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Snubbed cyclist calls for lifetime drugs bans

By Essex Chronicle  |  Posted: June 21, 2012

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ALEX Dowsett has called for lifetime bans on all cyclists found guilty of drug abuse.

The Great Baddow rider received the devastating news last week that he hadn't made Team GB's initial eight man squad for the London 2012 Olympics.

Instead David Millar, who admitted taking performance enhancing substances in 2004 and was subsequently banned for two years, has been included.

"I think it sends the wrong message out," Dowsett told the Chronicle in an exclusive interview.

"Things were very different in cycling a few years ago, in Millar and before's era. So, I think those guys shouldn't be dealt with as harshly as we should be now. Now there is no excuse.

"I'm clean, I'm tested. I have to tell UK Sport where I am, where I sleep at night and where I am and they do turn up knocking at my door at all hours.

"I don't see why people should be let off. I mean a two-year ban is quite a light punishment.

"A couple of years for a cyclist whose career goes up to 35 or 36 that's not a great deal of time."

The British Olympic Association's policy of lifetime bans was only overturned by the Court for Arbitration for Sport in April.

Had it still been in place Millar, a 35-year-old Scot, would have been unable to compete.

Given that Dowsett, a former CEGS pupil, has since been told by Team GB manager Rod Ellingworth that he was ninth on the list of 12 potential competitors the decision to include Millar has directly scuppered his Olympic hopes.

He said: "Anyone in my position would understand maybe how I feel – but that's life. I have got nothing against Dave personally at all but I just think the rule being changed sends the wrong message out to kids.

"It's something that all sports are trying to deal with heavily and I thought that the consequence of cheating was that it stayed with you for life, rather than a two-year ban."

Turn to page 70 for more of Alex Doswett's exclusive interview with the Chronicle where he talks about taking up cycling, battling a blood condition and training in Essex with Mark Cavendish.

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