If he's that scared of needles, how has he managed to cope with giving blood samples in the past? I suppose he might argue that because this phobia stresses him anyway, he was already stressed enough because he was allegedly ill, although if he's prone to exaggeration then perhaps he genuinely was feeling unwell but hammed it up a bit.
If he was in hospital he wouldn't have the option of refusing to give a blood sample, so why should the doping authorities be any different? He knew the rules yet chose not to bide by them and was quite rightly penalised for it. I think he should consider himself lucky that his ban was reduced in the first place, although it'll be interesting to hear what the outcome of his appeal is.
His excuse seems weak to me. If he was well enough to go to doping control to give a urine sample, then he was well enough to give a blood sample imo. If it had been me, no matter how ill I felt I'd have given a blood sample because the consequences of not giving one would be far worse.
It'll be interesting to see how his appeal goes. I wouldn't be surprised if his ban gets reduced to 12 months, but don't see him getting any further reductions. It would send the totally wrong message to players that they can get away with missing a test.