Following a decision by the Court for Arbitration in Sport on Thursday, David Millar could now ride
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM David Millar’s appeal to the Court for Arbitration in Sport against both the length of his doping ban and the date on which the ban was implemented has proved partially successful. The Lausannne-based sporting court has upheld the length of the ban imposed on Millar after the British rider admitted taking EPO, but did rule that the two-year ban should have begun from the day of Millar’s arrest, which was effectively when he first became unable to compete. Consequently, Millar’s two-year ban imposed by British Cycling will now run from June 24, 2004, the day of his arrest by French police investigating allegations of drug use within the Cofidis team Millar was at that time riding for. British Cycling had implemented the ban on August 5, 2004. This change in the dates of the ban means that Millar could be available for selection for the 2006 Tour de France, assuming he is no longer involved in a doping investigation and has a contract from a team with a Tour place. Millar is still under formal investigation in France on a charge of possessing and using toxic substances. The CAS ruled that the implementation of a ban on a date other than that on which an athlete was prevented from competing could result in “an arbitrary prolongation of the athlete’s removal from the sport”. Millar had been attempting to have his ban cut in half by the CAS, and produced statements in his support from British Cycling’s deputy chief executive Dave Brailsford and former British Cycling head coach Peter Keen. Although the CAS stated that “Millar’s frankness, determination and commendable intentions impressed the panel”, their ruling added that the offences Millar committed were “conscious, repetitive, substantial and designed to achieve unfair advantage”. Consequently, the two-year ban was maintained. After being taken into custody by French police last year Millar admitted using the blood-booster EPO on three occasions in 2001 and 2003. He was subsequently stripped of the world time trial title he had won in October 2003 after admitting he had taken EPO the month before this success. Millar has subsequently made no statement about the decision by the CAS, but the way is now clear for him to return to the pro peloton in 2006.