Nathan O'Neill

Nathan O'Neill
Personal information
Full name Nathan O'Neill
Born (1974-11-23) 23 November 1974
Sydney, Australia
Height 1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)
Weight 72 kg (159 lb; 11.3 st)
Team information
Current team Bahati foundation pro cycling
Discipline Road
Role Rider
Rider type Time Trial specialist
Professional team(s)
1 Sep31 Dec 1999 Navigare - Gaerne (Trainee)
2000 Panaria - Gaerne
20012002 Panaria - Fiordo
2003 Saturn Cycling Team
2004 Colavita - Olive Oil
2005 Navigators Insurance Cycling Team
200629 Oct 2007[1] Health Net Pro Cycling Team
Major wins
Australia National Time Trial Champion x8
Infobox last updated on
14 January 2007

Nathan O'Neill (born 23 November 1974[2]) is a former Australian professional road racing cyclist.



O'Neill was born in Sydney in 1974. He began cycling in 1989, when he attended a 16 kilometre handicap race before school, following the suggestion by a friend. The race started at 6am and O'Neill won it. He went on to win numerous medals in the junior ranks at the Australian National Track Championships. At the Junior UCI Track Cycling World Championships in 1992, O'Neill won the bronze medal as part of the team pursuit squad. In 1995, he won the silver medal in the road time trial at the Oceania Cycling Championships whilst nursing a broken pelvis.[3] He was an Australian Institute of Sport scholarship holder.[4]

From 1 September 1999, he rode for the Navigare - Gaerne team as a trainee rider before turning professional for the team in 2000 at the age of 25, under new sponsors Panaria - Gaerne. He represented Australia at the 2000 Summer Olympics, finishing 19th in the individual time trial. He stayed with the same team for 2001–2002, under Panaria - Fiordo's sponsorship. O'Neill won the bronze medal in the individual time trial at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, United Kingdom.

In 2003, O'Neill signed with the Saturn Cycling Team, 2004 for Colavita - Olive Oil, 2005 for Navigators Insurance Cycling Team and finally for Health Net Pro Cycling Team in 2006.

At the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, 21 March 2006, O'Neill won the Gold Medal in the Time Trial finishing in a time of 48:37.29.

He became the Australian National Time Trial Champion for the eighth time in January 2007, it was the fourth consecutive time.[5]

Positive Test

On 12 August 2007, at the Tour of Elk Grove, O'Neill provided a sample which tested positive for the appetite suppressant drug phentermine.[6] O'Neill received notification of this on 23 September 2007. Later, the B sample also tested positive, he admitted that he had used the medicine for the prescribed purpose out of competition. The drug was not banned for use out-of-competition, and O'Neill maintains that his error is due to a longer than expected clearance time for the drug, compounded by another supplement which increased his urinary pH that he was also taking in the days leading up to the event.[7] On 6 November 2007, O'Neill was terminated by the Health Net Pro Cycling Team.[6]

On 13 June 2008 the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled that O'Neill bore "no significant negligence" in registering a positive finding for Phentermine, and was given a 15-month suspension, from 12 August 2007 12 November 2008.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the UCI jointly appealed to the CAS to increase the suspension period "on the grounds that the athlete had not demonstrated no significant fault or negligence". The CAS also stated that "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. Mr O’Neill therefore self-medicated with a view of gaining a competitive advantage." The suspension was extended to the maximum period of two years, due to come to end on 13 June 2010.[8]

Note: The previous paragraph concerning Mr. O'Neill's suspension does not take into account time already served from the date the sample was taken until the date of the original CAS hearing on 13 June 2008. If Mr. O'Neill had raced beyond when the sample was taken, then the date of ineligibility would begin as soon as he finished competing, or when he was notified of the lab's finding. The difference being a week. O'Neill's last race he competed in was the Tour of Missouri, ending on 16 September 2007. O'Neill was officially notified on 21 September 2007. Read the official correspondence from the Court of Arbitration for Sport to Cycling Australia referencing the suspension here[9] CAS letter to Cycling Australia dated 4 June 2009.

O'Neill's 2007 positive test for the prescription medication, Phentermine, for which he was legally prescribed, and which was legal OUT of competition, but not IN competition, there were then, and have been MANY high-profile positives since, revealed within the professional peloton, and these for actual performance enhancers, i.e., EPO, Growth Hormone, Steroids. These are medications that have NEVER been legal in the professional peloton, (Ivan Basso,[10] Floyd Landis,[11] Alejandro Valverde [12] Michael Rasmussen,[13] Christian Vandevelde, George Hincapie, Tom Danielson, Levi Leipheimer, David Zabriski, Matt White, Lance Armstrong, etc.[14] just to name a few.) In fact, one might assert that calling Phentermine a performance enhancer is specious. Quite possibly, O'Neill was made an example of, because of the other problems surfacing in the peloton, ASADA was determined to take a hard line on any doping, even for a substance that was legal out of competition. Perhaps, more nefarious intent, they simply wanted to divert attention from a much more insidious problem that they could not get a handle on, and would shake the foundations of the sport. Regardless, O'Neill wears the badge of "Doper" like every other positive test. The substance itself long forgotten.

Personal life

O'Neill currently lives with his girlfriend in Gainesville, Georgia, Georgia, in the United States. In 2012, he founded Dingo Race Productions, LLC. Race productions include Mission Source Tour of the Southern Highlands, (formerly the Gainesville Gran Prix), and the Six Gap Criterium, among others. In 2016, Nathan joined Pioneer Cyclesports Division, as their technical representative in the Southeast. O'Neill has a daughter, born in 2006 to his former wife.

Major achievements

1st Australian National Time Trial Championships
1st Australian National Time Trial Championships
1st, Stage 5, Tour of Japan
1st, GP Industria Commercio e Artigianato Aglianese Internazionale
1st Australian National Time Trial Championships
1st, Stage 5, Tour of Sweden
1st, Stage 10, Tour de Langkawi
1st Australian National Time Trial Championships
3rd, Commonwealth Games Men's Time Trial
1st, Stage 1, Le Tour de Langkawi + overall leader for 7 days
1st, Stage 2, Sea Otter Classic
1st, Overall, Sea Otter Classic
1st, Prologue, Redlands Bicycle Classic
1st, Stage 2, Redlands Bicycle Classic
1st, Mountains classification, Redlands Bicycle Classic
1st, Canadian Open Road Championships
1st Australian National Time Trial Championships
1st Australian National Time Trial Championships
1st, Overall, Grand Prix de Beauce
1st, Stage 4, Le Tour de Langkawi
1st, Stage 4a (TT), Tour de Beauce
1st, Stage 3 (TT), Cascade Cycling Classic
1st Australian National Time Trial Championships
1st, Commonwealth Games Men's Time Trial
1st, Overall, Redlands Bicycle Classic
1st, Overall, Mt. Hood Cycling Classic
1st, Stage 4 (Bend Research Inc. - Arnold Market TT) Cascade Cycling Classic
1st Australian National Time Trial Championships
1st, Overall and Prologue ITT, Tour of the Gila
1st, Overall, Mt. Hood Cycling Classic

See also


  1. "Health Net releases O'Neill after positive test". 7 November 2007.
  2. "Profile".
  3. "Biography". Official website.
  4. AIS Athletes at the Olympics
  5. "2007 Australian Road Championships". 11–14 January 2007.
  6. 1 2 "O'Neill suspended following the positive test". Velo News. 6 November 2007.
  7. "Nathan O'Neill - Statement". 8 November 2007.
  8. "Professional cyclist Nathan O'Neill's sanction increased on appeal" (PDF). Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority. 2009-21-2009. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. "CAS letter to Cycling Australia dated June 4, 2009" (PDF).
  10. Inside the Blood Doping Investigation, Der Spiegel, 10 July 2006
  11. "Phonak Cycling Team to clarify consequences". Phonak Cycling Team.
  12. "CAS confirms Valverde's Italian ban". Cyclingnews.
  13. "Michael Rasmussen confesses to 12 years of doping". CyclingNews (Future Publishing Limited).
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