LOS ANGELES, California, May 20, 2011 (AFP) – Tyler Hamilton, who has
accused seven-time former Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong of doping, on
Friday handed back his 2004 Olympic Games gold medal, the US anti-doping
agency (USADA) said.
“As stated by the IOC, I can confirm that Tyler Hamilton has given his gold
medal from the 2004 Athens Olympic Games to USADA and that we will continue to
work with the IOC and the USOC as appropriate concerning the final
implications of our overall investigation,” said USADA president Travis Tygart.
Hamilton’s decision to return his time-trial gold medal could prompt the
IOC to hand the gold to Russia’s Russe Viatcheslav Ekimov, the silver
medallist, who was a teammate of Hamilton and Armstrong at US Postal.
The 40-year-old Hamilton admitted on Thursday that he had doped during his
career after years of denying the allegations.
At the 2004 Olympics, he was accused of doping by blood transfusion but he
was cleared due to a faulty testing procedure.
A month later, he failed a drugs test at the Tour of Spain and was banned
for two years.
In 2009, Hamilton was banned for eight years after testing positive for an
anabolic steroid inside a treatment being used to treat depression.
On Thursday, Hamilton claimed he saw Armstrong use EPO the year he won the
Tour de France for the first time in 1999.
Hamilton told the CBS 60 Minutes programme that he witnessed Armstrong
using EPO (erythropoietin), which is designed to increase endurance by
boosting production of red blood cells.
“I saw it in his refrigerator,” Hamilton told the American news programme
in the interview to air Sunday. “I saw him inject it more than one time.”
Cancer survivor Armstrong won the Tour de France for the first time in 1999
and captured every race from 1999-2005.
The programme decided to release excerpts from the show Thursday.
Armstrong has vehemently denied using performance-enhancing drugs during
his controversial cycling career.
He reiterated that stance Thursday using his social networking page Twitter
to get his message across.
“20+ year career. 500 drug controls worldwide, in and out of competition.
Never a failed test. I rest my case,” he said.