American calls for doping amnesty
Tyler Hamilton says that Chris Froome (Sky) won the 2013 Tour de France riding clean.
Hamilton, a confessed doper who has remained outspoken after lifting the lid regarding his own use of performance-enhancing drugs in a 60 Minutes interview in May 2011 following two doping bans, has not been backwards in pointing the finger but the American believes Froome's result will stand the test of time.
"There's no reason to believe they're doping. I think [in Froome] we have a true Tour de France winner," Hamilton told The Times in South Africa.
After an-already dominant season, speculations surrounding Froome's methods exploded following his win at Ax 3 Domaines, resulting in him taking the yellow jersey. Maintaining a cool head, he delivered the following response.
"I certainly know that the results I'm getting are not going to be stripped 10, 20 years down the line – rest assured it's not going to happen," Froome said. "I think if people got more of a look into [my training] they would see that that work equals these results and it's not something that's so wow, so unbelievable. It does actually add up if you look and see what actually goes into this."
Earlier this week, former WADA chief Dick Pound said that he refuses to watch the Tour de France in the wake of the USADA report and subsequent lifetime ban of Lance Armstrong because he believes doping is still rampant.
"As an event, I don't believe what I see," Pound explained. "We've been there, done that and until there's a change of attitude at the very top [in the UCI] then I won't watch it."
Hamilton has previously been critical of the zero tolerance stance taken by Sky, which resulted in sports directors Bobby Julich and Steven de Jongh losing their jobs. Hamilton maintains that a hard-line response doesn't work and is further damaging the sport, and that an amnesty is in cycling's best interests.
"There are still a lot of people with [doping] skeletons in the closet and it might be easier for them to talk if there wasn't a threat of lifetime bans," he said.
"Otherwise, it will all happen again in five, 10 or 15 years' time."