Lance Armstrong’s team-‘mate’ claims he took performance-enhancing drugs

A team-mate of Lance Armstrong has claimed the seven-time Tour de France winner took performance-enhancing drugs in front of him.

Tyler Hamilton, a team-mate of Armstrong’s at US Postal between 1998 and 2001, admitted he had taken the blood booster EPO ‘many, many times’ and alleged he saw Armstrong take the drug more than once.

Hamilton, 40, is not the first of Armstrong’s team-mates to claim the Texan cheated but he is the first to say he witnessed it first-hand. Throughout his career, Armstrong has consistently denied taking drugs.

‘I saw (EPO) in his refrigerator,’ Hamilton told the American broadcaster CBS. ‘I saw him inject it more than one time like we all did. Like I did, many, many times.’

Hamilton went further, alleging the use of performance-enhancing drugs had been widespread in the sport.

‘Armstrong took what we all took,’ he added. ‘The majority of the peloton. There was EPO, testosterone, a blood transfusion.’

Hamilton testified behind closed doors before a federal grand jury last July after being subpoenaed as part of an investigation into doping at US Postal. In 2009, he retired after receiving an eight-year ban for a second doping offence.

The claims were denied by Armstrong’s spokesman and the cyclist – the sport’s most high-profile figure by some distance – used Twitter to dismiss the claims.
He tweeted, ’20+ year career. 500 drug controls worldwide, in and out of competition. Never a failed test. I rest my case.’

Hamilton wrote, ‘I used performance-enhancing drugs. I lied about it, over and over. Worst of all, I hurt people I care about.’

He adde, ‘The question most people ask is, why now? There are two reasons.

‘The first has to do with the federal investigation into cycling. Last summer, I received a subpoena to testify before a grand jury. Until that moment I walked into the courtroom, I hadn’t told a soul.

‘My testimony went on for six hours. For me, it was like the Hoover Dam breaking. I opened up; I told the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…

‘The second reason has to do with the sport I love. In order to truly reform, cycling needs to change.’

Later, in a reference to Viatcheslav Ekimov, the Russian cyclist who finished second behind Hamilton in the time-trial at the 2004 Olympics, Armstrong tweeted: ‘Congratulations to @eki-ekimov on his 3rd Olympic Gold Medal!!’

Ekimov replied, ‘thanks Lanse!see if this guy has a bolls to return the medal honestly.’

Hamilton’s confession comes almost exactly a year after another ex-US Postal rider Floyd Landis has claimed organised doping was part of the ethos of the American team. Landis told ESPN: ‘We just doubled the number of people telling the real story… I think (Hamilton) probably feels liberated.’

by Terence Johns


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