Monthly Archives: November 2011

Millar will not challenge BOA ban

David Millar

Millar was banned in 2004 for taking performance-enhancing drugs

Cyclist David Millar insists he will not seek to overturn a lifetime Olympic ban imposed by the British Olympic Association (BOA).

The 34-year-old Scot was banned in 2004 after admitting taking performance-enhancing drugs.

However, despite the World Anti-Doping Agency ruling against the British stance, Miller has no plans to push for a place at the London 2012 Games.

“In all honesty, I’d written off the Olympics a long time ago,” said Millar.

Under British Olympic Association rules, athletes who have tested positive are given a lifetime ban.

However WADA has has told the BOA that its punishment for athletes found guilty of doping is no longer compliant with their rules.

Millar expressed surprise at the speed at which the dispute between the BOA and WADA over the British ban had escalated.

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If the UK has the choice of having a lifetime ban for the Olympics, why can’t another country just punish six months?

David Millar

“I though it would be something that would more likely happen in the future, maybe even post-Olympics, so to have WADA react so quickly is quite good,” he said.

He also expressed concern that the current BOA lifetime ban ruled out any possibility of offenders’ rehabilitation.

“There’s a place for lifetime bans in sport, but I’d like to think that what I’ve been through is a shining example of the worth of second chances,” said Millar.

“Every case needs to be judged on its own merits. I don’t think every athlete should be treated the same way.

“Imagine you have a 16-year-old who’s been given something by their coach and goes positive and receives a lifetime ban, that doesn’t seem fair.

“But maybe, if you have a 34-year-old multi-millionaire who lives in Monte Carlo, with a team of medical staff, who goes positive, maybe they should get a lifetime ban for a first offence.

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“But those two cases are so different that they can’t be judged the same.”

Millar, who is now an athlete’s representative for WADA, believes that all countries should apply the same rules when it comes to doping.

“If we have individual countries having their own rules in place – and it’s understandable that people feel very strongly about these rules – every country has to be under the same umbrella, if you like,” he said.

“If the UK has the choice of having a lifetime ban for the Olympics, why can’t another country just punish six months?”

But despite the prospect of the BOA’s lifetime ban rule being overturned, Millar has revealed he will not be seeking to challenge it and is not thinking of competing at the Olympics.

“I just considered that the lifetime ban was in place and it wasn’t something I wanted to challenge,” he added.

“There are certain fights I don’t want to fight and that was one of them.

“I just don’t fancy being vilified any more. It’s been a tough couple of years.”

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Bellis lands team spot for 2012

Jonathan Bellis celebrates placing third on the podium in the men's under-23 road-race during the UCI Road World Championships in 2007

Bellis represented Great Britain at the Beijing Olympics in 2008

Jonny Bellis says he is delighted to have the chance to continue to rebuild his career after signing with the An Post Sean Kelly team for next season.

The 23-year-old is fighting his way back to fitness after suffering serious head injuries in a life-threatening scooter crash in 2009.

Bellis said: “I’m really happy to sign for the team. It’s another step in the right direction.”

The Manx cyclist represented Great Britain at the 2008 Olympics Beijing.

Bellis is regarded as one of British cycling’s best academy products and had just completed his first full season as a professional with Danish team Saxo Bank when the accident happened in Italy in September 2009.

The three-time European track champion continued: “I am really grateful for this opportunity and I’m really looking forward to more racing. I am determined to get back to my best.

“I have heard a lot of good things about the team from lots of people and I feel it is the perfect place for me to be next year.”

Bellis won a bronze medal at the Under-23 world road championships in 2007 and bronze and silver medals at the world junior championships the same year.

His new Belgium-based team competes at the Continental level but also gets invited to compete a several major races including the Tour of Qatar, Oman and Belgium.

General manager Kurt Bogaerts says they will choose the races which best suits the rider as he builds his condition.

He will travel to Spain to meet up with his new team in December.

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Contador waits for doping verdict

Alberto Contador

Spaniard Contador testified in person on the final day of the CAS hearing

Alberto Contador will have to wait until the new year to discover if he is to be stripped of his 2010 Tour de France win after giving evidence at the end of his four-day doping hearing.

Contador, who could receive a two-year ban, gave testimony at the Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing.

The Spaniard tested positive for banned substance clenbuterol on the second rest day of last year’s Tour.

But he has maintained that the failure resulted from eating contaminated meat.

The 28-year-old claims to have consumed the drug in contaminated beef, and in February the Royal Spanish Cycling Federation cleared him of a potential provisional one-year ban.

But World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) regards clenbuterol – a fat-burning and muscle-building supplement – as a zero-tolerance drug, and, together with world cycling body UCI, appealed against the decision.

If found guilty, Contador can expect a two-year suspension from the sport and to be stripped of his 2010 Tour win and other subsequent victories.

After a final day of testimony in Lausanne, Switzerland, Cas secretary general Matthieu Reeb confirmed that the rider addressed the appeals panel “for about 15 minutes”.

“He took the case very seriously. He was present for all the case and attended all the discussions”, Reeb said.

As he left the court, Contador made no comment.

The result of the Wada and UCI appeal should be revealed in January 2012, Reeb confirmed.

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Corsica to host 2013 Tour start

Tour de France

The 100th staging of the Tour de France will start from Corsica in 2013.

It will be the first time the Mediterranean island has hosted a stage in the prestigious three-week race.

Corsica is the only metropolitan region of France never to have hosted a stage and more details are set to be revealed on Tuesday, 6 December.

The 2012 race starts on 30 June, with Australia’s Cadel Evans starting the defence of his title in the Belgian city of Liege.

Corsica has held the past two editions of the two-day Criterium International, with Luxembourg’s Frank Schleck winning this year’s race.

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Ricco loses appeal over sentence

Riccardo Ricco

Ricco was riding for Spanish team Saunier Duval at the 2008 Tour

Italian cyclist Riccardo Ricco has lost his appeal against a two-month suspended prison sentence for doping during the 2008 Tour de France.

A Toulouse court upheld the June 2010 verdict, when Ricco was found guilty of “using a poisonous substance”.

Ricco tested positive for Cera, an advanced version of the banned blood-booster EPO, after winning two mountain stages on the 2008 Tour.

Ricco has five days to appeal against the latest court ruling.

Ricco’s lawyer Annamaria Tripicchio-Rogier tried to get the charges dropped because Ricco had already been charged by a court in Italy in February 2010.

She said: “We’re not pleading in favour of doping, far from it. Mr. Ricco made a mistake and admitted it.

“But given the fact he’s already been condemned for the same thing by an Italian court, he can’t be condemned again by another tribunal.”

Ricco also lost his appeal against a fine of 3,000 euros (£2,600).

Ricco had won two stages of the 2008 Tour before he was disqualified. He served a 20-month ban and was also tried and fined 5,710 euros (£4,930) by a court in Padua.

Ricco has not raced since being investigated by Italy’s anti-doping body over reports he performed a blood transfusion on himself at his home near Modena in February.

He was subsequently sacked by his Dutch team Vacansoleil-DCM after the incident.

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Johnny’s favourite stores