David Millar: Cycling has already become clean
Poacher turned gamekeeper says there's no need for all the admissions of doping now
David Millar, the cycling world's poacher-turned-gamekeeper, has outlined his vision for a drug free new beginning for pro cycling.
Millar, 35, who now takes part in the World Anti-Doping Agency commission, was banned from the sport between 2004 and 2006 for EPO misuse.
But although he takes a dim view of cheats, it's all the new admissions coming out of the woodwork that are angering him.
"That's what is pissing me off no end," Millar told Herald Sport. "The fact we are having to regurgitate all this stuff when the sport is actually clean now. When I say clean, it's not 100% clean, but you can win the biggest races clean now, which wasn't possible a few years ago. That's a massive leap forward .
"It's something we have been working really hard at, chipping away inch by inch to get to where we are today. It feels like the perception of our sport has been shot back 10 years, which isn't just."
Perhaps Millar's comments are to be expected, given that he's never made a secret of his disappointment that he can never be a part of Team Sky, given his cheating past.
Sky stipulate that all the team's riders and other staff sign an contract stating they have no past or present involvement in doping. In recent days this has led to the departures of Bobby Julich and Steven de Jongh, both of whom admitted to past incidences.
"They are in a position where they have a zero tolerance policy and have to fully enforce it," said Millar. "Their policy is different from everyone else's, but it's still good for the sport. They are a new team, they can act differently, but for most of us it's not as simple as that. We have to deal with the past and live with it.
"Two of the teams that are doing the most, albeit in completely different ways, are mine and Sky. The majority of teams aren't doing anything, they aren't even acknowledging what is going on. Our teams are in the firing line when we are probably two of the only ones working hard to make a difference.
"We stand together," he added. "We have different outlooks on it, but that doesn't mean we aren't following the same hymn sheet. We all have to adhere to a clean vision. Each team has a different culture and history, but as long as we have the same ultimate goal, that's what matters."
Millar now rides for Garmin-Sharp, where his team-mates, David Zabriskie, Christian Vande Velde and Tom Danielson were key witnesses in the USADA report that was central to the Lance Armstrong judgement.
Speaking about them, and the six-month bans they have incurred thanks to their admissions of doping, he said: "We were all aware of each other's pasts in some way.
"If you are above a certain age and have been on certain teams, it's not rocket science. It has always been like that within the sport, but it wasn't something you would talk about. They are mistakes, it's not something you are proud of.
"We didn't have deep and meaningful conversations, asking about each other's doping pasts. What I knew about them was that they had never been recognised from the peloton as being abusive, serial dopers. Within the peloton you know who's who and who does what. You know who the ring leaders, instigators and hardcore element are – and the guys who were the fringe, who made mistakes and regret it.
"I always knew those [Danielson, Vande Velde and Zabriskie] were the guys on the fringe, that they weren't the real bad guys, as many of us weren't. It wasn't a surprise, but they weren't details we had ever spoken about."
And as for Millar - how much longer has his own career got to run? "It's up in the air about how much longer I'll do as a pro, but I'll definitely still go on until then," he said.
"After that I'll make the decision about how much further I'll go and if I do [continue riding]. The Commonwealth Games is something I can't wait for. I think it will be great fun, especially after the Olympics this year. It will be a similar sort of feeling in Glasgow."
But unlike many around the sport, Millar is in no rush to unseat UCI president Pat McQuaid over the whole affair.
He said: "You have to understand, if we are being pragmatic about the sport's politics, if Pat goes who takes over? Although he has incredibly strong ties to Hein [Verbruggen], the bottom line is that, under his watch as UCI president, the sport has got a lot cleaner, so we can't take that away either. Pat has got to restore our faith in him, which I think he can do, but he has to figure out how, because, at the moment, we are all very disillusioned."