Posted by Editoress on 09/22/04
Olympic time-trial champion Hamilton failed blood transfusion test, his team says
September 21, 2004
MADRID, Spain - Olympic time-trial cycling champion Tyler Hamilton of the United States has apparently failed tests designed to detect performance-enhancing blood transfusions, his Phonak team said Tuesday.
One test was carried out at the Athens Olympics on Aug. 19 and another at the Vuelta cycling tour on Sept 18. Both of these so-called 'A' tests showed "presence of a mixed red blood cell population, indication of a homologous blood transfusion," Phonak spokesman Georges Luedinger said. In this case homologous means blood from another person.
Luedinger quoted a statement that cycling's governing body UCI sent to Phonak.
A 'B' test designed to confirm the preliminary results was planned for Tuesday, Luedinger said, adding that Hamilton denies undergoing a transfusion - a way of boosting an athlete's performance by increasing his or her red blood cell count.
"Tyler told us he did nothing," Luedinger said.
Asked about Hamilton's reported positive test at the Olympics, IOC medical director Patrick Schamasch said, "For the moment, I can't confirm or deny anything."
IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said, "As with all doping procedures, while a process is underway, we can't go into details."
If found guilty of a doping violation at the Olympics, Hamilton would be stripped of his gold medal. Three athletes had gold medals revoked for doping during the Aug. 13-29 games.
Hamilton pulled out of the Spanish Vuelta after the 12th stage on Sept. 16 - five days after winning the time trial - citing stomach problems.
Luedinger said Phonak planned to hold a press conference in Zurich later Tuesday.
Hamilton rode with Lance Armstrong's U.S. Postal Service team for six years, leaving in 2001 to become the leader of Team CSC, a Danish club that won the team competition at last year's Tour de France. He was fourth in the 2003 Tour de France, winning his first-ever stage along the way.
Hamilton joined the Swiss-based Phonak team last year. He pulled out of this year's Tour de France after two weeks because of a back injury.
There was no official comment to the test controversy on Hamilton's Web site.
NOTE: B test results are to be conducted "Tuesday" (which Tuesday was not disclosed) and have not yet been announced.
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