‘If we want to win the Olympic road race, we need Dave’: Cavendish wants Millar in Olympics
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Friday, December 30, 2011

‘If we want to win the Olympic road race, we need Dave’: Cavendish wants Millar in Olympics

by VeloNation Press at 6:47 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping, Olympics
 
World champion calls for Scottish rider to be at London 2012

Mark CavendishBritain’s top medal hope for the men’s road race at the London Olympic Games, Mark Cavendish, has made a strong appeal for David Millar to be allowed compete in the 2012 competition.

The call comes as the World Anti Doping Agency [WADA] prepares to take the British Olympic Association [BOA] to CAS over the latter’s lifetime ban from the Olympics for drugs cheats.

WADA wants rules standardised throughout the world, telling the BOA that if it wants a lifetime Games ban, it must be proposed in the normal fashion and debated for global implementation.

“If we want to win the Olympic road race, we need Dave,” Cavendish told the BBC. “If you want to win and make history, you need a group of people around you.

“As with Copenhagen, there couldn't have been anybody else I would rather have been with than those seven guys and everybody else that worked so hard to get us there. It's the same with London. There are certain people I would want to share that with and Dave's one of them.”

Millar was handed a two year drug ban in 2004 after he was arrested in connection with doping on the Cofidis team and admitted to using EPO. He returned in 2006, riding the Tour de France with Saunier Duval and then winning a time trial in the Vuelta a España.

Since his ban, he has been outspoken about doping and is a member of WADA’s athlete’s committee.

“He's redeemed himself,” said Cavendish. “Dave cheated but he has realised what he did and learned a lot. He's a massive anti-doping campaigner. He's a good friend of mine and an incredible bike rider - incredible.”

Millar helped Cavendish get into shape for the world championships, inviting the Manxman to Girona after he dropped out of the Vuelta a España and worked with him there. The mini-training camp was a crucial part of Cavendish’s preparation for the worlds.

WADA/BOA standoff could clear way:

The BOA’s ban was recently threatened when CAS ruled against the International Olympic Committee’s Rule 45. This blocked athletes found guilty of doping from competing in the next Olympic Games after their ban ends, and had been applied to the 2008 Olympic 400 metre gold medallist LaShawn Merritt.

The CAS ruling related directly to his case, but said the principle was unfair and should not be applied.

Following that decision, WADA contacted the BOA and said that the same ruling could apply in that case, asking it to drop its lifetime ban.

The BOA refused to do so, and so WADA is now expected to seek a CAS judgement forcing it to change.

David Millar Millar has stopped short of calling for a place in the Games, but welcomes the WADA action. “In all honesty, I'd written off the Olympics a long time ago,” he told the BBC in November.

“I though it would be something that would more likely happen in the future. Maybe even post-Olympics, so to have WADA react so quickly is quite good.”

He suggested that those who proved they were serious about racing clean should be given another opportunity.

“There's a place for lifetime bans in sport,” he stated. “But I'd like to think that what I've been through is a shining example of the worth of second chances.”

The issue is certain to provoke ongoing debate. While Millar has made efforts to show he has changed, many others who have returned from lengthy bans have been far more limited in their condemnation of doping.

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