Armstrong: Hamilton 'a confessed liar'
Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has made furious attacks on former team-mates, the broadcaster CBS and a federal investigator after the latest drug claims against him.
The Texan launched a website www.facts4lance.com after CBS began trailing excerpts from a documentary about Armstrong which included claims from Olympic gold medallist Tyler Hamilton that he had seen his one-time US Postal team-mate inject EPO.
Hamilton, who has testified to a grand jury behind closed doors about doping at US Postal, is described as “a confessed liar in search of a book deal”.
Other former team-mates, Frankie Andreu and Floyd Landis, are also disparaged.
Jeff Novitzky, leader of the federal investigation into US Postal, is criticised under a section headed ’Wasted Taxpayer ’ following his work on the BALCO case which led to convictions for Olympic gold-winner Marion Jones and baseball star Barry Bonds among others.
CBS, whose 60 Minutes programme will broadcast the full interview with Hamilton on Sunday evening, are accused of a “serious beach” of journalistic ethics by not providing Armstrong with the names of riders who had made allegations against him.
The website was launched within an hour of the first transmission of the Hamilton excerpt.
Hamilton, a team-mate of Armstrong’s at US Postal between 1998 and 2001, admitted he had taken the blood booster EPO “many, many times” and said he saw Armstrong take the drug more than once.
“I saw (EPO) in his refrigerator,” the 40-year-old from Massachusetts said.
“I saw him inject it more than one time like we all did. Like I did, many, many times.”
Hamilton went further, alleging the use of performance-enhancing drugs had been widespread in the sport.
“(Armstrong) took what we all took, the majority of the peloton,” he added.
“There was EPO, testosterone, a blood transfusion.”
In 2009, Hamilton retired after receiving an eight-year ban for a second doping offence.
His claims were denied by Armstrong’s lawyer Mark Fabiani and the cyclist – the sport’s most high-profile figure by some distance – also used Twitter to dismiss Hamilton.
He tweeted: “20+ year career. 500 drug controls worldwide, in and out of competition. Never a failed test. I rest my case.”
Fabiani said in a statement: “Tyler Hamilton is a confessed liar in search of a book deal – and he managed to dupe 60 Minutes.”
Hamilton’s confession comes almost exactly a year after Landis claimed organised doping was part of the ethos of the American team.
Landis told ESPN: “We just doubled the number of people telling the real story.”
At the same time the trailer appeared, ESPN reported Hamilton had sent a letter to close friends and family confessing to using drugs.
Hamilton wrote: “The question most people ask is, why now? There are two reasons.
“The first has to do with the federal investigation into cycling.
“Last summer, I received a subpoena to testify before a grand jury. Until that moment I walked into the courtroom, I hadn’t told a soul.
“My testimony went on for six hours.
“For me, it was like the Hoover Dam breaking.
“I opened up; I told the whole truth, and nothing but the truth... The second reason has to do with the sport I love.
“In order to truly reform, cycling needs to change.”
Armstrong’s website claims Hamilton cut a deal with “government investigators” to keep his gold medal if he implicated Armstrong.
The decision to strip Hamilton of his medal from the 2004 Olympics would be made by the International Olympic Committee, not the US government.
Later, in a reference to Viatcheslav Ekimov, the Russian cyclist who finished second behind Hamilton in the time-trial at the 2004 Olympics, Armstrong tweeted: “Congratulations toeki_ekimov on his 3rd Olympic Gold Medal!!”
Ekimov replied: “Thanks Lanse!see if this guy has a bolls to return the medal honestly (sic).”
Armstrong won the Tour de France a record seven times between 1999 and 2005. He retired after his last Tour win but returned in 2009 before retiring again earlier this year.