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Vin Cox resigns from British Cycling over David Millar role

South West Cyclo-cross stalwart severs ties over "appointment of renowned doper"...

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.

> British Cycling confirm David Millar mentoring GB academy riders

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.

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64 comments

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Simon E | 8 years ago
0 likes

Thank you Tony. At least there's at least one level-headed and informed response to the lynch mob.

I have read Nicole's book. I can see that she didn't have an easy time and her strong views weren't always well received. A less determined rider would have surely given up or perhaps even given in to temptation.

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Alb | 8 years ago
1 like

Ah, David Millar, the staunch anit-doping advocate, who, in his own words "didn't have time" to talk to the CIRC report...in his retirement year, no less. Alas, there was probably some Maserati royalties to be made - priorities an' all that. 

Bar Lance, you'll be hard pushed to find another more self-entitled figure in the cycling ranks. 

Good on you for sticking by your principles Vin! 

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Carton | 8 years ago
0 likes
kevinmorice wrote:

@ Carton.

 

Great analogy, straight from the same bag as the ones above who compare peadophiles to dopers.

Thank you. Coming from you I'll take that as a compliment.
Would like to point out for any kids out there that might be reading it wasn't a analogy. I was taking a truly beautiful legal concept and applying it wholesale to motor vehicle incidents. Also, that criminal systems treat all crimes fairly equally (the burden of proof is the only thing changes), when it comes to the prosecution of crimes. You can freely talk about how evidence is being presented or arguments are being made without comparing the actual defendants. If other people can't that's not on you.

But thank you Kevin, honestly. Re-reading the comments I came upon the breathtaking intelectual consistency on display.

This one I'll just grab verbatim at some point. Don't worry, feel free to still think it's an analogy. 16 likes; An almost consensus view.

SpiritualOne wrote:

One can only assume he has lived a life of never having made a mistake and never broken any laws. In todays society an individual who commits an offence, and is found guilty, takes their punishment and is allowed back into society to get on with their lives. 

Several of the culture ones were also great. I'll be saving one for later.

grahamTDF wrote:

The p***ing contest over who hates ex dopers the most is boring.

Yep, that's the real problem here.  And the real victims are the multimillionaire dopers an their starstruck fans who are getting absolutely shelled by a scattering of people (clearly a tiny minority in this forum) saying that they might not be ideally suited to mentoring kids. Poor guys and gals. Wasn't it enough that were forced into doping by all the Moncoutiés, Hushovds and Matt Cookes who didn't speak up?

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grahamTDF replied to Carton | 8 years ago
1 like
Carton wrote:

Several of the culture ones were also great. I'll be saving one for later.

grahamTDF wrote:

The p***ing contest over who hates ex dopers the most is boring.

Yep, that's the real problem here.  And the real victims are the multimillionaire dopers an their starstruck fans who are getting absolutely shelled by a scattering of people (clearly a tiny minority in this forum) saying that they might not be ideally suited to mentoring kids. Poor guys and gals. Wasn't it enough that were forced into doping by all the Moncoutiés, Hushovds and Matt Cookes who didn't speak up?

How many men and women have doped accross all sports do you rekon?  Thousands?  10's of thousands? 100's of thousands by now?  You want ot just bury your head in the sand, write them off as bad egg's and spout a load of holier than though garbage or do you want to learn from them to create a culture where it is less likely to happen again?

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Carton replied to grahamTDF | 8 years ago
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grahamTDF wrote:

How many men and women have doped accross all sports do you rekon?  Thousands?  10's of thousands? 100's of thousands by now?  

Any estimate would of course be wild speculation, but I would reckon it may hardly get into the tens of thousands, let alone hundreds of thousands. I'm not advocating for zero tolerance everywhere, discard all dopers altogether. Do let some of them in, particularly to consult on things they're experienced in that are still relevant. But the last thing I would do with former caught dopers is position them as mentors for young riders. Because we're far better off making sure the clean riders are held up as role models rather than the dopers, reformed or not. 

It is my firm belief that clean riders should get the hole shot for any opportunity in cycling, particularly within organizations such as BC. I don't think a former WorldTour doper makes for a bad equipment manager, but I'd try to make sure that a purportedly clean former continental racer who is capable of growing into the role is offered the chance first. Sure, you'll get an occasional doper who was never caught, but there are plenty of actually clean athletes. Burying your head in the sand and pretending everyone dopes is even worse that pretending no one does.

grahamTDF wrote:

 You want ot just bury your head in the sand, write them off as bad egg's and spout a load of holier than though garbage or do you want to learn from them to create a culture where it is less likely to happen again?

You don't see how writing off clean riders as "holier than though garbage sellers" is actively hurting instead of helping things? Dope with the latest and greatest undetectable drug, become "great", worst case you'll fall back here in your Maseratti, decked-out with your own clothing line and sponsored shades, as Plan C. You'll have name recognition, so you'll matter. The rest of the "holier than though garbage sellers" will be dismissed as equally complicit by the vast majority of the public anyway. Nobody will know their names, in any case. They won't find jobs in cycling as they won't have the requisite "high level experience". Writing off non-dopers is a brutally terrible example, and one cycling has been following for decades.

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Saxo Bonk | 8 years ago
1 like

Can see both sides of this argument to be fair, Vin is well within his rights to complain about Millar being part of the problem during the dark days of cycling. 

Millar realised too late that instead of going against the peloton and speaking out, that he just got fed up and depressed being nowhere "Pain et Eau" and paid his price accordingly. 

Saying that he has always been more than remorseful on his return and has always accepted and spoke out against doping in sport and I think that he would be ideal and a safe pair of hands to the new generation, because he has actually experienced the dark side of cycling and wants to give back to the organisation he once shamed.

 

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Saxo Bonk | 8 years ago
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Can see both sides of this argument to be fair, Vin is well within his rights to complain about Millar being part of the problem during the dark days of cycling. 

Millar realised too late that instead of going against the peloton and speaking out, that he just got fed up and depressed being nowhere "Pain et Eau" and paid his price accordingly. 

Saying that he has always been more than remorseful on his return and has always accepted and spoke out against doping in sport and I think that he would be ideal and a safe pair of hands to the new generation, because he has actually experienced the dark side of cycling and wants to give back to the organisation he once shamed.

 

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surly_by_name | 8 years ago
1 like

Strikes me as a foolish decision by BC. Irrespective of merits of Millar's appointment (I am sceptical), cost in terms of disillusioned members (Cox won't be alone) will be significant. There is no way that Millar can bring a countervailing benefit. Which idiot didn't foresee this?

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kevinmorice | 8 years ago
1 like

@ Carton.

 

Great analogy, straight from the same bag as the ones above who compare peadophiles to dopers.

Cooke repeatedly came out and said she had been offered drugs and even gives a specific example of a team that offered her a contract conditional on doping, yet she won't even name that team. That makes her complicit.

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1tal | 8 years ago
1 like

I remember Millar being outspoken on drug use at the time , in fact he took every opportunity to criticize all other cheats to the cycling press as would listen at the same time as he injected EPO up his own arse.  He's a lying hypocitical cheat. So I'm with Vin I'm  also going to cancel my membership to B.C.

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Vili Er replied to 1tal | 8 years ago
1 like
1tal wrote:

I remember Millar being outspoken on drug use at the time , in fact he took every opportunity to criticize all other cheats to the cycling press as would listen at the same time as he injected EPO up his own arse.  He's a lying hypocitical cheat. So I'm with Vin I'm  also going to cancel my membership to B.C.

 

I bet you don't even have a BC membership you big drama queen.

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1tal replied to Vili Er | 8 years ago
0 likes
Bigringrider wrote:
1tal wrote:

I remember Millar being outspoken on drug use at the time , in fact he took every opportunity to criticize all other cheats to the cycling press as would listen at the same time as he injected EPO up his own arse.  He's a lying hypocitical cheat. So I'm with Vin I'm  also going to cancel my membership to B.C.

 

I bet you don't even have a BC membership you big drama queen.

 

I've been a member of BC for longer than Millars been doping.

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Vili Er replied to 1tal | 8 years ago
1 like
1tal wrote:
Bigringrider wrote:
1tal wrote:

I remember Millar being outspoken on drug use at the time , in fact he took every opportunity to criticize all other cheats to the cycling press as would listen at the same time as he injected EPO up his own arse.  He's a lying hypocitical cheat. So I'm with Vin I'm  also going to cancel my membership to B.C.

 

I bet you don't even have a BC membership you big drama queen.

 

I've been a member of BC for longer than Millars been doping.

 

So that’s approx. 2 years then?

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1tal replied to Vili Er | 8 years ago
0 likes
Bigringrider wrote:
1tal wrote:
Bigringrider wrote:
1tal wrote:

I remember Millar being outspoken on drug use at the time , in fact he took every opportunity to criticize all other cheats to the cycling press as would listen at the same time as he injected EPO up his own arse.  He's a lying hypocitical cheat. So I'm with Vin I'm  also going to cancel my membership to B.C.

 

I bet you don't even have a BC membership you big drama queen.

 

I've been a member of BC for longer than Millars been doping.

 

So that’s approx. 2 years then?

 

2004 is that not 12 years, I think you must be on drugs as well.

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davel replied to 1tal | 8 years ago
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1tal wrote:
Bigringrider wrote:
1tal wrote:
Bigringrider wrote:
1tal wrote:

I remember Millar being outspoken on drug use at the time , in fact he took every opportunity to criticize all other cheats to the cycling press as would listen at the same time as he injected EPO up his own arse.  He's a lying hypocitical cheat. So I'm with Vin I'm  also going to cancel my membership to B.C.

 

I bet you don't even have a BC membership you big drama queen.

 

I've been a member of BC for longer than Millars been doping.

 

So that’s approx. 2 years then?

 

2004 is that not 12 years, I think you must be on drugs as well.

Get a room you two.

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Beefy | 8 years ago
0 likes

How would people feel if it was Lance armstrong, dopers are dopers right? wether successful or not, i question if we forgive people then do we do it for all or choose who we want to let back in to the fold if they pay lip service or pass a remorse test?

Maybe we should just accept it happens in all sport now and regulate doping to make it as safe as possible?

i really dont know but wonder what others think?

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davel replied to Beefy | 8 years ago
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Beefy wrote:

How would people feel if it was Lance armstrong, dopers are dopers right? wether successful or not, i question if we forgive people then do we do it for all or choose who we want to let back in to the fold if they pay lip service or pass a remorse test?

Maybe we should just accept it happens in all sport now and regulate doping to make it as safe as possible?

Fair questions - I'm on the fence about Millar, being equally swayed by the pros and cons.

An aggravating factor with Armstrong, and what turns people off especially, is that he impacted others' careers and enhanced his own off the back of his bullying to protect the omerta which benefitted him so much. I think more people would be up for a bit of forgiveness if he didn't consistently act like a psycho.

On the last question: I'm assuming you mean doping as in PEDs. But dopers aren't precious about drugs. What made Ben Johnson inject steroids wasn't just that he loved to juice and lift big weights, and happened to be OK with the 100m-winning side-effects. Tyler Hamilton didn't just love having other people's blood in him. And who knows - it might just turn out that Femke van den Driessche (or her mate) hasn't got a predeliction for riding motor-powered bikes but actually had the motor installed for something naughty.

What they're all driven by is seeking an unfair advantage. Even without regulating the PEDs on offer, certain people involved in cycling are showing innovative ways of being cheaty bastards. Regulate PEDs and then where do they go for their unfair advantage? They're already finding other ways... blood transfusions, motors in bikes... it'll be a race to turn sport into something that isn't sport. That's why 'they're all doing it' is not an excuse.

 

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dannycarr2k | 8 years ago
4 likes

Millar hasn't a shred of remorse. The appointment of him as an advisor, or mentor to neophyte young pros is irrational. His own account of his doping, as widely published in his book 'Racing Through The Dark', seeks to blame the culture surrounding him, his lack of a support network, and the tired excuse trotted out by every unremorseful cheat of having no other choice but to join the rest of the cheaters if he wanted to win. Millar was young, naïve and brash. He beleived his own hype and when it all came crashing down he saw himself as the victim. Millar is all about Millar, and I abhor his selection as a mentor.

The poacher turned gamekeeper argument is a fallacy. To think that clean professional athletes don't know what doping products are, or their potential affects is inane. Wake up. Clean professional athletes know exactly what advantages their competitors may be gaining by using different drugs, but they have the moral fortitude to chose a different path.

Read http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/jan/14/nicole-cooke-retirement-sta...

Millar can shill all the crap, stylised riding gear he likes. Hincapie, et al, the same. The recent case of Gabriel Evans showed more courage in admitting that he alone was responsible for his actions than this phalanx of professional cheats.

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grahamTDF replied to dannycarr2k | 8 years ago
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dannycarr2k wrote:

Millar hasn't a shred of remorse.

How do you know this?  How could you know this?  Spent a lot of time with him have you?  Know him better than the guys at British Cycling?

dannycarr2k wrote:

His own account of his doping, as widely published in his book 'Racing Through The Dark', seeks to blame the culture surrounding him, his lack of a support network

You think these things are irrelevant?  And I have heard him talk about personal responsibility.  

The p***ing contest over who hates ex dopers the most is boring.

 

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Simon E replied to dannycarr2k | 8 years ago
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dannycarr2k wrote:

Millar hasn't a shred of remorse.

Can you prove this?

dannycarr2k wrote:

Millar was young, naïve and brash. He beleived his own hype and when it all came crashing down he saw himself as the victim. Millar is all about Millar, and I abhor his selection as a mentor.

I read it differently. He gave into a temptation that he resisted for longer than most. He's definitely not the first nor will he be the last. Is his apparent self-absorption really so shocking or offensive? Do all those who are driven to cheat offend you so much? What about City bankers, CEOs of large corporations, corrupt lawyers or dodgy builders?

dannycarr2k wrote:

The poacher turned gamekeeper argument is a fallacy. To think that clean professional athletes don't know what doping products are, or their potential affects is inane. Wake up. Clean professional athletes know exactly what advantages their competitors may be gaining by using different drugs, but they have the moral fortitude to chose a different path.

I generally agree that the reformed alcoholic's testimony is more powerful than a thousand sermons from a self-righteous tee-totaller but this has prompted me revisit that idea. However, Sutton states that those clean athletes would benefit from his vast experience of racing, not his more limited experience of doping 12 or more years ago.

dannycarr2k wrote:

Millar can shill all the crap, stylised riding gear he likes. Hincapie, et al, the same. The recent case of Gabriel Evans showed more courage in admitting that he alone was responsible for his actions than this phalanx of professional cheats.

Gabriel only spilled because otherwise he was going to get shopped. The 'confession' he posted was IMHO too carefully worded to be described as a genuine apology (and edited more than once after posting). I'd certainly not cite an 18 year old who injected EPO because he didn't like being beaten as a good example.

I also would not lump Millar and Hincapie together. Whatever you think of him (is being stylish a crime too?), Millar has copped a great deal of highly personal abuse since his ban, more than any doped cyclist (possibly including Armstrong. I don't know). Does he really deserve it? Honestly? Put his crime into perspective: he didn't sexually abuse children, he hasn't killed anyone - he cheated at sport, along with most of his contemporaries. He is abused far more for admitting his mistakes and subsequently working for clean sport than all the other dopers put together. Should he have keep quiet and resumed doping after his ban?

Very few people wonder what it's like to make the same kind of mistake and live with it, privately and publicly. Most are too busy throwing stones to ask that question, too full of self-righteous anger at someone who took drugs so he could ride a bike a bit faster than the others, who were mostly taking the same drugs.

Slagging him off for the Maserati, his poncy clothing line etc - none of which is relevant - suggest you simply have a huge chip on your shoulder.

In the end the team at BC are far better qualified than 'internet forum people' who have zero experience of high level racing or working with Millar. So all the haters are going to have live with it or go elsewhere. In which case, good luck finding a clean professional sport to follow.

I don't necessarily agree with Vin Cox but respect the fact that he has strong views on this topic. Some of the crap on this thread is truly pathetic.

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HalfWheeler | 8 years ago
4 likes

Resigning on point of principle, without fanfare, is fine. Making a song and dance about it indicates  a rather high opinion of himself.

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Colin Peyresourde | 8 years ago
2 likes

You have to admire him for sticking by his principles. I think cycling would likely be a cleaner sport if no one involved in doping was involved in the running of it.

In fact it seems no team is without their EPO era rider these days. You can talk about experience, but experience of what?

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peust | 8 years ago
0 likes

UK cycling chosing the 'cool runnings' approach of hiring an ex cheat to do the job. Made for a great movie but not real life-we do not need cheats in cycling, keep them out of the sport alltogether. Everyone makes mistakes but not of this magnitude.

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WolfieSmith | 8 years ago
5 likes

I'd rather a well known remorseful ex doper advised my kids on the perils of drugs than a none doper I've never heard of. 

I assume Vin switches off Eurosport when Kelly is commentating? After all. Surely doping is doping - regardless of the dates?

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Carton replied to WolfieSmith | 8 years ago
2 likes
WolfieSmith wrote:

I'd rather a well known remorseful ex doper advised my kids on the perils of drugs than a none doper I've never heard of. 

Yep, hence my first post. Which was really about cycling culture, before I got a particularly harsh on Dave on my second post for taking advantage of it. Frustration gets the better of me sometimes.  I've yet to learn how to stop worrying and love them dopers.

If Cooke's unwilling, how about one of the GCN boys, then? They seem fairly popular.

Also, I support Mr. Cox in taking a stand for what he believes in.

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Awavey replied to Carton | 8 years ago
0 likes
Carton wrote:
WolfieSmith wrote:

I'd rather a well known remorseful ex doper advised my kids on the perils of drugs than a none doper I've never heard of. 

Yep, hence my first post. Which was really about cycling culture, before I got a particularly harsh on Dave on my second post for taking advantage of it. Frustration gets the better of me sometimes.  I've yet to learn how to stop worrying and love them dopers.

If Cooke's unwilling, how about one of the GCN boys, then? They seem fairly popular.

Also, I support Mr. Cox in taking a stand for what he believes in.

because this new BC training camp is based in Northern Italy...so it would involve commiting to being over there at the same time, which is quite an ask if for a "voluntary" role when you main income is generated in the UK...whereas Millar can probably just hop on his bike and get there (he still lives in Italy right ?)

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brakesmadly | 8 years ago
1 like

Withdrawing financial and resource support for British Cycling when Millar is only acting in a voluntary capacity seems especially petty.

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Stumps | 8 years ago
7 likes

A cracking appointment.

As the saying goes "been there, done that and got the t-shirt". Millar can show the massive error of taking drugs and point out how you can succeed without them. I hope he is a massive success.

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southseabythesea | 8 years ago
19 likes

So Vin wouldn't allow the following in a teaching environment...

An ex-smoker to warn of the dangers of smoking

A slimmed obese person to talk about the importance of healthy eating

A reformed drinker lecture of the dangers of addiction

No, because they could actually tell you like it is and where that path leads...

Vin knows best does he?

 

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Yorkshie Whippet | 8 years ago
4 likes

I like the way some people think we can go from prevalent  doping to no doping without a transition.

I see this as part of said transition however painful.

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