The Court for Arbitration in Sport has upheld the ban, but allowed Millar to ‘reset’ the start date.
“Lausanne, 17 February 2005 – The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has confirmed the two-year suspension imposed on David Millar by the British Cycling Federation (BCF). However, the CAS changed the starting date of the suspension period, which means that Millar’s ban will now end on 23 June 2006.
Further to a police investigation in 2004 against certain members of the team Cofidis, David Millar was arrested in June 2004 and held in custody by the French police. During his examination by the French authorities, Millar declared that he had taken erythropoietin (EPO) on three occasions : in August 2001 before the Tour of Spain, in May 2003 before the Dauphiné Libéré and in September 2003 before the World Elite Time Trial Championship. On the basis of such admission, the BCF decided to suspend Millar for a period of two years starting from 5 August 2004. The BCF did not impose the maximum sanction of four years in order to take into account the admission by Millar of his doping offences.
On 26 August 2004, Millar filed an appeal with the CAS against the decision made by the BCF in order to request that the suspension be reduced to one year and that the starting date of such suspension be fixed on 24 June 2004.
The case has been submitted to a Panel composed of Mr Quentin Byrne-Sutton, Geneva, Switzerland (President), Mr Jean-Jacques Bertrand, Paris, France and the Hon. Michael Beloff, London, England (arbitrators). A hearing was held on 24 January 2005 in Lausanne in the presence of David Millar, his legal representatives and with those of the British Cycling Federation.
The CAS Panel considered that the two-year suspension imposed by the BCF was proportionate to the circumstances of the case and was in accordance with the CAS jurisprudence. The Panel has however decided to slightly amend the BCF decision in order to change the starting date of the suspension. The Panel noted that, from the date of his arrest, David Millar was unable to compete any more and that, in addition, he promptly and voluntarily announced that he was withdrawing from the British Team for the Olympic Games in Athens. As a consequence, the CAS arbitrators decided that the two-year suspension should be calculated to run from 24 June 2004, as requested by Millar, and to end on 23 June 2006
BRITISH CYCLING FEDERATION STATEMENT
The Court of Arbitration for Sport has delivered its pronouncement on the appeal filed by David Millar against his suspension for doping offences. The Court of Arbitration for sport hearing was held on 24 January 2005 and in it Millar appealed against two distinct aspects of the suspension imposed by the British Cycling Federation on August 6 2004:
1) his two year suspension from the sport for doping offences
2) the start date of that suspension
On the first of these, the Court of Arbitration for Sport found that the period was “proportionate” and upheld the British Cycling Federation’s two year suspension.
On the second issue, the Court of Arbitration for Sport found that, since Millar was in practical terms unable to compete from the date of his admission of doping to the French police, that the start of his suspension should run from that date, and not the date of the BCF disciplinary hearing.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport pointed out that the regulations of the UCI covering the calculation of the start date of a suspension do not differentiate between the date an athlete is formally suspended and the date when the athlete becomes unable to compete due to practical or political factors surrounding a doping case.
This means that Millar’s suspension will now run from 24 June 2004 to 23 June 2006.
British Cycling’s President Brian Cookson said:
“I believe that this pronouncement by the Court of Arbitration for Sport shows that the British Cycling Federation acted fairly and reasonably in its handling of David Millar’s case. Our assessment and resultant decision were not overturned or changed in any way, save for the change of start date, which was always open to interpretation. We remain committed to the fight against doping in our sport and believe that this case still sends out a strong message to those who might be tempted to cheat through the use of doping products.”
Court of Arbitration for Sport here