Millar sacked by Cofidis
Tuesday, July 20, 2004 11.00pm
David Millar is likely to hear he has been sacked by Cofidis and could well lose his world time tria
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE According to his lawyer, British rider David Millar, who admitted two days before the start of the Tour de France that he had taken the red blood cell-boosting drug EPO, has been sacked by his French Cofidis squad. After a meeting with Richard Pallain, the judge in charge of the doping investigation in Nanterre, on Tuesday afternoon, Millar's lawyer, Paul-Albert Iweins, confirmed that the 27-year-old had been sacked. On the same day, L'Equipe, the French sports newspaper published, word for word, Millar's admission to Pallain on July 1 of EPO use. In the testimony, Millar tells how he first used the drug in 2001 with Cofidis team-mate Massimiliano Lelli in Italy. "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," Millar said. "It was Lelli who bought it, and who showed me how to inject it." Millar says that he felt guilty about using EPO, especially for having used the drug again in 2003 ahead of winning the time trial world championship in Hamilton, Canada. "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," Millar said. "I was a prisoner of the person I had become." Tuesday afternoon's meeting between Millar and Pallain was this time with the addition of Philippe Gaumont, the former Cofidis rider who made the initial claims of doping practices in the team. According to Iweins, "both riders stuck to their stories". Talking to the Guardian, Millar's sister and business manager Frances confirmed L'Equipe's transcript was genuine "word for word". A spokesman for the UCI said if it was shown that the statements printed in L'Equipe are indeed accurate, a process would start leading to the Briton losing the world time trial title he won in Hamilton last year. Australia's Michael Rogers would inherit the title. Millar was due to meet with his Cofidis team during the first week of the Tour, but did not receive the letter they sent out. Cofidis team manager Francis Van Londersele confirmed yesterday: "He is going to get a letter from us notifying him of disapproval of his actions and telling him that he will be released from his contract."
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