British rider speaks out ahead of CAS hearing next month
British rider David Millar's doping case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport is set be be heard next month and its outcome will decide whether or not he will be eligible to represent his country at the London 2012 Olympics this summer. Millar was suspended from professional cycling for two years and banned for life from the Olympic Games following a positive test for EPO in 2004. The World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) has subsequently ruled that his Olympic ban is unenforceable but the British Olympic Association (BOA) are appealing against that ruling at CAS next month.
Since his ban the Garmin-Barracuda rider, who has multiple stage victories at all three Grand Tours on his palmares, has been an outspoken critic of doping and has worked closely with several organisations to help them clean up the sport. Now, in an interview with BBC Radio Scotland, he stated that he thinks cyclists deserve a second chance as much as anyone else but that he wouldn't want to compete in the London Olympics under a cloud.
"It [doping] was the difference between going to a race and hoping to win and going to a race and guaranteeing to win," he said. "The reason I did it is because I knew I could get away with it.
"People do make mistakes and I think they should be punished. But they should be forgiven and given the opportunity for a second chance. We are human beings. Why should sports men and women get punished harder than people in the normal world?
"I am quite happy looking forward to 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. That will be a much more joyful experience than me going to the Olympics as a black sheep. Even if it was to all go through now, and I was to go, I don't know if it would be a very joyful experience for me. Is it a stronger message if I don't go, is it a stronger message if I do go and perhaps try to change people's opinion that forgiveness should be offered?"
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