Millar "empowered" by UCI decision on Armstrong ban

Following the announcement by the UCI that it would uphold the lifetime ban of Lance Armstrong issued by the US Anti-Doping Agency, outspoken anti-doping advocate David Millar has said he is pleased that the sport's governing body made the decision.

Speaking with Sky Sports, Millar said the decision was late, but not too late. "There was a time that all of us in the peloton thought this would always be the massive elephant in the room that would never get sorted.

"As painful as it is for everybody, especially the public - I think it really is incredibly shocking for them - for many of us in the sport, who've been involved in the last 10 years, we've been aware of what's been happening and we've been powerless on each of our levels.

"To have this happen has empowered all of us."

Millar criticized the UCI for continually denying that there was a problem with doping, while at the same time behaving as if they were well aware of the sport's issues. He called for the departure of Hein Verbruggen, who as late as last week insisted there was no evidence of Armstrong's doping, from his role as honorary president of the UCI.

"I think it's an absolute disgrace that he's even involved in this sport in any way," Millar said of Verbruggen. "I think the fact that he's made a statement like that even last week is still making the implication that there is no proof that Lance doped. It's wrong, pure and simple."

While Millar himself was caught with EPO and served a suspension, his experience during the dark era of cycling led him down a path quite distinct from that of Armstrong, who was accused by USADA not only of doping but conspiring to cover up his and his team's illicit activities over the years.

Millar, on the other hand, has gone public with his views on cleaning up the sport, assisting the World Anti-Doping Agency and helping to found the Slipstream team and change the culture in the sport.

He still believes that cycling can move forward even in the light of such a far-reaching and damaging scandal.

"We've been changing the sport for the past five years," he said. "We've been flag bearers in our sport - we've shown other teams that it is possible to race clean, we brought in the no needle policy, we've pushed everything through. ... We really do believe that we made a difference, and we believe the sport has made a difference.

"If we want to move forward, we have to accept the past we have to live with it and we have to move on in the right direction, which is what we're doing now.

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