Cycling - Millar free to ride at London 2012 in support of Cavendish

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Millar free to ride at London 2012 after BOA lifetime ban on drugs cheats is overturned

David Millar is free to ride at London 2012 after the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled against the British Olympic Association’s by-law banning drug cheats from the Games for life.

David Millar is free to ride at London 2012 after WADA rejected the BOA's appeal

Millar has been banned from competing at the Olympic Games since admitting to EPO use in 2004, with BOA by-law 25 previously preventing athletes suspended for more than six months for a doping offence from being eligible for selection to represent Great Britain.

“The by-law is a doping sanction and is therefore not in compliance with the Wada Code,” read a CAS statement.

BOA chairman Lord Moynihan said: “The BOA are clearly very disappointed in the outcome.

“We must now move the discussion forward. We will seek far-reaching reform, calling for tougher and more realistic sanctions; a minimum of four years including one Games.”

Millar now emerges as a leading contender to ride for Mark Cavendish in the Olympic road race on Saturday July 28, the first full day of the Games, and world champion Cavendish has previously been open in his support for Millar.

“I’d love David Millar to be on the start line with me,” said Cavendish. “He captained our team to the World Championship last year in Copenhagen and I’d love him to be there in the Olympic Games.

“He’s a loyal team-mate and very good physically, and he’ll make a massive difference to our team.

“There’s no radios allowed in the Olympic Games, it’s harder when you’re in a bike race than watching it on TV. You have to be able to read a race and know what’s going on, that’s where experience comes in.”

Two riders from the five-man road race squad must also ride the time trial on August 1, with Bradley Wiggins sure of one spot. While Alex Dowsett is emerging as a strong rider against the clock, former world time trial silver medallist Millar’s experience on the road may tip the balance in his favour.

Places on the start line will be fiercely contested, with Ben Swift, a rider who can climb and sprint, also expected to be named in the squad having switch focus from the track to the road for the Games. The make-up of the squad will be decided by British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford, who insists the decision will be made on performance criteria alone.

“My job is to pick the fastest team, the best team that can win that race in London. It is not my job to decide if somebody is eligible or not,” said Brailsford last week.

“I will get shown a list of people who are eligible, then I will look at performance and decide who is most likely to get the result and I will pick them.”

Millar, however, is yet to announce whether he will make himself available for selection. The Scot, a fierce anti-doping campaigner since returning from his ban and a member of WADA’s athletes commission, has come under intense scrutiny since the BOA by-law was contested and said he would be the “black sheep” if he were to compete at the Games.

“I am quite happy looking forward to 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games,” said in a BBC Scotland interview in March. “That will be a much more joyful experience than me going to the Olympics as a black sheep.

“Even if it was to all go through now, and I was to go, I don’t know if it would be a very joyful experience for me.”

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