Millar and EPO: your responses

In recent weeks we have had many emails about David Millar's admission of EPO use. This selection gi

In recent weeks we have had many emails about David Millar's admission of EPO use. This selection gi
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE I have been getting really annoyed recently of the amount of column inches being given to the recent David Millar aftermath. The plain facts are he wanted to be a rider that he never could be and he cheated to get the results. Not only did he cheat his himself he cheated a nation of British fans who idolised him. I don't feel any pity for him and neither should anyone else, nor should they listen to the excuses that he's pumping out whenever he gets the chance. It's not like he saw the light and decided to come clean, he got caught!! Andy Johnstone, Ockham, Surrey As the news of David Millar's suspension comes to light and I, as a great admirer of the Scot, come to terms with the fact his career is probably over, one point annoys me. Even if Millar deserves to be stripped of his World Time Trial Title, then why have so many other riders who have admitted to doping not had the same sanctions placed on them? The most notable is the case of Richard Virenque. I cannot accept him as a legitimate seven-time KoM at the Tour. He admitted to EPO usage from 94-98, so why are his KoM jerseys and all his other wins still accepted as valid from this period? Matt O'Brien I, and probably many others like me, respected Millar for his guts, slogging through the Alps so he could win on more favourable terrain. I thought, "He's like Boardman, struggles because he won't dope himself." How wrong I was. He's got his just desserts now, banned for two years, the victories he fraudulently achieved stripped from him. I don't believe his claims that he kept those two syringes to remind himself he cheated and I don't want to hear his pleas of sorrow. Will others learn? I doubt it, they only have to look at other examples, a certain multi-KoM winner for one. Doping will continue until teams refuse to employ those who've committed these acts. Adam Gallon, Fulbeck Lowfields, Lincs, UK I certainly do not condone doping in any professional sports. It is a cancer that needs to be stopped. Having said this, however, I feel two years is too harsh a punishment for David Millar. He apparently has expressed remorse and was truthful with the investigation (witness the speed of its conclusion) and a verdict like this does nothing to encourage others to come clean. I would guess it furthermore puts a damper on any potential whistleblowers. I think cycling should work to rehabilitate Mr Millar within the sport. I would certainly strip him of any victories gained while doped and suspend him for a considerable amount of time. But two years is a career-ender. And that is too harsh. Pete Sisinni, Navarre, FL, USA There are no words to describe the disappointment I feel concerning David Millar and his recent confessions about his own doping practices. While I am glad to see he has the 'gears' to admit to his wrong-doing in an attempt to set things right, I would feel much better if he would refund the thousands of dollars that I didn't have to spend in order to attend the Worlds, not to mention the wages lost on the week I was there. I took my whole family to Canada specifically to see Millar race the time trial as he was one of our favourite riders, and when he won it was like watching a friend. We always enjoyed his boyish ways and down-to-earth attitude. Now, as I try to explain to my children why he is being stripped of his rainbow jersey, I am furious and feel like I was tricked and robbed of all the great memories we had had! Joseph C. di Angelo, Gloucester, MA, USA You always think that it's the other ones, never one of your heroes. And I have to admit that when I heard the news about Millar's admitted EPO use all my admiration for him (and a huge amount it was) became an equal amount of contempt. However, following recent press coverage, and especially articles with and about him in The Guardian I think that he is not beyond making a lasting contribution to the sport. Here is a clear example of how a young and ambitious cyclist, having turned pro at the age of 19, was denied the support and mentoring that would have prevented him being stripped of everything he has achieved. How can an employer call themself responsible when the only mentor it provides is one who will provide the EPO and advise on its use and masking? As for Millar, I have no desire to throw him to the lions, but he has said that he should be made an example of, and I think we should grant that one. However, I want to see him back in two years, as an example to young riders, because otherwise there is no rehabilitation, only retribution. Justin Beattie, Helensburgh, Scotland I think that I among many others am concerned as to how David Millar is coping with all this, and I would like to offer him my sincerest support without judgement of his confession. I have never been a pro cyclist and so feel that I have no authority to judge on the drugs issue in such a tough sport and my greatest concern has always been about how many talented young men with love for the sport have been chewed up and spat out by a corrupt system, and perhaps suffered ill health or even death as a result. As for David's future, I for one would like him to stay with cycling, but perhaps his heart will be no longer in it after this. I feel sure that with his intelligence and cool he'll find another path to follow, he has plenty of style. In the meantime we have all got to accept that our beautiful sport is, like everything else, imperfect. Martin Larner, Leeds FOOTNOTE: Monday's edition of the Guardian carried a feature offering the argument for athletes to use what they want to achieve the goals. While procycling does not wish to give the impression that it supports this position, the article certainly makes for interesting reading given the recent spate of doping cases in many sports. The story can be found at http://sport.guardian.co.uk/olympics2004/ story/0,,1279126,00.html

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