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By Agence France Presse
The British cycling federation on Thursday banned David Millar from cycling for two years and stripped him of his world time trial for taking the banned performance enhancer EPO.
The 27-year-old Scot’s use of the blood booster erythropoietin was uncovered when French police raided his Biarritz home in June as part of their drug investigation into his team, Cofidis. Two empty capsules of Eprex, a commonly used form of EPO, were found in his flat. He later confessed to taking the prohibited substance in 2001 and 2003, an admission that led to his sacking by Cofidis.
After the British cycling federation’s disciplinary panel heard Millar’s case, the governing body said: “The panel concluded that David Millar was guilty of offenses under the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Anti Doping Examination Regulations Article 134 – Declaration or Admissions of Doping. 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.”
In addition to the ban, and loss of his gold medal won during the world’s in Canada last year, Millar was also disqualified from last year’s Dauphiné Libéré stage race and the 2001 Tour of Spain, and was fined 2000 Swiss francs (1300 euros).
He has the right to contest the ruling with the Court of Arbitration in Sport.
Last week ,Millar told the Guardian newspaper that he had opted to cheat after a poor 2001 season. He said he had kept the capsules of Eprex to remind him of how his win in Canada had been achieved.
“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,” Millar said. “I didn’t want to forget about it.”
Money was an issue, too. Millar told the newspaper that he returned to EPO in 2003 partly to boost his earnings following a disappointing season.
“From making a lot of money I went to the basic that I had in 2002,” he said. “I felt it was wrong. My salary dropped by 300 percent. It was like: ‘I’ll make them pay me a shedload of money and run this team.'”
However, Millar insisted that he had to compete at the Olympic Games next month – for which he was one of the favorites in the time trial – without using drugs.
“I wanted to win the Olympics clean, for myself. I wasn’t good with myself. I had changed as a person.”