Tour de France News for June 26, 2004
Edited by Chris Henry
Cofidis to meet with Millar
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
The Cofidis team announced Friday that it planned to meet with its rider
David Millar, said to have confessed to the use of EPO during nearly 48
hours of interrogation by French police in Biarritz, where he lives most
of the year. Millar's questioning is a continuation of the ongoing doping
investigation led by judge Richard Pallain, who first brought the case
to light with the arrest of ex-Cofidis rider Marek Rutkiewicz and ex-soigneur
Boguslaw Madejak in January. Since then eight people have been placed
under investigation in connection with what is fundamentally a question
Millar's implication is ostensibly the result of statements made by former
teammate Philippe Gaumont, himself a subject of investigation, fired by
Cofidis following his own revelations of drug use during his career. Gaumont
pointed the finger at Millar, Cédric Vasseur, and former Cofidis
team doctor Jean-Jacques Menuet, who resigned his post during the team's
hiatus from competition in April.
Gaumont is said to have told investigators that Millar instructed Dr.
Menuet to give him and Vasseur remnants of a banned substance he says
Millar used before the final time trial in the 2003 Tour de France. Both
Menuet and Millar (who has never tested positive for a banned substance)
have denied Gaumont's accusations. Gaumont's implication was that Millar's
status as team leader would have been sufficiently influential on Dr.
"Ten days before the Tour, this clearly is a problem," said Cofidis president
François Migraine. "We'll dispose of anybody found guilty, but
as long as the investigation is ongoing, new information can always come
Meanwhile, the team issued a statement of its position prior to meeting
face to face with Millar.
"Following information revealed in the press concerning the possible
admission of doping by David Millar during his questioning, the Cofidis
team will call the rider so he can explain himself on these declarations,"
the statement read."
"Cofidis Competition, which maintains its firm position on the subject,
awaits information pertaining to the content of David Millar's interrogations.
If it is revealed that he admitted to doping, Cofidis Competition will
apply its principle of zero tolerance and impose immediately the appropriate
Could keep rainbow jersey
Although any admission of drug use by Millar would be seen as a positive
doping offense per UCI regulations, the Scot could keep his world time
trial championship title on the condition that he did not use banned substances
during a certain period prior to that event. Millar tested negative after
his World's win in Hamilton last October.
Under investigation? No Tour for you
Millar and Vasseur out
The Société du Tour de France issued a statement Friday,
in the wake of David Millar's implication in the ongoing drug investigation
surrounding the Cofidis team, indicating that no rider who is subject
of a legal procedure or police investigation will be permitted to start
the Tour de France. Even if Millar's Cofidis team has yet to make its
own determination about Millar's status, the Tour policy rules out his
participation in this year's Tour. Millar's teammate Cédric Vasseur
also remains under investigation by judge Richard Pallain, though he has
been allowed to return to competition by the team.
Similar investigations ongoing in Italy also implicate a number of Italian
riders, though in the case of riders such as Fabio Sacchi (Fassa Bortolo),
Eddy Mazzoleni (Saeco), Alessio Galletti and Mario Scirea (Domina Vacanze),
they have either been suspended by their team or at a minimum kept off
the Tour roster. Saeco's Danilo Di Luca, who also finds himself under
investigation in Italy, was scheduled to ride the Tour.
"We were in contact with the directors of the teams concerned to tell
them that we didn't wish to have riders implicated in doping investigations
[at the Tour]," said Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc. "I should
add that some of them had already taken steps in this direction."
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)