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Millar, poised to lose world title, opens up

David Millar, who is set to lose his world time-trial title due to doping, admitted in an interview published Tuesday that he took banned performance enhancer EPO, saying he opted to cheat after a poor season. The 27-year-old Scot, Britain's leading cyclist, told the Manchester Guardian that after struggling badly in the 2001 Tour de France he was introduced to drugs by a senior member of his Cofidis team. He was later taught how to inject EPO himself, and to make sure he was not caught. "You don't stop and think, or it's game over. When the line is crossed, it's crossed. It stops being a

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‘When the line is crossed, it’s crossed. It stops being a sport’

Millar arrives with his lawyer Paul-Albert Iwens at Nanterre's courthouse on July 20.

Millar arrives with his lawyer Paul-Albert Iwens at Nanterre’s courthouse on July 20.

Photo: AFP – JACQUES DEMARTHON

David Millar, who is set to lose his world time-trial title due to doping, admitted in an interview published Tuesday that he took banned performance enhancer EPO, saying he opted to cheat after a poor season.

 Millar (C), arrives with his lawyer Paul-Albert Iwens at Nanterre's courthouse on July 20

Millar (C), arrives with his lawyer Paul-Albert Iwens at Nanterre’s courthouse on July 20

Photo: AFP

The 27-year-old Scot, Britain’s leading cyclist, told the Manchester Guardian that after struggling badly in the 2001 Tour de France he was introduced to drugs by a senior member of his Cofidis team.

He was later taught how to inject EPO himself, and to make sure he was not caught.

“You don’t stop and think, or it’s game over. When the line is crossed, it’s crossed. It stops being a sport,” he said.

Last week, Cofidis sacked Millar after newspaper reports that he had confessed in an interview with French police to using blood booster erythropoietin, better known as EPO, in 2001 and 2003.

The admission – and now Millar’s comments to the Guardian – means he is almost certain to lose the world championship gold medal he won in Canada last October.

Millar’s doping was revealed after police found two empty capsules of Eprex, a commonly used form of EPO, in his flat in Biarritz, southwestern France.

Millar told the Guardian that he had deliberately kept the capsules following the world championship as a reminder of how the achievement had been attained.

“I used them, I forgot about them, left them in my bag, went to Las Vegas, was unpacking and found them,” he said. “I thought ‘What the fuck has my life come to?’ and put them on the bookshelf.

“It’s my most private place, a place no one touches. It had scarred me. I had won the world championship by a huge margin and didn’t need to have used drugs.

“I had got to a point where I had wanted to win so much that to guarantee my victory I did something I didn’t need to do. I didn’t want to forget about it.”

Millar conceded that his decision to keep the capsules was, in effect, a subconscious attempt to get caught.

“I believe in the power of the subconscious. It was my get-out. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t enjoying it. I didn’t like the point I’d got to. It was an extreme way of doing it, but it’s typical of my style of life,” he said.

The cyclist said he had got through virtually all a 48-hour detention session before police placed the capsules in front of him.

“I could have carried on. I have a good lawyer in Paris and might have got away with it. But I thought ‘Fuck this, I can’t live with this,'” he said. “I could have kept fighting, fighting, fighting, but fundamentally, I’m not a good liar.”

After racing in the 2002 Tour de France clean, Millar had returned to EPO partly to boost his earnings following a disappointing season, he told the newspaper. “From making a lot of money I went to the basic that I had in 2002. I felt it was wrong. My salary dropped by 300 percent. It was like: ‘I’ll make them pay me a shed-load of money and run this team,'” he said.

However Millar insisted that his intention had been to compete at the Olympic Games next month – where he would have been considered among the favorites in the time trial – without using drugs.

“I wanted to win the Olympics clean, for myself,” he said. “I wasn’t good with myself. I had changed as a person.”

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