Cycling: UCI reject Armstrong cover-up claim
The International Cycling Union has denied claims made by a former team-mate of Lance Armstrong that the seven-time Tour de France winner failed a drugs test but had the results covered up.
Tyler Hamilton, speaking to the CBS programme '60 Minutes', described an alleged systematic programme of doping in the US Postal team in which he claimed Armstrong played a leading role.
Among his claims, Hamilton also implicated the UCI by alleging that Armstrong tested positive for EPO 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".
But in a statement released yesterday afternoon, the UCI condemned Hamilton and dismissed his claims.
"The UCI categorically rejects the allegations made by Mr Tyler Hamilton, who claims that Lance Armstrong tested positive for EPO during the 2001 Tour of Switzerland and had the results covered up after one of his representatives approached the Lausanne laboratory responsible for analysing test results from the event," the statement said.
"The UCI is deeply shocked by the seriousness of the allegations, and wishes to state once again that it has never altered or hidden the results of a positive test. The allegations of Tyler Hamilton are completely unfounded."
"The UCI can only confirm that Lance Armstrong has never been notified of a positive test result by any anti-doping laboratory.
"The UCI will continue to defend its honour and credibility by all means available, and reserves the right to take any measures it deems necessary against Mr Hamilton or any other person."
During his interview with '60 Minutes', portions of which were aired last week, Hamilton said 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 that another ex-US Postal rider, George Hincapie, has told a federal investigation both he and Armstrong used banned substances, although Hincapie had already moved to distance himself from the reports before the weekend.
Armstrong hit back when Hamilton's claims were first aired and released a statement reading: "We have already responded in great detail at www.facts4lance.com.
"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."