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CAS extends O’Neill suspension

O'Neill will not be able to ride until June of 2010.

O’Neill will not be able to ride until June of 2010.

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority announced Wednesday that the International Court of Arbitration for Sport has ordered an increase in an earlier suspension handed down to Nathan O’Neill.

Following a hearing in June of last year, O’Neill received a 15-month suspension for testing positive for the stimulant Phentermine at the 2007 Tour of Elk Grove, in Illinois. A hearing panel had found that O’Neill had not intentionally used the drug for competition and gave him a sentence lighter than the usual two-year ban for a first-time offense.

However, ASADA and the UCI appealed the decision to CAS, arguing that the penalty was too light and that there was significant evidence to suggest that O’Neill had used the drug to gain a competitive advantage.

The international appeals panel agreed and extended O’Neill’s suspension to two years.

“Also of importance is the evidence from Mr O’Neill that he took the risk because he was of the view that without Phentermine he was not going to be competitive,” the CAS panel noted. “Mr O’Neill therefore self-medicated with a view of gaining a competitive advantage.”

O’Neill, a Commonwealth Games gold and bronze medalist and eight-time Australian national time trial champion, will not be able to compete until June of 2010.

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