Millar hit with two-year banClose
David Millar's career hangs in the balance after British Cycling handed him a two-year ban after hePICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE British Cycling announced on Wednesday afternoon that David Millar will be suspended for two years following his admission last month that he had used the banned blood-booster EPO in 2001 and 2003. The ban will start from tomorrow, effectively preventing the three-time Tour de France stage winner from taking part in the next two editions of the Tour. Millar had indicated before today's hearing that if he received a lengthy ban he would seriously consider his future in cycling. Sources close to the rider indicate this is the case and that there is little prospect of him appealing against the length of the ban. A statement from British Cycling said: "The commission judged that it was an intentional act of doping." After being arrested by the French police in June while dining with friends in Biarritz, Millar admitted he had taken EPO before the 2001 Vuelta and also before the 2003 Tour. Although initial reports have suggested that Millar has been stripped of the world time trial title he won in Canada last year, UCI president Hein Verbruggen told procycling that this is not yet the case. Although he refused to make any direct comment on Millar's case, Verbruggen did say that the Briton had a right of appeal and his title could only be removed by the UCI once it had received details of the ban from the British federation. Consequently, although Millar remains the nominal world champion, it seems almost certain that the UCI's disciplinary commission will disqualify him and declare runner-up Michael Rogers the champion when it next meets. The full statement from British Cycling reads as follows: "British Cycling announces that a decision has been reached in relation to the case involving the recent admissions of doping by David Millar. The case was heard by an independent Disciplinary Panel, as laid down in British Cycling Federation Bye-Laws. The Panel considered information from a number of sources, including a statement by David Millar and the answers given by him to the questions posed by the Panel. The Panel concluded that David Millar was guilty of offences under the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Anti Doping Examination Regulations Article 134 - Declaration or Admissions of Doping. The Panel decided that the facts of the case constituted offences of intentional doping under Article 130.2 of the UCI Anti Doping Examination Regulations. It also took into account the provisions of UCI Articles 124 and 125, which allow it to consider various factors surrounding the offences when deciding upon an appropriate penalty. The Panel imposed the following sanctions: * A two-year suspension from competition from 5 August 2004 until 4 August 2006 * A fine of 2,000 Swiss francs. * Disqualification from the 2003 World Elite Time Trial Championship * Disqualification from the 2003 Dauphine Libr Stage Race * Disqualification from the 2001 Tour of Spain. David Millar has no right of appeal to British Cycling, but may appeal to the Court for Arbitration in Sport."