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Millar acquitted; physiotherapist sentenced to prison

NANTERRE, France -- Former Cofidis cyclist David Millar, who
served a two-year doping ban, was acquitted by a French court Friday of involvement in another drug case.

The Scottish rider, who now competes for the
Saunier-Duval/Prodir team, was on trial with nine others in
Nanterre, near Paris, on charges of "acquiring and possessing
banned substances."

Prosecutor Jacques Hossaert had asked the court to acquit
Millar, saying his cooperation helped in the fight against doping.
Millar testified that intense pressure to perform led him to try
the banned blood-boosting hormone EPO.

Millar was banned for two years and stripped of his 2003 world
time-trial title after admitting using EPO once in 2001 and twice
in 2003 -- including at the Tour de France.

The team's former physiotherapist, Boguslaw Madejak, was
sentenced to one year in prison, nine months suspended. The
prosecutor accused Madejak of inciting cyclists to use banned
substances.

Seven other defendants, including current and former Cofidis
riders, were given suspended jail sentences of three to six months.
Italy's Massimiliano Lelli was acquitted.

The court also found Cofidis SA and Cofidis Competition guilty,
but assigned no fines, saying the proceedings had "shown the
pressure on the riders, who must absolutely obtain a result or risk
seeing their contract not renewed and losing all hope in cycling."