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Top-notch cyclist barred from Tour

Associated Press
Published June 26, 2004

PARIS - World champion cyclist David Millar of Britain was barred from the Tour de France after he was implicated in a doping investigation.

Unidentified police sources said investigators found syringes in Millar's home and he confessed to using doping products, the Associated Press reported.

Millar is the most prominent rider affected by Friday's decision, in which race organizers said all cyclists investigated or implicated in doping probes will be banned from the three-week event that starts next week.

"We don't want to pollute the Tour," Tour director general Jean-Marie Leblanc said.

Asked if Millar denies the accusations, his manager and sister, Fran Millar, said: "This is obviously a legal investigation, and the French lawyers have to speak to David."

Millar, the defending world time-trial champion, spent two days in police custody this week. A police official told the Associated Press that Millar admitted he has taken the endurance-enhancing drug EPO.

Another police official told AP that two used syringes labeled Eprex 4000 - a form of EPO - were found in a search of Millar's home in Biarritz, France. The syringes are being analyzed, he said.

Leblanc said Millar would not race this Tour, as will be the case with "all riders who are involved either in judicial or police affairs."

Lance Armstrong tries to win his sixth straight title when the showcase race starts July 3.

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