If findings are made official, Brit cyclist loses gold

Updated: July 23, 2004, 5:54 PM ET
Associated Press

GENEVA -- Britain's David Millar will be stripped of his world time-trial gold medal if his admission to using drugs before last year's championships is made official, the International Cycling Union said Friday.

Millar told a French judge earlier this month he used EPO before worlds in Hamilton, Canada, but the International Cycling Union has yet to receive an official statement.

"We cannot go just by what is written in the newspapers," UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani said. "But if it is made official from him or we get a document from the judge, then he will be stripped of his gold medal, for sure."

According to UCI rules, a cyclist only has to declare he has taken drugs, without any ensuing investigation, to be stripped of any pertaining medal.

Police raided Millar's home in Biarritz in late June and said they found two used syringes labeled Eprex 4000, a form of EPO, which works by boosting oxygen-carrying red blood cells.

During the court hearing, Millar said he used EPO on three separate occasions, once in 2001 and twice in 2003.

He was then placed under investigation as part of a probe into the alleged use of banned substances by the British rider's Cofidis team, his lawyer said.

Judge Richard Pallain placed Millar under investigation -- a step short of being charged -- for "acquiring and holding poisonous substances." But he was allowed to remain free.

However, Millar was barred from this year's Tour de France. The British Cycling Federation has suspended him, and Millar voluntarily pulled out of the British Olympic team.

He had been hoping to compete in at least three Olympic events: the time trial, road race and team pursuit.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press