/ Cycling

Armstrong: Doping allegations grow

Updated: Tuesday, 24 May 2011 16:25

Armstrong - Said on Twitter last week that he never failed a test
Armstrong - Said on Twitter last week that he never failed a test

Lance Armstrong's former team-mate, Tyler Hamilton, has described an alleged systematic programme of doping in the US Postal team in which the seven-time Tour de France winner played a leading role.

Hamilton was speaking to the CBS programme '60 Minutes', portions of which had been aired on Thursday and Friday where he described how he had seen Armstrong take the blood-booster EPO and testosterone as well as having a blood transfusion.

Hamilton, a team-mate of Armstrong's between 1998 and 2001, also admitted he himself had taken EPO 'many, many times' and alleged drug use was rife throughout the sport.

The CBS programme is also claiming another ex-US Postal rider George Hincapie has told a federal investigation both he and Armstrong used banned substances although he had already moved to distance himself from the reports before the weekend.
Former Olympic champion Hamilton, who retired in 2009 after receiving an eight-year ban for a second doping offence, has also testified to a grand jury behind closed doors about doping at US Postal.

Of Armstrong, Hamilton said: 'He obviously was the biggest rider in the team and he helped to call the shots.

'He doped himself like everybody else, but he was just being part of the culture of the sport.

'He was the leader of the team and he expected for going in, for example the '99 Tour, (that) we were going to do everything possible to help Lance win. We had one objective, that's it.'

The 40-year-old said tour leaders, including doctors and managers, advocated the use of performance-enhancing drugs and supervised the programme with the drugs handed out in white lunch bags.

Hamilton also claims riders were driven to hotels where they gave blood which could be transfused back into their bodies in the future.

He also says the use of performance-enhancing drugs was going on within the team before Armstrong joined in 1998 and claimed his fellow American was schooled in doping by Italian trainer Michele Ferrari, banned for life by the Italian Cycling Federation.

Hamilton said: 'He taught Lance how to train properly. Obviously in cycling, there's more than just training and resting and eating correctly.

'There's one more element - the doping part. And he gave him a doping schedule.'

Hamilton also implicated the sport's governing body, the UCI, after claiming Armstrong tested positive at the 2001 Tour de Suisse.

He said Armstrong made a deal with the UCI, and they 'figured out a way for it to go away.'

Armstrong hit back when Hamilton's claims were first aired by CBS and his spokesman Mark Fabiani released a statement which read: 'Throughout this entire process CBS has demonstrated a serious lack of journalistic fairness and has elevated sensationalism over responsibility.

'CBS chose to rely on dubious sources while completely ignoring Lance's nearly 500 clean tests and the hundreds of former team-mates and competitors who would have spoken about his work ethic and talent.'

There was also support for Hincapie, always a close associate of Armstrong.

'In its unpardonable zeal to smear Lance Armstrong, CBS has also attacked the reputation of George Hincapie.

'We are confident that the statements attributed to Hincapie are inaccurate and that the reports of his testimony are unreliable.'