Friday, 20 April 2012

Will David Millar Ride The Olympics?


The Sun is this morning reporting that the British Olympic Association has lost the court battle to uphold their Lifetime Olympic ban rule imposed for any British athlete caught and punished for taking banned substances. The official ruling is not expected to be released until next week so for now I'm taking this at face value...

Though the Court of Arbitration For Sport will allow Millar to ride in the 2012 Olympics, its still unsure whether he will choose to compete, or even be selected to ride. David Millar told BBC journalists last month:

"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."

I've heard many a perspective on whether or not David Millar should be allowed to ride, most of the cyclists I know are split right down the middle on opinion, some believe he has served his time, he's repentant and that he should get a second chance - others support the British Olympic Association's lifetime ban rule and believe once caught, a disgraced rider should never be allowed to ride for their country again.

The way I see it is simple, 'rules is rules' and the BOA rule was deemed unlawful by the Court Of Arbitration for Sport as it didn't follow the recognised guidelines as outlined by the World Anti-Doping Agency, so Millar should rightly, according to the WADA code, be allowed to ride in the Olympic Games.
My personal opinion is this: Millar cheated, he admitted guilt and served his ban - justice was done and punishment dealt so he is now free to ride as any other rider in the Peloton. No rider should be punished twice for the same offence, and as a sport I feel the same rules should be followed across the board - it wouldn't be fair to pick and chose how and where a rider races, they should either be allowed to participate in all racing, or none at all. They are the facts and in cases like Valverde's or Ricco's it's a bitter pill to swallow, guys like these show no or little remorse let alone come back and take a strong anti-doping stance, in the case of Millar however, he has shown considerable remorse, has spoken very candidly about the whole affair and clearly accepted his guilt. He also, as a result, now takes a very strong anti-doping stance.

In fairness to the British Olympic Association, their lifetime ban rule was infact in existance before the WADA rules came into place - it's more a case that the rule was never really rescinded when the new code became the standard practice and this is the first time its been called into question - however I think it's obvious that rules should be standardised accross the board internationally and in this case the WADA code is right to prevail.

I think as far as selection goes, I would pick Millar every time. He's a fine domestique, he's experienced, he's fast on the road as a TT specialist and he has already been described by Dave Brailsford as the 'captain on the road' during the Worlds last year in Copenhagen. It would be the natural selection, and Brailsford has already hinted as much in today's Guardian so it looks as though the green light is there if Millar should choose to take it.

I like David Millar, as a rider and as a person - he's one of the few remaining riders who has a personality distinctly different from the rest of the peloton, or at least it shows more and his quirks make him quite an interesting subject - and I think if anybody deserves a second chance, its him.

1 comment:

  1. I know I am way behind the curve on all this but my impression was that Millar - unlike just about everybody else who's been caught - actually held his hand up, said I done it, didn't insult the world's intelligence with a lot of ludicrous excuses and legalese, showed (believable) remorse and then did the time.

    I agree - if anybody deserves a second chance it is him.

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