Olympics: David Millar set to be named in GB cycling team
Controversial cyclist David Millar is today set to be confirmed in the Great Britain team for the London Olympics.
The 35-year-old will take his place in Britain’s five-man road cycling team at London 2012 after becoming eligible in May when the British Olympic Association were forced to drop their bylaw banning those with prior doping offences.
Millar served a two-year suspension in 2004 after admitting to taking the blood-boosting agent EPO, but has since become a leading campaigner for drug-free sport.
The Scot was named in a provisional selection of eight riders but is now poised to be confirmed in the final five, assigned to support world champion Mark Cavendish’s bid for Olympic gold in the 250-kilometre road race on 28 July, the opening day of the Games.
Bradley Wiggins, who is targeting Tour de France glory in Paris on 22 July, is also set to be named in the squad.
“There’s no surprises,” said British Cycling coach Rod Ellingworth. “We’ve got a really strong group and it’s been really hard to make a selection. We’ve got a lot of good riders.
“We’ve even had to leave some out of that eight who I think could do a really good job.”
Riding in the Tour de France, which finishes in Paris six days prior to the Olympic road race, appears to be a pre-requisite for selection.
That means Cavendish, Millar and Wiggins are set to be joined by Chris Froome and Steve Cummings in the five-man squad. Froome is riding in support of Wiggins at the Tour and Cummings for BMC Racing, seeking to help Cadel Evans successfully defend the yellow jersey.
Should any of those riders suffer injury, illness or loss of form, Ian Stannard or Ben Swift could be drafted in, with Jeremy Hunt the eighth rider named on the original long list.
Stannard claimed a solo victory in the British Championships road race on 24 June, while Swift could be a leadout man, or even a back-up option, for Cavendish.
Ellingworth added: “We’ve still got a bit of work to do. It’s hard, because the guys have a lot of racing to do yet, to actually make that final call.”
Should Millar make it to the start line, it would be his first Olympic appearance since Sydney in 2000 and his experience will be key in Cavendish’s bid for gold.
The tactics for the Olympic road race are still to be revealed, but it will be a challenging race for Britain to control and deliver Cavendish, a winner of 21 Tour stages, to victory on The Mall.
Wiggins’ Olympic priority will be the 1 August time-trial at Hampton Court and Millar or Froome will likely be Britain’s second rider in the race against the clock.
Millar won Commonwealth Games time-trial gold for Scotland in Delhi in 2010.
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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