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David Millar, who is close to signing a deal to return to racing with Saunier Duval when his two-year ban for doping offences ends on June 23, has called for the International Cycling Union to carry out more random drug testing.
Speaking to procycling editorial director Jeremy Whittle in The Times, Millar said he felt his youth and inexperience led to his downfall in 2004, when he admitted to using the blood-boosting substance EPO after being arrested by the French police. Since stripped of the world time trial title he won in 2003, Millar said that more random testing needs to take place in the sport to deter other riders from going the same way he did.
"The UCI has to instigate more out-of-competition and random testing," he said. "I've hardly heard of any of the boys undergoing random testing by the UCI. So where is all this testing? Random controls are the only way to stop it all."
Millar continued: "By all means test the top Tour favourites, with random tests on a regular basis. Cycling needs those kind of testing tactics - I think that all sport does. The UCI need to get a grip on it. Where is the prevention? Why don't the UCI publish lists of who they random-test each month and the results, so that we know they're doing it? It's the UCI's responsibility and I don't think they're fulfilling that responsibility."
Millar admitted he has rediscovered his love of cycling after moving from his previous base in the French resort of Biarritz to the more rural setting of Hayfield, in Derbyshire's Peak District, close to Manchester. "I had a long time off the bike, when I just didn't even touch it," he said. "Last summer I started riding again, around the Peak District. I loved it and within a month felt like I was flying. It reminded me that actually I am quite good at it."
Speaking of the troubles he has gone through since his 2004 ban, Millar revealed: "Things kept getting worse, with financial issues and a lot of other escalating worries. It was very hard. I think we all deal with those situations and get out of them differently. I had my own way of getting through it and getting my head back above water.
"I lost everything and was punished, but that's what punishment is. You don't come out of it easily. The circumstances dictated that I ended up paying a very high price for my errors compared to other people."
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