Former round-the-world Guinness World Record holder and South West Cyclo-cross stalwart Vin Cox has resigned his membership of British Cycling after it emerged that former pro cyclist David Millar is working on a voluntary basis with its academy riders.
News that Millar was working with the youngsters at their new training base in Montechiara, Tuscany, was confirmed by the governing body this morning and given the two year ban for doping imposed on him in 2004 was always likely to prove controversial.
Cox, who circumnavigated the globe in 176 days in 2010, resigned from the organisation publicly in a message on Facebook to South West Cyclo-cross with which he has had a long association as a rider, administrator and race organiser.
He wrote: “With regret I have just resigned my membership of the corrupted British Cycling due to their appointment of renowned doper David Millar. Therefore I cannot serve on the South West Cyclo-cross Committee, or organise events next season. Good luck without me folks.”
He told road.cc:
On reading it [the news] I just thought no way am I wanting anything to do with it. They can employ who they like but they need to understand that some of their members may not agree to be part of an organisation if they choose to employ someone so controversial.
You can pick literally anyone who hadn’t been doping who would be a better ambassador. The argument for him is that he is a poacher turned gamekeeper and that he knows what it’s all about having been there but to go along with that to say it’s okay that he cheated and he had a career that his clean peers never had a chance because they never cheated.
I think it’s just wrong to have someone who was banned as a World Champion for cheating, who cost British Cycling money and credibility. He was a damage to sport at the time, he should be saying I was a damage to the sport at the time and I should be finding something else to do.
I don’t want any of my efforts or money to go towards his wages or to give him any credibility. I’m out of British Cycling, as long as he’s in.
I think cycling would be better rid of him than embracing him. He is a known cheat and I think that he shouldn’t be courted or given a role in cycling.
Nicole Cooke said he’s not an expert in doping, in any other sense than he knows how to do it. He had a big lapse of morals that other people seem to be able to keep hold of.
Some people think that because he says he came back clean he deserves another chance. I don’t see it that way.
While Millar’s role is voluntary at the moment, British Cycling has said that he may move into a formal role from the end of this month.
Great Britain Cycling Team technical director Shane Sutton said of Millar’s role: “Nurturing an anti-doping culture is at the heart of everything we do at British Cycling and educating our young riders on the subject is a responsibility we take seriously.
“Having someone of David’s calibre on board to support us in this education process is invaluable; he is readily available to share his well-rounded experiences as a professional cyclist to the young riders who aspire to succeed in their careers.”
Opinion among road.cc Facebook followers was split on the issue.
Ben Turp asked, “What? The guy who got caught doping? Yeah okay,” while Steven Edwards said, “Are you f****** kidding,” and Francis Longworth commented, “Lance unavailable.”
But James Asker wrote: “There will always be those who say why let an ex doper anywhere near our younger riders.
“That said having read about David and his rise and spectacular fall he is very well placed to advise younger riders on the risks to their health and careers.”
And Malc Wiggypig Hall said it was “Fantastic news, glad they are putting all that experience to good use. He can talk the talk and walk the walk. Unlike many keyboard experts here.”
Mick Chambers, meanwhile, noted: “Poacher turned gatekeeper, Why not, who knows more about the problems?”
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.