalities that should enliven any dinner conversation and we’re sure Christophe is more than comfortable with a fancy wine list.
Bjarne Riis. The dour Dane might not seem like an ideal dinner guest but as we know from Tyler Hamilton’s book The Secret Race, inside Riis there burns a passionate Italian who loves wine and good food. Get a few Barolo’s or Tempranillos in Riis and he’ll be the life of the party.
Jesús Marzano. Yes, perhaps that name doesn’t ring an immediate bell but as with Miller’s half doper dream team, this is a unique and special group. Marzano was the former Kelme rider who blew the lid off the doping ring that becomes infamous as Operation Puerto. Like most whistle-blowers, Marzano suffered more than his fair share of abuse in Spain, his career destroyed, his life ripped apart. While doper Alejandro Valverde rode on to greater glory, Marzano disappeared into poverty. Wouldn’t it be nice gesture from Millar to bring Jesus along for this fancy cycling vacation? Karma simply demands it.