David Millar rode the Tour de France 12 times. Out of which he only abandoned the race once. He grew up watching the Tour, and Paris – Roubaix, on TV. He can quote lines from Jørgen Leth’s film, A Sunday in Hell, but up until 2014, the Hell of the North was his “nemesis” – a race he had never finished.
In 2014, his final season as a professional cyclist, he got one last shot at the race. He’d imagined completing those laps of the Roubaix velodrome, basking in glory, and then drawing a line in the dirt. Bucket list ticked. But it didn’t quite pan out like that. He finished half a lap short.
Should it matter? Come on, give him his moment and can of Fanta. But it did matter. And it mattered enough that if he didn’t get back on his bike and ride the last few hundred metres, he’d get another DNF to add to the two others. He came 113th in the end.
After Millar hung up his race wheels, he started CHPT3, a design company that collaborates with brands such as Castelli, POC and Factor, the bike sponsors of AG2R – La Mondiale. In homage to the painted lines on the Roubaix velodrome, CHPT3 produced the ONEMORELAP collection, which includes the kit and Factor O2 frameset Romain Bardet was riding on the cobbles of stage nine of the 2018 Tour de France.
Factor’s ability in the dark arts of carbon lay up has enabled the O2 frame and forks to weigh in at 740 grams. It’s not unheard of for a climber’s bike, but for the cobbles it’s sorcery. It’s kitted out with a Shimano Dura Ace Di2 group set, Mavic Cosmic wheels and a Black Inc. cockpit.
David Millar was a professional bike rider. He now prefers watching someone else ride his bike on the cobbles rather than riding them himself. He’ll always be a fan.