Tuesday, August 3, 2004
Updated: August 4, 2:46 PM ET
French police detain Lelli for role in team doping
LILLE, France -- French police detained Italian cyclist Massimiliano Lelli for questioning Tuesday over the doping affair surrounding his Cofidis team, judicial sources said.
The 36-year-old Lelli, who has been cycling for Cofidis
since 1998, was arrested at his team's headquarters in northern
France after a meeting with his employer.
"It was not a meeting prior to a sacking but a call for
explanations after the accusations made against him," Cofidis spokesman
Alexandre Michaud said. "He's been
accused and we wish to listen to him."
Lelli's former teammates Philippe Gaumont and David Millar
have accused the Italian of being involved in the Cofidis doping
affair. Millar has told investigators that Lelli supplied him
with forbidden substances, L'Equipe daily reported last week.
Cycling time trial world champion Millar was given a two-year suspension from the sport after being placed under
official judicial investigation in July. The British cyclist has
admitted taking the banned drug erythropoietin (EPO), an
endurance booster, in 2001 and 2003. He has been kicked off his team.
Three Cofidis riders have already been charged, including
1992 Olympic bronze medallist Gaumont, who was sacked by Cofidis
after admitting taking and dealing in drugs.
The affair is the biggest judicial investigation into
cycling since the Festina scandal that erupted during the 1998
Tour de France.