Written by: Justin Davis
PARIS, May 22, 2011 – World cycling chiefs have vehemently denied
covering up a positive drugs test by retired cycling champion Lance Armstrong,
following claims by disgraced former cyclist Tyler Hamilton.
Seven-time Tour de France champion Armstrong is currently weathering the
storm of a US federal investigation into claims that his former team US Postal
used public money to fund a comprehensive doping programme.
Federal investigators have traveled to Europe and beyond in a bid to
gather evidence for their investigation, calling on a number of former
teammates and employees of Armstrong’s squad to give testimony.
Hamilton, a former teammate of Armstrong’s at US Postal, told CBS
television’s “60 Minutes” last weekend details of his testimony before a grand
jury, which is investigating the US cycling icon, that Armstrong was part of a
sophisticated doping program.
The American also appeared to corroborate previous claims by another
disgraced cyclist, Floyd Landis, when he accused the International Cycling
Union (UCI) of covering up a positive test by Armstrong at the 2001 Tour of
The UCI last week launched legal proceedings to counter Landis’s claims.
And a statement from the UCI on Monday said Armstrong has never been the
subject of a cover-up.
“The International Cycling Union categorically rejects the allegations made
by Mr Tyler Hamilton, who claims that Lance Armstrong tested positive for EPO
(erythropoietin) during the 2001 Tour of Switzerland and had the results
covered up after one of his representatives approached the Lausanne laboratory
responsible for analyzing test results from the event.
“The UCI is deeply shocked by the seriousness of the allegations made on
the ’60 Minutes’ programme aired by US television network CBS, and by the
extent of the media interest in the case, and wishes to state once again that
it has never altered or hidden the results of a positive test.”
Calling Hamilton’s claims “completely unfounded”, the UCI added: “The UCI
can only confirm that Lance Armstrong has never been notified of a positive
test result by any anti-doping laboratory.”
In Hamilton’s television interview the American claims he saw Armstrong
take the banned blood booster EPO, and also that he saw the champion having a
performance-enhancing blood transfusion.
Armstrong’s lawyer Mark Fabiani hit back: Lance Armstrong is the most
tested athlete in the history of sports: He has passed nearly 500 tests over
20 years of competition.”
However Hamilton countered Armstrong’s claim of having never failed a drug
test by saying that Armstrong told him in a relaxed, “off the cuff” manner
that he had failed a test at the 2001 Tour of Switzerland.
“People took care of it,” Hamilton said.
“I don’t know all the exact details but Lance’s people and people from the
other side, people I believe from the governing body of the sport, figured out
a way for it to go away. I was told this (by) Lance.”
The UCI added in the statement: “Once again, the UCI wishes to state that
no manipulation or cover-up has occurred in respect of its anti-doping
“The UCI will continue to defend its honor and credibility by all means
available, and reserves the right to take any m