January 9 - Australian Olympic cycling duo Patrick Jonker (pictured) and Stuart O'Grady have backed the British Olympic Association (BOA) lifetime ban for drug cheats, such as 2010 world time trial silver medallist David Millar, and believe that the same ruling should apply in their country.

The BOA are now the only National Olympic Committee to have the ruling in place but it could soon be forced remove it after it was declared "non-compliant" with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code.

The issue will be settled in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on March 12 and if it is overturned then Millar, who was suspended for two years after admitting his use of erythropoietin after police found the drug in his home in France in 2004, would be eligible to compete at the Olympics.

But Jonker, a 1992 and 1996 Olympian who was placed 12th overall in the 1996 Tour de France, and O'Grady, the 2007 Paris-Roubaix champion who hopes to compete in his sixth Olympics at London 2012, gave their support to the BOA bylaw saying that doping offenders like Millar.

"I like David Millar," Jonker told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"I would like to see him race the London Olympics, but to set an example for everyone: if you do get caught using performance-enhancing drugs, you should never ride the Olympics again.

"I think the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) should follow the British position if it's blatant, like absolutely black and white and premeditated where it cannot be accidentally ingested.

"There should be a grey area where the athlete can appeal, which there is, but in black and white cases like those of Floyd Landis, David Millar and Tyler Hamilton; for all the black and white cases, there should be a life ban for the Tour de France and Olympics."

O'Grady (pictured left with Millar) agreed with Jonker despite admitting that the issue was certainly a complex one.

"It's a tough one," he said in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald.

"I'm good friends with Dave, but I also believe that if you have done something like that, it's not unreasonable that you get a life ban."

Millar is now an outspoken advocate for clean sport and sits on WADA's Athletes' Panel.

The 35-year-old is also the only British rider to have worn all three of the Tour de France's main jerseys (yellow, green and polka dot) and the only Briton to have led all three of cycling's grand tours in France, Italy and Spain.

WADA have argued the BOA bylaw goes beyond their own regulations and amounts to an extra sanction for a doping offence.

But Colin Moynihan (pictured), chairman of the BOA, today continued to defend the bylaw and promised he would do all he could to keep in place for London 2012 when the CAS hear the case.

"The current WADA policy of a serious doping offence just leading to a two-year ban is sending out absolutely the wrong message to young people across the world," he said.

"Our message is different.

"Our message is: if you go out there and you take a cocktail of drugs and you knowingly cheat a fellow member of your team out of selection from the British Olympic team, you will never be selected.

"That message will have stopped a lot of athletes who might have been tempted to take drugs to enhance performance in the past from ever going near them.

"That's why we have had very few positive tests because everyone knows the consequences to those who use drugs to cheat.

"If they are taken away, we think that would be wrong and it would be sending out simply the wrong message.

"We want to make sure we select clean athletes for the Games and we want to make sure that aspiring athletes know that we are going to take a very tough line."

By Tom Degun

Source: www.insidethegames.biz


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