Millar acquitted; physiotherapist sentenced to prison

Updated: January 19, 2007, 10:21 AM ET
Associated Press

NANTERRE, France -- Former Cofidis cyclist David Millar, who served a two-year doping ban, was acquitted by a French court Friday of involvement in another drug case.

The Scottish rider, who now competes for the Saunier-Duval/Prodir team, was on trial with nine others in Nanterre, near Paris, on charges of "acquiring and possessing banned substances."

Prosecutor Jacques Hossaert had asked the court to acquit Millar, saying his cooperation helped in the fight against doping. Millar testified that intense pressure to perform led him to try the banned blood-boosting hormone EPO.

Millar was banned for two years and stripped of his 2003 world time-trial title after admitting using EPO once in 2001 and twice in 2003 -- including at the Tour de France.

The team's former physiotherapist, Boguslaw Madejak, was sentenced to one year in prison, nine months suspended. The prosecutor accused Madejak of inciting cyclists to use banned substances.

Seven other defendants, including current and former Cofidis riders, were given suspended jail sentences of three to six months. Italy's Massimiliano Lelli was acquitted.

The court also found Cofidis SA and Cofidis Competition guilty, but assigned no fines, saying the proceedings had "shown the pressure on the riders, who must absolutely obtain a result or risk seeing their contract not renewed and losing all hope in cycling."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press