Nathan O'Neill banned for 15 months

Top Australian time trialist out after Phentermine positive

Top Australian cyclist Nathan O'Neill has been banned from competition for 15 months for a doping violation, officials said on Tuesday.

The Commonwealth Games gold medallist and eight times Australian time trial champion tested positive for the stimulant Phentermine after the Tour of Elk Grove in the United States in August last year.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) announced the ban after a ruling from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), noting that it was backdated, meaning O'Neill can race again from November 12. Under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code, the use of Phentermine can lead to a maximum two year ban.

"In making the ruling, the CAS determined that Mr O'Neill had been able to demonstrate a degree of no significant fault or negligence and thereby imposed a lesser penalty," ASADA said in a statement.

Chairman Richard Ings said ASADA was now reviewing the CAS decision, in consultation with the UCI and Cycling Australia.

O'Neill won the individual road time trial at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and his eight national titles have come in the same event. He did not ride in the Australian national titles in January because of the positive test.

© AFP 2008

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