The British Olympic Association (BOA) has removed the last barrier to cyclist David Millar and sprinter Dwain Chambers being selected to represent Great Britain at this summer’s Olympic Games in London by formally rescinding its lifetime Olympic ban on athletes convicted of a doping offence.
The ban was last month ruled invalid and unenforceable by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which held that it represented an additional sanction outside the provisions of the World Anti-Doping Code, to which the BOA is a signatory.
In a statement, the BOA, which insisted the ban was a selection policy and not a punishment, said: "Following a discussion period, during which members of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) reiterated their support for the decision taken by the BOA board to defend the Eligibility By-law before CAS, it was agreed that the by-law would immediately be rescinded in order for the BOA to comply with the CAS ruling.
"The BOA will now notify Wada of this decision in writing,” it added.
"Additionally, the NOC encouraged the BOA to remain actively and constructively involved in the ongoing consultation process to amend the World Anti-Doping Code. NOC members expressed a desire to see the Code amended in a manner that would provide stronger penalties for serious doping offences, and for the autonomy of National Olympic Committees in determining selection criteria for their Olympic Teams to not be undermined or subjugated as a result of the Code."
World champion Mark Cavendish has repeatedly said that he would like Millar to be one of the four cyclists who line up alongside him in the Olympic road race on 28 July, the Scot having acted as road captain when Cavendish won the rainbow jersey in Copenhagen last September.
Millar, who if he took part in the Olympics would also be likely to figure in the individual time trial alongside Bradley Wiggins – the pair have each claimed a world championship silver medal at that discipline in the past two years, Millar at Geelong in 2010 and Wiggins at Copenhagen last year – has not yet confirmed whether he will make himself available for selection.
Earlier this year, he revealed to BBC Radio Scotland that even if he were free to compete in the Olympics, he would be reluctant to go to London “as a black sheep,” adding, “I don't know if it would be a very joyful experience for me."
Following the anouncement of the CAS decision last month, British Cycling said it would make no comment on Millar's potential selection for the Great Britain team for the Olympics.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.