Millar has '03 title taken, fined $1,600

Updated: August 4, 2004, 3:18 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

LONDON -- British cyclist David Millar, who recently admitted taking the banned drug EPO, has been suspended from the sport for two years, the British Cycling Federation said Wednesday.

"The panel decided that the facts of the case constituted offenses of intentional doping," a Federation statement said.

Millar, 27, also had his 2003 world time trial title stripped and was fined $1,600.

Millar's Cofidis teammate Massimiliano Lelli was arrested by French police Tuesday amid doping accusations about the team. The 36-year-old Italian cyclist was detained for questioning at his team's headquarters in northern France.

Lelli's detention brings the total number of arrests among Cofidis team members to three. 1992 Olympic bronze medallist Philippe Gaumont was sacked by Cofidis after admitting to both taking and dealing drugs.

Millar was questioned by French police before the Tour de France as part of the investigation into doping in his Cofidis team. The police raided Millar's home in Biarritz, France, in late June and found two used syringes.

After two days of questioning he admitted taking endurance booster EPO (erythropoietin) three times -- once in 2001 and twice in 2003.

Millar was sacked by Cofidis and has since said he hoped to get no more than a one-year ban so he could help prevent other riders from taking drugs. He had already pulled out of the British Olympic team.

After being fired from his cycling team, Millar, along with Gaumont, accused Lelli of being involved in the Cofidis doping affair. Millar has told investigators that Lelli supplied him with illicit substances, L'Equipe daily reported last week.

The affair is the biggest judicial investigation into cycling since the Festina scandal that erupted during the 1998 Tour de France.

Millar can appeal his suspension to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.

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