The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has announced the long awaited decision of the independent arbitration panel of the American Arbitration Association (AAA)/North American Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), that cyclist Tyler Hamilton of Boulder, Colorado committed a doping infraction by transfusing another person's blood. The 34 year-old Hamilton received the maximum two-year suspension for a first-time doping offense.
The majority of the AAA/CAS Panel rejected Hamilton's defence and found that his positive sample was "due to a homologous blood transfusion." Based on blood screens taken in the spring and summer of 2004, Union Cycliste International (UCI) warned Hamilton and his team that Hamilton was suspected of manipulating his blood. Following these warnings, UCI target-tested Hamilton and he tested positive.
The case was referred to USADA for handling by the UCI. The scheduling of the case was expedited by USADA at Hamilton's request. According to USADA, the AAA/CAS Panel "provided Hamilton over a month extension following the hearing to submit any additional evidence in his defense." Hamilton claimed that it was the panel itself that kept the case open.
"UCI took the necessary action to protect the integrity of its sport," said USADA Chief Executive Officer Terry Madden. "This decision shows that sport is committed to protecting the rights of all clean athletes and that no athlete is above the rules."
Hamilton tested positive at the Vuelta de España on September 11, 2004 and forfeits all results achieved from that date. His two-year period of suspension ends on April 17, 2007.