Tour de France: David Millar delighted to prove he can ‘win clean’
FOR Scotland’s David Millar – a self-confessed but reformed “ex-doper” – Friday’s stage-win was proof that riders can win clean.
His British compatriot, Bradley Wiggins, is gunning for the Tour’s greatest glory – the yellow jersey – and spent much of last week seeking to tackle cycling’s struggle with doping head-on.
Millar’s victory and Wiggins’ assertions came exactly 45 years after Tom Simpson, the first Briton to wear yellow, died on the slopes of the Mont Ventoux after using a lethal cocktail of amphetamines and alcohol.
“It’s particularly poignant that I win the day of this anniversary because I’m an ex-doper, I made mistakes,” Millar said. “It’s a nice kind of full circle that I’ve now won as a clean rider – after making the same mistakes that Tommy made. I hope that today I’ve shown where cycling has come in the last 45 years, and even in the last five years,” he said.
Millar, who rides for the US Garmin-Sharp team, has for years been cycling’s most vocal critic of doping. The 35-year-old Scotsman says he learned hard lessons after “making a mess” of his life through drug use. A string of doping scandals dented the sport’s image over the last 15 years or so, and the International Cycling Union and reformed former drugs cheats such as Millar have sought to root out the doping plague. Try as they might, the issue continues to crop up – even this year. Millar, while riding for French team Cofidis, was banned from cycling for two years in 2004 after admitting to use of banned blood booster EPO.
“I’m an ex-doper and I’m clean now, and I want to show everyone that it’s possible to win clean on the Tour,” Millar said.
Wiggins also rode for Cofidis. He threw his jersey away after team-mate Christian Moreni’s positive test for testosterone in 2007. Last week, Remy Di Gregorio, a Cofidis rider, was placed under investigation following his arrest as part of a French doping probe. He is suspected of possession of doping products or equipment.
The stage victory was Millar’s fourth in his career but first since 2003. He also became the fourth Briton to win a Tour stage this year, after Mark Cavendish, Christopher Froome and Wiggins.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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