The Tyler Hamilton Affair

News & Results

09/23/2004| 0 comments
by Gerald Churchill
Tyler Hamilton at the press conference. Photo copyright Roadcycling.com.
Tyler Hamilton at the press conference. Photo copyright Roadcycling.com.

The Tyler Hamilton Affair

On Monday evening, the UCI gave shocking news to Phonak team officials: Tyler Hamilton, the team captain, the Olympic time trial champion, and the winner of Stage 8 of the Vuelta a Espana, had failed two blood tests, one at the Olympics and one at the Vuelta.

On Monday evening, the UCI gave shocking news to Phonak team officials: Tyler Hamilton, the team captain, the Olympic time trial champion, and the winner of Stage 8 of the Vuelta a Espana, had failed two blood tests, one at the Olympics and one at the Vuelta. His blood had showed evidence of a homologous blood transfusion. In short, he had blood doped using another person?s blood. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>

 

When the news leaked, Phonak and Hamilton called a press conference for Tuesday. <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
Hamilton
declared himself ?100 percent innocent.? He added, ?It must be some kind of manipulation.?

 

Initially, Phonak CEO Andy Rihs said that the team believed
Hamilton
and would not fire him because he did not believe that the test is reliable. Rihs said, ?We don?t fire innocent people, and if the B test is positive as well we?ll stand behind
Tyler
. We believe
Tyler
independent of these results. We don?t believe the test is reliable. It?s more of a probability test. We have scientific papers that question the reliability of these tests. We think this test [the one done at the Vuelta] or the IOC test at least, were done sloppily. The IOC test is suspect because [the results] came out one month after it was done.?

 

For its part, the IOC has stated that it exercised care in delaying reporting the results. Arne Ljungqvist, the head of the IOC?s medical commission, said that
Hamilton
?s results were tagged ?suspicious? when they came back from the laboratory. They were then reviewed by a panel of experts, who determined that the results were positive.

 

Phonak has suspended
Hamilton
and has stated that he will be dismissed if he cannot prove himself innocent. Much depends on the results of his B samples, which are currently being analyzed.

 

If the results stand,
Hamilton
will lose much. The UCI will suspend him for two years, he will be stripped of his Olympic title and his Vuelta stage win, and he will lose his endorsements. In addition,
Hamilton
?s reputation as one of the most accessible, sincere, conscientious riders in the peloton will be tarnished. That could have severe consequences for the Tyler Hamilton Foundation, which
Hamilton
established to support amateur cycling and the fight against multiple sclerosis.

 

For more information on Tyler Hamilton?s troubles and on blood doping, check out the other articles at Roadcycling.com.

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