David Millar will learn in April whether he is eligible to ride at London 2012 after a date was set for a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing into the British Olympic Association’s lifetime ban for drugs cheats.
BOA by-law 25 prevents athletes banned for more than six months for a doping offence from being eligible for selection to represent Great Britain at an Olympic Games – but in November the World Anti-Doping Agency ruled the ban violates its code as it amounts to a second sanction.
The BOA challenged the hearing but the CAS hearing on March 12 will determine Millar’s fate, with a final verdict expected in April.
Millar was handed a two-year ban in 2004 for using EPO and, alongside track-and-field sprinter Dwain Chambers, is Team GB’s most high-profile banned athlete.
The 35-year-old Millar played a vital role in Mark Cavendish’s World Championship victory in October and the Manx Missile believes the Garmin-Cervelo rider, who is now an athlete’s representative for WADA, has ‘redeemed’ himself.
“Dave cheated but he has realised what he did and learned a lot,” said Cavendish last month. “He’s a massive anti-doping campaigner. He’s redeemed himself and I would love him to be at London 2012.
“He’s a good friend of mine and an incredible bike rider – incredible.”
Great Britain qualified the maximum five riders for the Olympic road race and last week Dave Brailsford dropped the biggest hint yet that, if eligible, Millar could be named in Team GB’s squad, with his ability as a rouleur crucial once the race has left Box Hill and Team GB begin the chase to help set-up Cavendish for a sprint finish.
“If you took Bradley [Wiggins], Steve Cummings, David Millar and Chris Froome, then you couldn’t want for four better guys in that scenario,” said Brailsford.