The British Cycling Federation has issued a statement in reaction to yesterday's Court of Arbitration for Sport decision to move the end of David Millar's two year doping suspension to June 23, 2006. The Although the CAS agreed with British Cycling's two year sanction of the now deposed 2003 World Time Trial Champion, it found that since Millar was in practical terms unable to compete from the date of his admission of doping to the French police, the start of his suspension should run from that date, and not the date of the BCF disciplinary hearing.
CAS pointed out that the regulations of the UCI covering the calculation of the start date of a suspension do not differentiate between the date an athlete is formally suspended and the date when the athlete becomes unable to compete due to practical or political factors surrounding a doping case. Thus, Millar's ban will run from June 24, 2004 to June 23, 2006, opening up the possibility that he could compete in the 2006 Tour (as long as his lawyers can argue their way around the UCI's ProTour ethical charter).
British Cycling's President Brian Cookson commented, "I believe that this pronouncement by the Court of Arbitration for Sport shows that the British Cycling Federation acted fairly and reasonably in its handling of David Millar's case. Our assessment and resultant decision were not overturned or changed in any way, save for the change of start date, which was always open to interpretation. We remain committed to the fight against doping in our sport and believe that this case still sends out a strong message to those who might be tempted to cheat through the use of doping products."