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If findings are made official, Brit cyclist loses gold

7/23/2004

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.