Road cyclist David Millar was in Edinburgh in June to spread the anti-doping message to young Scottish athletes. Millar had his eligibility for selection confirmed last December by Commonwealth Games Scotland to represent them at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, subject to him meeting the necessary performance selection criteria. He was also asked to demonstrate his commitment to anti-doping education in Scotland.
This decision came on the back of an application from Millar to be given eligibility for selection following a successful return to the sport in 2006 after serving a two year ban for a doping offence. His application was supported by the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) and the international cycling federation (UCI).
David, who now competes for the USA based Garmin-Transitions team, is fully aware of his responsibility to educate the media, public and other athletes about the world of doping. David works closely with UK Anti Doping, British Cycling, UCI and WADA in the area of anti-doping and is proving to be a valuable asset. He was nominated to the WADA Athlete’s Committee in 2007 by UK Sport as the British representative, contributing to the development of British Cycling, UK Sport and SPORT WADA anti-doping policies and programmes and demonstrating his commitment to making a difference in the world of sport.
Speaking to Scottish athletes and officials, Millar said: “There are very few sports people out there who realise they are good and then think I can’t wait to start doping. The people we need to approach are those on the fringe of international success, that’s when it starts to get a little more complicated, when the lines start to get blurred and you start leaving your close knit family group and long term coaches. That’s the grey area. That’s the people I’d like them to hear it from, the elite level sportsmen saying that it is possible to do it clean.
“Even in my amateur team I didn’t know there was doping going on. I was completely naive and oblivious to what was happening around me. When you are a young athlete doping doesn’t come into your mind and it’s not something you should have to encounter. You have the right as a young athlete to be idealistic and to believe everything is possible and there is right and wrong, black and white.
“The moment you start to lose track of those is the moment where you have to have people around you to support you. When I was in France these lines were completely black and white and there was right and wrong, people who cheated and people who didn’t. When I turned professional this all got thrown around.
“I made mistakes as a younger athlete in a dirty sport, and I will have to live with those mistakes for the rest of my life, but I have changed and if the example I now give and education I provide can prevent a younger version of me from making the same mistakes I made than I could not ask for more.”
Looking towards the Delhi Games he added: “Competing for Scotland means a lot. It’s more of an emotional thing than anything else and as my career has gone on it has come home to me how important this is. It’s been a fairly tumultuous few years and the fact that I am being welcomed back into the team is a wonderful feeling.
“It would be massive for me to do well in Delhi for many reasons. My team are behind me, which is good. I’ll be racing Bradley (Wiggins) which is good. There is already a strong rivalry going and now it will be Scotland v England. I know he’s targeting the time trial as well so it will be full on.
“The time trial is the No1 priority with the road race. But I hear it is pretty flat so that is going to make it a bit of an interesting race because it will be a sprinter’s race. There are so many more variables in the road race so I’d rather hedge my best in the time trial and work towards that. I’ll take the road race as it comes.”
Whilst David has now met the required performance selection criteria for a number of the cycling events in Delhi, his confirmation as a member of Team Scotland for Delhi 2010 is still to be formally considered and ratified along with all the other cycling nominations by CGS in August.