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By John-Paul Moloney from The Canberra Times

Canberra cyclist Michael Milton's Paralympic Games hopes suffered another blow yesterday with news he has missed out on a wildcard place in Beijing.

The Australian Paralympic Committeetold Milton he had been unsuccessful in his application for the one wildcard berth allocated for an Australian male cyclist.

The news followed Milton's disappointing result at a Paralympic trial event in Adelaide on the weekend when he failed to significantly improve his best time for the 3km time trial, leaving him more than 10sec adrift of a qualifying time.

But Milton said he wasn't giving up hope and remained optimistic he could be picked in the eight-strong men's team for Beijing even without an official qualifying team.

It is understood the wildcard has been offered to a 2004 gold medallist, opening up an extra place in the team because that cyclist would be an almost certain selection anyway.

''It would have been nice to have a wildcard and some certainty. But although I'm not in, there's now a slightly improved chance of qualifyingand time for head down bum up and really about trying to run some good times between now and the end of May.''

Milton's preparation for what would be his first summer Paralympics after a highly successful winter sports career suffered a massive blow last year when he was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer. He underwent radiation and chemotherapy before surgery last September.

Still a relative cycling novice, Milton believed he had the potential to make very significant improvement by the time of the Games in early September.

''I need to make some big improvements, but I'd like to think that's more possible for me than someone who's been training for several years.''

Milton said in the wake of last weekend's disappointing trials, he and coach John Armstrong had changed his training program in the lead-up to the next selection trial in Sydney in late April.

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