Cycling: Tyler Hamilton urges Lance Armstrong to 'come clean and tell the truth'


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Tyler Hamilton hopes Lance Armstrong will “come clean and tell the truth” - for himself and for the sport of cycling.

Hamilton was one of 11 of Armstrong's former team-mates have testified against him to the United States Anti-Doping Agency, who yesterday released the reasons behind their decision to strip him of his seven Tour de France titles and hand him a lifetime ban.

According to USADA chief executive Travis T Tygart, there was "conclusive and undeniable proof" of a team-run doping conspiracy at Armstrong's US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team.

Armstrong decided earlier this year not to fight the USADA charges, but has always denied any involvement with doping.

Hamilton believes Armstrong should now rethink.

"We all have told the truth for different reasons," Hamilton told BBC Radio 5 Live. "Maybe someday Lance Armstrong will be comfortable enough to come clean and tell the truth.

"The evidence is out there. Lance and I were team-mates for four years. I saw it. We doped together.

"Hopefully he'll just come out with the truth. I think it'll be better for the sport and actually better for him.

"I think he'll feel a lot better when he comes to terms with the truth."

Hamilton won a time trial gold at the 2004 Olympics, but later was twice handed doping bans.

In 2011 he admitted to using banned substances in competition and was formally stripped of his Olympic medal the following year.

Hamilton said he and his team-mates were give the tools to keep one step ahead of the anti-doping testers.

"Looking back I wish the tests were better back then," he said. "We had sophisticated doctors, working for the riders. Our doctors were always one if not two steps ahead of the drug testing. They knew how to beat them.

"We just followed the simple rules they gave us and if we followed those simple rules you basically 99 if not 100 times out of 100 would test negative."

British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford described the USADA report as "jaw dropping".

He told Five Live: "It is shocking, it's jaw dropping and it is very unpleasant, it's not very palatable and anybody who says it is would be lying, wouldn't they?"

The reasoned decision document said: "USADA has found proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Lance Armstrong engaged in serial cheating through the use, administration and trafficking of performance-enhancing drugs and methods and that Armstrong participated in running in the US Postal Service Team as a doping conspiracy."

USADA claimed Armstrong, 41, supplied banned drugs to other riders on the team, pressured them into participating in the doping programme and threatened to get them removed from the team if they refused.

For Brailsford, also general manager of Team Sky, such action appeared to show how far the sport had fallen morally and he understands why people would question outstanding performances.

He said: "You can see how the sport got lost in itself and got more and more extreme because it seemed to be systematic and everybody seemed to be doing it at the time - it completely and utterly lost its way and I think it lost its moral compass.

"Everybody has recalibrated and several teams like ourselves are hell-bent on doing it the right way and doing it clean."