Another of Lance Armstrong's former team-mates, the 2004 Olympic gold medallist Tyler Hamilton, has accused the seven-times Tour de France winner of using performance-enhancing drugs.
Hamilton's claims come less than a year after another former US Postal rider Floyd Landis – who tested positive for testosterone and was stripped of victory in the 2006 Tour – also confessed to using drugs, and said that Armstrong had done the same.
On the CBS program 60 Minutes, Hamilton said: "[Armstrong] took what we all took, the majority of the peloton. There was EPO ... testosterone ... a blood transfusion. I saw [EPO] in his refrigerator ... I saw him inject it more than one time like we all did, like I did many, many times."
Like Landis, Hamilton was one of Armstrong's closer allies within the US Postal team, regularly riding with the American in the Tour de France from 1999 onwards as one of his high mountains domestiques before he branched out into his own at CSC and then Phonak in 2002.
For many years the Massachusetts-born climber was a resident in the Spanish city of Gerona, with an apartment in the same block where Armstrong lived. Hamilton tested positive for homologous blood doping shortly after the 2004 Olympics and again for a banned steroid in 2008. He is currently banned from the sport for eight years.
Hamilton initially vigorously denied the charges of blood transfusion, and a fault in the storage system enabled him to retain his 2004 Olympic time-trial title. The IOC have said they will now look into stripping Hamilton of his gold medal.
However, in an open letter published yesterday, Hamilton now says that having confessed in a six-hour declaration under oath during an ongoing federal investigation into the US Postal Service team, he had no choice but to tell the world that he had doped. "Until that moment I walked into the courtroom, I hadn't told a soul. My testimony went on for six hours."
Armstrong has once again vigorously denied all the claims, and his spokesman said in a statement: "Tyler Hamilton just duped the CBS Evening News [and] 60 Minutes.
"But greed and a hunger for publicity cannot change the facts: Lance Armstrong is the most tested athlete in the history of sports: He has passed nearly 500 tests over 20 years of competition."
In the 60 Minutes programme, scheduled to run tomorrow, Hamilton is understood to corroborate one of Landis's key claims, that Armstrong tested positive in the 2001 Tour de Suisse but the result was covered up.Reuse content