'Doping like oxygen to Lance'

LANCE ARMSTRONG’S former team mate Tyler Hamilton has lifted the lid on the disgraced cyclist’s long history of doping.

IN HIS damning account, Hamilton claims that his team mate put together “secret agent” plans so members of his team could take blood-booster EPO without being detected by Tour officials.

Hamilton describes Armstrong as deeply paranoid about doping, describing ‘Lance’s Golden Rule’: “Whatever you do, those f***ers are doing more”.

Hamilton is one of 10 former team mates of Armstrong who have testified about doping in cycling under oath to a federal Grand Jury in the US.

Armstrong continues to deny that he used performance enhancing drugs describing the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) allegations as “heinous”.

US Postal Service cyclist Hamilton, who rode with the now-disgraced cyclist between 1998 and 2001, has claimed dishonest techniques were rife throughout the team.

“To Lance's way of thinking, doping is a fact of life, like oxygen or gravity,” Hamilton said of Armstrong, who last week dropped his challenge to doping allegations, losing his seven Tour de France titles.

One technique was blood doping, where a rider would extract his blood in a bag and then re-inject it to boost the red blood cell count, Hamilton claims in his book 'The Secret Race', which was released this morning in the US.

Hamilton added that, at the 1998 Tour, Armstrong's gardener, Phillipe, followed the riders on a motorbike carrying vials of EPO.

The following year, Hamilton claims, he was at Armstrong's villa in Nice when he asked Armstrong if he had any EPO. Armstrong pointed to the refrigerator, where Hamilton found the drug.