Tyler Hamilton recently confirmed his comeback to the sport of professional cycling by signing with emerging Italian team, Tinkoff Credit Systems. The American, controversial holder of the 2004 Olympic time trial gold medal, will surely help the Russian-backed team enter big races like the Giro d'Italia. Gregor Brown of Cyclingnews interviewed Hamilton one day after the team announced his signing.
"I will meet with the Tinkoff Credit Systems team management in the next couple of weeks and we will discuss our schedule for the upcoming season. At the moment it is too early to say what my first race back will be," noted Hamilton, happy to be returning the professional level.
Now 35 years-old, Hamilton was handed a two-year ban from his profession in the fall of 2004 due to testing positive for blood transfusion in the Vuelta a España. Since that day he has steadfastly refused any type of wrongdoing, even recently when documents were allegedly found with his name in connection to Operación Puerto.
Controversy behind him, Hamilton has accepted a one-year contract with the team backed by Russian millionaire, Oleg Tinkov. Tinkov's aim is to have the team enter the Giro d'Italia, something which should be feasible; race organizers will remember that it was Hamilton who narrowly missed out on victory in the 2002 edition, bravely coming second to Paolo Savoldelli.
"I hope the team will be part of the Giro d'Italia. It has always been one of my favourite races and I've always wanted to ride the Giro," Hamilton responded in regards to his 2007 goals. He is the only American to ever win one of cycling's five monuments, the 2003 Liège-Bastogne-Liège. "Certainly, Liège is also a very special race for me. I would love to try to win this race again. In my opinion, it's the hardest one day race of the year."
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