Olympic gold medallist Hamilton banned for 8 years for doping

June 17th, 2009 - 5:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Colorado Springs, June 17 (DPA) The 2004 Olympic gold medallist Tyler Hamilton has accepted an eight-year ban from cycling after he admitted to taking a banned substance.
The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) said Tuesday Hamilton, 38, has accepted the suspension for a second anti-doping rules violation. The suspension is effectively a lifetime ban, the agency said.

Hamilton had announced his retirement in April after admitting he had failed an out-of-competition test in February for the steroid dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).

USADA said a urine sample collected out-of-competition from Hamilton, Feb 9 resulted in “an adverse analytical finding for testosterone or its precursors.

“In the sport of cycling, eight years ineligibility for a 38-year old athlete is effectively a lifetime ban, and an assurance that he is penalized for what would have been the remainder of his competitive cycling career,” USADA chief executive Travis T. Tygart said.

Hamilton said in April he was aware that an over-the-counter medication he used to treat depression contained the banned substance. He said he used the medication after his mother was diagnosed with cancer.

“What I did was wrong and yes, I did know it (DHEA) was on the list of banned substances. I also knew that USADA could have shown up any day and at any time to test me.

“But, I was going through a very rough moment and I was desperate. I heard about it and I thought I would try it out as an act of desperation,” said Hamilton.

Hamilton was caught using illegal blood transfusions at the 2004 Vuelta of Spain, a month after his Olympic gold, and banned for two years.

He also tested positive for the same offence at the Olympics but was allowed to keep his individual time-trial gold because the b-sample could not be analysed due to inappropriate storage.

Hamilton was also linked with doping in the Spanish probe centring on doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

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