Millar 'confesses' to doping

25th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 25 (AFP) - World time trial champion David Millar of Britain admitted during 48 hours of police custody to using the banned blood booster erythropoietin (EPO), l'Equipe sports daily claimed Friday.

PARIS, June 25 (AFP) - World time trial champion David Millar of Britain admitted during 48 hours of police custody to using the banned blood booster erythropoietin (EPO), l'Equipe sports daily claimed Friday.

The daily said empty phials of Eprex (EPO) were found when police searched his home after detaining the Scottish rider in Biarritz.

The newspaper, without citing any sources, said the 27-year-old, due to ride in the Tour de France next week, would be charged with illegal possession of toxic products.

Cofidis said in a statement they were waiting to interview Millar.

"If it is established that this latter (Millar) admitted to doping then Cofidis competition will apply its policy of zero tolerance and take the appropriate measures," the statement said.

French sports minister Jean-Francois Lamour called on the Tour de France organisers to ban any rider charged with a doping offence.

"The cheats, those charged with doping offences, should not be allowed in the Tour de France," he told l'Equipe.

Millar's Cofidis team has been under investigation since January when seven riders and officials were charged with doping offences.

L'Equipe broke the story on the Cofidis doping scandal and also obtained a police statement of Philippe Gaumont who admitted using EPO and accused the rest of the squad of taking banned substances.

Millar, who has never failed a drugs test, had denied the accusations.

Cofidis chief executive Francois Migraine said: "This could not have come at a worse time. We will rid ourselves of anyone found guilty when that time comes."

But he said they would wait for the conclusion of the investigation.

Millar, world time trial champion in the road event, was scheduled to line up in the Tour de France time-trial prologue at Liege in Belgium on July 3.

Millar was second to Australian Bradley McGee in last year's Tour prologue and lost to the Australian in last week's Route du Sud race.

Cofidis suspended all competition for their road team from April 9 to May 5, depriving Millar of making his World Cup track debut in Manchester which he had hoped to use as vital training for the Athens Olympics.

Gaumont, Robert Sassone, Mederic Clain, Marek Rutkiewicz and Daniel Majewski were charged with doping offences and they have all left or been sacked by the team.

Cofidis' former physio, Boguslaw Madejak, and an ex-manager of their third division team, Oleg Kozlitine, have also been sacked after the Paris judge investigating the case pressed charges.

The Scot is aiming for Olympic glory this summer in both the road events, the road race and the time trial - in which he is also the reigning world champion.

He was also set to go for gold in the individual pursuit track event, although since he missed the Manchester leg of the track World Cup that possibility remains uncertain.

A spokesman for the British Olympic Association on Thursday reacted to Millar's predicament by saying his inclusion in their team was not currently in danger.

"We're keeping a watching brief of the situation," said the spokesman.

"Selected athletes fall under the auspices of the sport's governing body, in this case British Cycling.

"David Millar remains a selected athlete."

Millar's sister Frances, who is also his manager, said they had been expecting him to be taken in for questioning.

"ICt's standard procedure," she said. "We knew it would happen, but Davids done nothing wrong. These are serious allegations, but we didn't think they would wait for four months before talking to him, with just a week to go before the Tour starts."

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

 

 

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