Millar implicated in doping investigation
PARIS -- Tour de France organizers have barred world time trial champion David Millar from this year's race after he allegedly told police that he has used doping products.
Jean-Marie Leblanc, the Tour's director general, told The Associated Press that Millar was out. "We don't want to pollute the Tour," he said Friday.
Millar is the highest-profile casualty of a decision announced Friday by Tour organizers that all riders investigated or implicated in doping probes will be barred from the showcase race that starts July 3.
The British cyclist, the defending world time trial champion on road, spent two days in police custody this week. A well-placed judicial official said he was questioned about allegations that he distributed doping products during last year's race, where Texan Lance Armstrong won for a fifth straight time.
Millar admitted during the police questioning that he has taken the endurance drug EPO, which works by boosting oxygen-carrying red blood cells, during his career, said a police official who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
Leblanc, speaking by telephone with the AP, said Millar would not be able to race this Tour, "as with all riders who are involved either in judicial or police affairs."
"We want a peloton that is as transparent as possible," the Tour director said, using the French word for a pack of riders.
"We don't want to pollute the Tour. We want the race to run serenely and that it is not contested from the start," Leblanc added.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press