Millar in his own words
Tuesday, July 20, 2004 11.00pm
David Millar's testimony to a French doping investigation has been leaked to the French press. It ma
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE French sports daily L'Equipe on Tuesday published British rider David Millar's admissions of EPO use to Richard Pallain - the judge in charge of the Nanterre-based doping investigation - on July 1 this year, and the testimony makes for grim reading. Despite following his dream and becoming a professional cyclist, Millar tells how he became unsatisfied and unhappy with his life as a pro, through injury and heartache, leading eventually to his decision to take EPO for the first time in August 2001. Millar on his early years: "In 1999, I was very tired, I didn't really feel like cycling, and I started partying that summer. At one party, I fell down the stairs and broke a bone in my heel, and stopped cycling for four months, until the beginning of 2000. I had real difficulty starting to train again, and I wasn't very happy with my professional life." Millar on having won the 2000 Tour de France prologue at his first attempt: "After winning the prologue, it was like a dream for three weeks. At the finish, I partied in Paris. But when I returned home to Biarritz, I found myself all alone in my apartment. I asked myself whether all the sacrifices were worth it to then find myself alone after the race." Millar on his 2001 season: "At the Dauphin Libr, I had to abandon the race, and that night was on the telephone to my sister in tears, thinking the 2001 Tour was ruined for me. Despite that, I went to the Tour, where everyone expected me to do well in the prologue having won it the previous year. My parents were there, my friends, my fiance. I gave it everything. I was scraping the barriers and I ended up crashing, injuring myself badly. I suffered for 10 days physically, and especially psychologically. I finally quit after 10 days." Millar on becoming friends with team-mate Massimiliano Lelli: "It was during this Tour de France , when I was feeling bad, that I found myself sharing a room one evening with Massimiliano Lelli. He told me that we would prepare ourselves well for the Tour of Spain. He told me we could take a trip to Italy, and I understood what he meant." Millar on that Italian trip with Lelli: "I stayed with Lelli for two weeks in August 2001, and we went and bought EPO from a number of different suppliers. I would stay in the car and give Lelli around 400 euros for a syringe of EPO. It was Lelli who bought it, and who showed me how to inject it." Millar on having used EPO for the 2001 Tour of Spain: "I was a cheat. I'd crossed the line, and I didn't feel good about it. I'd doped myself because my job was to finish high up on the classification." Millar on meeting Euskaltel doctor Jesus Losa in 2002: "At the start of the year, I didn't feel like touching the bike. At the end of the 2001 season, I'd left for two months in Australia with my girlfriend. It was a bad time, and I ended up destroying everything I had built with her. I was looking for a doctor, and I contacted Losa in February 2002. He didn't prescribe me EPO, and I was pleased to win a stage at the Tour de France, but I finished my season very badly. It was me who asked Losa to give me EPO, and I had two courses of it in May and August 2003. I put my life and my career in his hands, and paid him 12,000 euros a year. At that time, my wage was 250,000 euros. This year I would have been earning 800,000 euros." Millar on winning the 2003 world time trial championship: "I took EPO while I was in Manchester [prior to the Worlds]. The two syringes that were found at my home are those that I'd injected myself with in Manchester. I kept them at home to remind myself that I had become world champion by doping myself. I had dreamed of becoming world champion. I did it, but I cheated. You dope because you become a prisoner of yourself, of the glory and the money. I'm not proud that I doped myself. I wasn't happy. I was a prisoner of the person I had become."
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