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Olympic cyclist fails drug tests

From the New York Times:

With Ban Pending, Hamilton Loses Ride

Published: December 1, 2004

Tyler Hamilton, who won an Olympic gold medal for the United States in Athens, was fired last Thursday by Phonak, his Swiss cycling team, two months after testing positive for illegal blood transfusions. His termination was announced yesterday at a news conference in Switzerland during which Phonak said it had been denied a racing license for next year.

Hamilton tested positive for blood doping at the Olympics in August and at the Vuelta a Espaņa in September. He could face a two-year suspension from the sport.

Illegal blood transfusions? How sad. The pressures to win must be very strong.

Hamilton is perhaps the best American cyclist apart from Lance Armstrong. In addition to winning the Olympics, Hamilton inspired everyone in last year's Tour de France when he rode day after day with a broken collarbone and managed to finish fourth overall.

Hamilton insists that he is not guilty of doping: "I am looking forward to the judicial process in my case and having the opportunity to prove my innocence. It is my sincere hope that once I am exonerated I can rejoin the professional peloton and the sport I love."

Hamilton's team has challenged the integrity of the new blood test which indicted the Olympic time trial champion. Details are here. Anyone with even a passing interest in minor blood group antigens should have a look.