Millar becomes first former drugs cheat picked by Team GB since scrapping of BOA bylaw
Wednesday, 13 June 2012
June 13 - David Millar, who served a two-year suspension from 2004 to 2006 after admitting to taking banned blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO), has been named in the Great Britain cycling squad for London 2012, it was announced today.
He has been included alongside a strong team that also includes Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish.
The 35-year-old was handed a two-year suspension for admitting use of banned blood booster EPO, but is now a fervent anti-doping campaigner and was last month officially cleared to compete at London 2012 after the British Olympic Association's bylaw banning drug cheats for life was controversially lifted.
Five riders from a list of Millar, Cavendish, Steve Cummings, Chris Froome, Jeremy Hunt, Ian Stannard, Ben Swift and Bradley Wiggins will be chosen to compete in the road race at London 2012.
But Millar (pictured below left) played an integral role in Cavendish's World Championships win last September and is almost certain to fill one of the spots when the final team is named for the road race on July 28, which represents one of the earliest opportunities for Britain to celebrate its first gold medal of the Games.
It will be the first time that Millar has competed in the Olympics since Sydney 12 years ago.
Miller had originally said he would not make himself available for selection when his lifetime Olympic selection ban was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
But he then had a change of heart, saying it would have been "selfish and stupid" not to make himself available as a possible team-mate for gold medal contender Cavendish in the road race.
The women's shortlist has also been revealed, with four to be chosen from Lizzie Armitstead, Nicole Cooke, Katie Colclough, Sharon Laws, Lucy Martin and Emma Pooley.
Cooke is the defending champion, following her memorable victory in Beijing four years ago, but Armitstead is the favourite to be nominatd as the team leader.
British Cycling has to submit its final decision by June 18.
The squad selected is the strongest that Britain can choose from, including Sir Chris, who will become the most successful Olympian in British history if he wins another gold medal in London.
He has four gold medals and a silver from his three appearances in the Olympics and will surpass rower Sir Steve Redgrave, who has five gold and one bronze, if he retains one of the three titles he claimed in Beijing.
But it has not yet been confirmed whether he will defend all three titles, with his place looking assured in the team sprint and keirin but Jason Kenny pushing hard for the lone spot in the individual sprint.
Members of the track, BMX and mountain biking teams have also been confirmed by Team GB.
"We have selected what I believe to be an excellent team going into an Olympic Games and we have a good mix of experienced Olympians alongside young riders who are making their Olympic debut," said team leader Dave Brailsford (pictured above with Sir Chris).
"We still have some decisions to make, for example, the road teams will be refined in due course and who will ride what event on the track will be determined nearer the time.
"Overall, though, the GB Cycling Team has had a strong season across all the disciplines and we are ready to step up again at the Olympics."
Britain won a total of 14 medals in Beijing, eight of them gold, but controversial changes to the track cycling programme for London 2012 means it is unlikely it will surpass that total in London.
But Sir Chris is still relishing the opportunity to compete before a home crowd.
"The standard in the British Cycling team is so high and the selection process is always going to be tough, but there's a great atmosphere in the team and we just need to keep putting in the hours in training and make sure we're in the best shape possible for race day," he said.
"This is my fourth Olympics, but my first home Games, and it's going to be an amazing experience and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all of us."
The full team is:
Sprint: Philip Hindes, Sir Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny, Victoria Pendleton, Jessica Varnish.
Endurance: Steven Burke, Ed Clancy, Peter Kennaugh, Andy Tennant, Geraint Thomas, Wendy Houvenaghel, Dani King, Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell.
Road: Men (five to be selected): Mark Cavendish, Steven Cummings, Chris Froome, Jeremy Hunt, David Millar, Ian Stannard, Ben Swift, Bradley Wiggins; Women (four to be selected): Lizzie Armitstead, Nicole Cooke, Katie Colclough, Sharon Laws, Lucy Martin, Emma Pooley.
BMX: Liam Phillips, Shanaze Reade.
Mountain bike: Liam Killeen, Annie Last.
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March 2012: "I'll leave London 2012 to the good guys" says Millar
March 2012: Unlucky break for Millar puts London 2012 dream in jeopardy
January 2012: Millar should never be able to compete at the Olympics again, says teammate Wiggins
December 2011: Drugs cheat Millar must be allowed to compete at London 2012 says Cavendish
December 2011: Drugs cheats will be treated equally if we are forced to pick them promises BOA chairman