Cycling-I can explain doping dangers to young riders, says Millar

Garmin-Sharp rider David Millar of Britain reacts on the finish line as he wins the 12th stage of the 99th Tour de France cycling race between Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and Annonay-Davezieux, July 13, 2012. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

LONDON (Reuters) - David Millar, the former professional rider once banned for doping violations, aims to deliver a powerful anti-drugs message to Britain’s best young road prospects in his role as a mentor, he said on Wednesday.

Millar, who retired from riding in 2014, is working on a voluntary basis with the men’s endurance academy programme in Italy.

“It’s been a bit of a controversial decision in some quarters because I am an ex-doper and I did cheat,” Millar told the BBC.

“One of the things I’m going to bring is to try and make sure these young guys never have to go through the things I did and make the same mistakes I did.”

Millar, 39, was banned in 2004 for two years after admitting using the blood-booster EPO but returned to become one of the sport’s biggest campaigners against performance-enhancing drugs.

“I can explain the reasons how I got into it (doping) and the damage it did to me and to others and I don’t think there’s any more powerful message than that to be honest,” he said.

Millar won four individual stages in the Tour de France, cycling’s most prestigious race, and was part of the British team in the Olympic road race at the 2012 London Games.

Reporting by Ed Osmond; editing by Ken Ferris