Your position:Home > News > immersive and surprisingly intimate
immersive and surprisingly intimate

TIME TRIAL


ABOUT THE FILM

TIME TRIAL takes us into the final races of cyclist David Millar’s career, leading up to his last encounter with the Tour de France.


We go inside the peloton, we’re pushed up impossible climbs and forced down rapid descents, we lie alongside him in his hotel room in post-race agony.


We ride in the support car, the source of comfort, supplies and fleeting relief from the cold. And we know that every mile travelled is a mile closer to the end. TIME TRIAL reveals how the human spirit is driven by forces deeper than success and glory.



DAVID MILLAR

Scottish-born David Millar bought his first road bike aged 15 and when he turned 18 he moved to France to race. Two years later, in 1997, he was offered his first professional contract leading the biggest French team, Cofidis. He was soon winning stages of the Tour de France, La Vuelta a Espana and World Championships before receiving a suspension for doping in 2004.


Since then, based on his experiences, Millar has become an authoritative voice on anti-doping. In 2008, he became part-owner and rider for the Garmin Slipstream team who became renowned for their strong anti-doping stance.


Since his resurgence as a clean cyclist, Millar has made his mark as one of Britain’s most successful road cyclists, with stage wins in all three of the Grand Tours (Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and La Vuelta a Espana) as well as winning the gold medal in the time trial at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and the silver medal in the same event at the UCI Road World Championships that same year.


“a rage against the fading light… a compelling study of the waning of an elite sportsman’s powers”---Richard Williams // The Guardian


“immersive and surprisingly intimate”----Damon Wise // Variety


“I was blown away by it!”  --Jørgen Leth


“an audio-visual masterpiece and future bicycle film classic”----Johan Blomqvist // Göteborg Film Festival


“remarkable...gets as close to the race as any non-competitor can”--Geoffrey McNab // IDFA Daily


A DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT


I see cycling in a very different light. To me it is not sport, it is something abstract, physical, mysterious, brooding with intensity but at the same time very elegant.


I am a cyclist. In the past I raced all over Europe, I know the sport intimately. People often talk to me about it - who's going to win this race or that, how many miles have I ridden, what's my power output, what bike have I got? All of this detail does not excite me - they are tools, necessary but irrelevant. The physical and mental feeling of being on the bike, floating through the air, the meditation, but above all the filth and grit of the race, the strength required of mind and body, that is the fascination.


This animalistic experience of the sport is much more exciting and desirable than the sport itself. A mutilation of thoughts and senses of will and desire, suffering and tedium, culminating in an act that transcends what we recognise as bike racing. There is such beauty, regularity and cleanness to these slim, toned bodies of cyclists but with such strength of mind. However cycling is anything but clean: it is dirty and unglamourous and riddled with self doubt.


This film touches the senses. Taking us into a bike race like never before. The perpetual succession of races. I want to create a “hyper-reality”, transferring my feeling of what it felt like to race on that bike, in that peloton.


The chaotic cornucopia of race sounds: gears changing, fans screaming, wind bellowing, constant radio communication with teammates, team staff and race organisers creating a vivid soundscape entirely from David’s perspective. Pieced together from a plethora of race situations an otherworldly anamorphic lens captures and reflect the idiosyncratic qualities of the cyclist. Whether it be talent or just sheer focus and endless training of the mind - a combination of the two. The mesmeric effect of the repetition of the pedal stroke, as David speeds through the omnipresent, menacing and sometimes suffocating landscape.


We discover what it takes to race at this level, what David has come through and, as he nears retirement, where he is going.


The best films are like experiences, they take us on a journey into a world we would never normally have access to. In my previous films I have aimed at making people feel what it is like to be a velodrome cyclist, an aging weightlifter or an institutionalised prisoner. In this film I want to be as close as possible to participating in the race with David.


There is so much we don’t see, hear and feel from the television footage. I want to discover bike racing in its purest sense through David. What I love about documentary filmmaking is that point where your character becomes a collaborator. I am at this point with David, he is involved and invested in this project wholeheartedly. He has given us crucial access to his life and profession. This will set the film apart.


SYNOPSIS
LOGLINE A race to the end.

SHORT SYNOPSIS TIME TRIAL takes  us into the final races of cyclist David Millar’s career, leading to his last encounter with the Tour de France, when every mile travelled is a mile closer to the end. TIME TRIAL reveals how the human spirit is driven by forces deeper than success and glory.
100 WORD SYNOPSIS TIME TRIAL transports us into the final races of cyclist David Millar’s career, leading up to his last encounter with the Tour de France. We go inside the peloton, we’re pushed up impossible climbs and forced down rapid descents, we lie alongside him in his hotel room in post-race agony. We ride in the support car, the source of comfort, supplies and fleeting relief from the cold. And we know that every mile travelled is a mile closer to the end. TIME TRIAL reveals how the human spirit is driven by forces deeper than success and glory.
LONG SYNOPSIS The end of an athlete’s career is a race against time and a fight against an inevitable demise. The addictive need to participate defies logic and creates a mesmerising and painful spectacle. TIME TRIAL takes us into the final races of cyclist David Millar’s career, leading up to his last encounter with the Tour de France. We go inside the peloton, we’re pushed up impossible climbs and forced down rapid descents, we lie alongside him in his hotel room in post-race agony. We ride in the support car, the source of comfort, supplies and fleeting relief from the cold. And we know that every mile travelled is a mile closer to the end. TIME TRIAL gets us close to David Millar, revealing how the human spirit is driven by a force deeper than success and glory. Filmed using pioneering techniques, bespoke vehicles and on-bike cameras, and with a new score by US composer Dan Deacon.
CAST BIOGRAPHIES
David Millar
Scottish-born David Millar bought his first road bike aged 15 and when he turned 18 he moved to France to race. Two years later, in 1997, he was offered his first professional contract leading the biggest French team, Cofidis. He was soon winning stages of the Tour de France,, La Vuelta a Espana and World Championships before receiving a suspension for doping in 2004. Since then, based on his experiences, Millar has become an authoritative voice on anti-doping. In 2008, he became part-owner and rider for the Garmin Slipstream team who became renowned for their strong anti-doping stance. Since his resurgence as a clean cyclist, Millar has made his mark as one of Britain’s most successful road cyclists, with stage wins in all three of the Grand Tours (Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and La Vuelta a Espana) as well as winning the gold medal in the time trial at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and the silver medal in the same event at the UCI Road World Championships that same year. Millar was instrumental in Mark Cavendish’s world title in the road race in 2011 in his role as ‘team captain’ and he represented Great Britain at the Olympic Games in London 2012. He has written two books, Racing Through the Dark and The Racer, was a consultant on the Stephen Frears film, The Program. Since his retirement in 2014, Millar has become a television commentator for ITV and BBC and is working on a number of projects, including a role with British Cycling, mentoring their Senior Academy riders. His brand is called Chpt./// signifying the third chapter of his life, his professional racing career having been split in two by a doping ban.  It creates high end products and so continuing the relationships built, and experience gained, from 18 years racing as professional cyclist.
TW: @millarmind
Thomas Dekker
Thomas Dekker (born 6 September 1984) a Dutch former professional road racing cyclist who is David’s roommate in TIME TRIAL. He’s loveable and warm, the perfect contrast to David in the film in many ways. A prolific winner in his early career - highlights including winning Tirreno-Adriatico in 2006 and Tour de Romandie in 2007. He won two Dutch Team Time Trial Championships and represented his country at the 2004 Olympic Games held in Athens, Greece. He was caught and banned for using EPO on the eve of the 2009 Tour de France. He has also recently completed a controversial biography called My Fight.
Thomas now lives and works in Los Angeles as an art dealer.
TW @thomasdekker
Slipstream Sports LLC Cycling Team
Slipstream Sports is the brainchild of Jonathan Vaughters and Doug Ellis. The pair founded the company in 2005 on the belief there was a better way to run a cycling team. Slipstream Sports has been dedicated to promoting the ethical growth of American cycling, and was the first company to institute its own internal anti-doping testing protocols for a professional cycling team.
Pull Out Quotes
EARLY PRAISE “a rage against the fading light… a compelling study of the waning of an elite sportsman’s powers”  Richard Williams / The Guardian
Director’s Statement
I have ridden and raced a bike all of my life - it’s a part of me. And David captures an ecstatic vision of what it felt like to ride or race. He allows me to translate this reality into images and to encapsulate what it feels like to truly ride in this way day after day, year after year. Many racers last a year or two in this world; to be consistently inhabiting this space for this long, is an incredible feat.
I followed David’s 19 year career since the beginning. He is a fellow Scot and was for many years the only British person riding in the biggest race in the world: Tour de France – he gave me a reason to watch this strange sport on TV every year, he was one of the few who ’made it’. What David did is impressive: a rare talent. Until the day he knelt down by my chair at a cycling fundraising dinner, professing his love for my film Standing Start about cyclist Craig Maclean.
Roll on a few years and I couldn’t shake this idea of what it felt like at the back end of the race, where David, in his later years is found. This is something we haven’t seen. I wanted to find out what it’s like for someone like David when that talent fades.
Not only this, cycling is fast, dangerously so at times, riding at high speeds on such tiny tyres and with a tiny sliver of lycra protecting them if they fall. It’s a fascinating element to explore and vital to the film. In order to capture this speed and sport in a sensory way, we painstakingly researched over several years during many different races and training sessions to find out exactly what fitted our purposes. With Wim Wenders’ key grip we constructed a bespoke motorbike and fine tuned the smallest most discreet onboard cameras and sound devices available which gave us the necessary filmic access to this world.
Cinema is at its best when I start to feel what’s on screen, when I’m given the chance to experience something. I bring myself to it – I’m forced to feel. That moment is where the magic lies. Viewer’s imaginations make it the most powerful.
However, the root of my fascination has always been the restlessness of man. The inability to sit still or find an unadulterated satisfaction within the pursuit of life. I wanted to explore this by inhabiting David’s mind and body while racing.
I would be lying if I said it was easy - I’ve immersed myself in the complicated, paranoid high pressured world of professional cycling for the past 5 or so years. I was where I’d always dreamt of being - slap bang in the heart of a bike race, making a film about someone I had a lot of respect for. Cycling seduced me. But I never expected it to be so difficult - to film, to capture and create something truly unique. I was also having difficulty getting past David’s protective shield.
Despite that, these challenges have further deepened our collaboration, reinforcing my bond
with David and challenging my view of the sport which provides a much more universally interesting story to tell.
I also don’t feel like there’s ever been a film that helps a viewer see what I see. I don’t mean the passion that I feel, but the excitement and exhilaration of being inside the pack of speeding cyclists. I want to transcend the sport. My film is about the pursuit of life. I want to transport audiences to a strange world where they’ve not been before, the images are familiar, dreamlike and visceral. I didn’t want to capture the reality of David’s life, I wanted to create a reality, setting up moments with David, experimenting with camera techniques to reflect his point of view.
His career has now come to a halt and the media attention turned away from him. But I kept my camera trained on him to explore an abstract ‘after-life’ we can all relate to, whether we are a sportsman or not.
My film is about that commitment to a calling but also about when you can’t perform your vocation anymore - taking the viewer deep into the exploit of a subtly declining athlete. It is also a film of beauty - it’s a stunningly beautiful activity which perfectly lends itself to cinema.

Partners | About Us | iDOCS Team | Venues | Contact Us | Support Us