This is beginning to get as repetitive as the sport of cycling itself.
Tyler Hamilton, a former team-mate of Lance Armstrong, is the latest to claim that the legendary seven-time Tour de France winner, as with Hamilton himself, took the performance-enhancing drug EPO. “I saw [EPO] in his refrigerator… I saw him inject it more than one time like we all did,” Hamilton told CBS’s 60 Minutes. “Like I did, many, many times.” The 40-year-old Hamilton served a two-year ban for blood-doping between 2005-2007.
For his part, Armstrong has yet again refuted the allegations, taking to his Twitter account to simply state, “Never a failed test. I rest my case.” EPO is short for Erythropoietin, which is a hormone naturally produced by the kidneys. Injected under the skin to stimulate red blood cell production, the impact is to increase endurance, which would clearly be crucial when it comes to having an advantage in cycling.
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Armstrong’s spokesman Mark Fabiani seemed to suggest in a statement that there might be more going on than meets the eye. “Hamilton is actively seeking to make money by writing a book, and now he has completely changed the story he has always told before so that he could get himself on 60 Minutes and increase his chances with publishers, Fabiani said. He went on to note that, “Greed and a hunger for publicity cannot change the facts: Lance Armstrong is the most tested athlete in the history of sports. He has passed nearly 500 tests over 20 years of competition.”
A gold medalist from the 2004 Athens Olympics, Hamilton is by no means the first among Armstrong’s ex-team-mates and associates to accuse him of cheating. Last year, Floyd Landis (who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France due to testing positive) alleged that Armstrong used banned substances throughout his storied career.
Back to Hamilton, and his doping admission could result in his losing his 2004 Olympic gold medal, which would surely be a puzzling risk to take if he didn’t feel there was merit in his contentious claims. Armstrong, as the world knows, vehemently denies all allegations. (via BBC)