By Gregor Brown
In an interesting turn of events, Tyler Hamilton has retracted his statement made Friday, November 24, in a team press release announcing his new contract with Tinkoff Credit Systems. The rider from Marblehead, Massachusetts was quoted in an official press release, written in Italian, as saying "Ho sbagliato e il prezzo che ho dovuto pagare è stato molto alto," or "I made a mistake and the price that I had to pay was very high." The statement, although not specific, seemed to hint that the 35 year-old was confessing to his 2004 positive test of doping via blood transfusions.
Shortly after the article appeared on Cyclingnews, we were contacted by the Tinkoff General Manager Stefano Feltrin who said that the team had made a mistake when translating Hamilton's words in the press release, which, along with our news website, had already been sent out to other major media outlets. Feltrin kindly noted that his newly signed cyclist wished the statement would be changed to "There have been mistakes and the price that I had to pay was very high."
Hamilton ran into trouble in late 2004 when controls at the Olympics and Vuelta a España showed positive for blood transfusions. He was allowed to keep his Olympic gold time trial medal when the second sample needed for testing was accidentally frozen but the positive findings for both the A and B samples in the Spanish tour meant the American faced a two-year ban.
Never confessing to any wrongdoing, Hamilton steadfastly refused the test results until Friday, when it appeared as though the cyclist was making an admission to doping. However, when the press release was clarified the cyclist's words became less than an 'admission.'
"In my opinion there needs to be more collaboration between the riders and the sport officials," said Hamilton to Cyclingnews when asked what needs to be done to help cycling's current doping problems. "The guilty until proven innocent mantra needs to stop. There are clear problems with the anti-doping system when you have results being leaked, computer systems allegedly being hacked into and athletes being prosecuted on the basis of conflicting or unsubstantiated data."
Look for a full feature by Cyclingnews with Tinkoff's Tyler Hamilton in the coming week.