Cycling: Police investigate Millar over Cofidis affair

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The Independent Online

On the afternoon that most of the 2004 Tour de France contenders were making declarations of intent, Britain's most successful stage race rider, David Millar, was placed under formal investigation by the French police for "possession of poisonous substances".

On the afternoon that most of the 2004 Tour de France contenders were making declarations of intent, Britain's most successful stage race rider, David Millar, was placed under formal investigation by the French police for "possession of poisonous substances".

The Scot's lawyer confirmed during a hearing here yesterday that Millar had admitted to using illegal drugs, making it a virtual certainty that he will be expelled from his team and will face up to a two-year ban.

Millar, 27, is the ninth person to be placed under formal investigation - the step prior to charges being placed in French law - in the Cofidis team affair.

Millar's Tour training ended last week when he was questioned for 48 hours after two syringes of Eprex, the commercial version of the performance- enhancing drug EPO, were allegedly found by police in his house. On Monday, Cofidis announced that it would not be selecting Millar for the Tour, while the British Cycling Federation yesterday suspended him pending an investigation.

The Basque Euskaltel-Euskadi rider Gorka Gonzalez was declared unfit to ride yesterday after routine blood tests carried out on the Tour peloton. His hematocrit level was below the 50 per cent level set by cycling's governing body, the UCI, but anomalies were detected in his level of reticulocytes - young blood cells - something which can be an indirect indication of doping.

Alasdair Fotheringham writes for Cycling Weekly

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