Crucial CAS Olympic anti-doping ruling due today, could affect riders such as David Millar
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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Crucial CAS Olympic anti-doping ruling due today, could affect riders such as David Millar

by Shane Stokes at 3:09 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping, Olympics
LaShawn Merritt case decision due, USADA’s Tygart wants standard bans worldwide

David MillarThe Court of Arbitration for Sport will today announce its ruling on the LaShawn Merritt doping case, a matter which could determine if riders such as David Millar will be able to compete in next year’s Olympic Games.

Millar was handed a lifetime ban from competing in the Olympics by the British Olympic Association after his 2004 admission that he had used the banned substance EPO. While his case is not directly related to that of the 400 metre Olympic gold medallist Merritt, it is believed the outcome of the latter could have a knock-on effect in cycling and other sports.

Merritt tested positive three times during the winter of 2009/2010 for the steroid DHEA. He denied doing so knowingly, saying that the banned substance got into his system after he took the product ExtenZe, which is designed to boost genital size.

He was handed down an 18 month ban, which he completed in July. However under Rule 45 of the Olympic Charter, he and other athletes who have been given suspensions of greater than six months are automatically blocked from competing in the next Olympic Games.

This has been appealed by the US Olympic Committee, which states it is a double punishment.

It is believed by some that if Merritt successfully appeals against Rule 45, that this could in turn weaken the argument for the lifetime ban imposed by some national federations such as the BOA. Millar previously said that he wouldn’t challenge his Olympic ineligibility before CAS as it would be interpreted negatively.

However he has said that if the ban was not in place that he would love to compete in the London 2012 Games. His silver medal in last year’s world championship time trial indicates he would be a medal contender there.

Meanwhile US Anti Doping Agency chief Travis Tygart has called for universal worldwide sanctions rather than different rules for different countries. He was commenting in relation to the BOA lifetime ban, saying that it went beyond the sanctions laid out by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

“Once you set the rules and the world agrees to them, you ought to play by those rules,” Tygart said in a BBC interview at the Laureus Science and Ethics in Sport Symposium in London. “You cannot have one country with increased sanctions when everybody else doesn't.

“Let's not go outside (the WADA) process, like the BOA has, and have a rule that supersedes the rules we've all signed up to as the final word on what the sanctions should be.”

However he isn’t opposed to the principle of increasing the penalties against those who dope. “If we want lifetime bans - and that could be the right thing to do to protect clean athletes - let's do it via WADA so that it applies to every country.”

His view has been contrasted by Olympic silver medallist and double world 110 metres hurdles champion Colin Jackson. He wants the BOA to remain firm, saying that stiffer penalties are an important deterrent. “You are an ambassador for your country when you compete at an Olympics,” he explained. “If we decide we don't want anybody who has taken drugs to be our ambassador then so be it. I have very little room for movement on the subject of drug-taking.”



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