The Court of Arbitration for sport (CAS) yesterday dismissed the appeal filed by Viatcheslav Ekimov and by the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC). Ekimov and the ROC had requested an annulment of the decision made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2004 that US cyclist Tyler Hamilton would not be sanctioned after a non-conclusive result of an anti-doping blood test after the time-trial event at the 2004 Olympic Games.
"Tyler Hamilton can retain the gold medal he won at the time-trial event in Athens and the ranking of this race is definitively confirmed," the CAS said.
Hamilton is currently serving a two-year ban for testing positive for blood doping at the Vuelta in September 2004. The CAS upheld that ban in February, which came into effect one month after the initial doping test in the Olympics had led to suspicions Hamilton had used a blood transfusion to boost his endurance.
The International Olympic Committee had to abandon its investigation because Hamilton's backup specimen was mistakenly frozen, leaving too few red blood cells to analyse.
Athens runner-up Ekimov would get the gold medal if Hamilton was disqualified. Michael Rogers, who finished fourth in the race, the Australian Olympic Committee, and the International Cycling Union (UCI) participated in the procedure as interested parties. Rogers stood to get the bronze medal if the appeal was successful.
The CAS panel has dismissed Ekimov's appeal on the grounds that he and the ROC had no standing to file an appeal with CAS in accordance with the IOC anti-doping rules applicable at the time of the 2004 Olympic Games.
Hamilton has also been implicated as one of the 58 cyclists named in the Operacion Puerto scandal. Spanish newspaper El Pais alleged on Monday that the investigation's dossier indicates that Hamilton was placed on an extensive doping programme by Dr Eufemiano Fuentes, the former Kelme team doctor at the centre of the investigation.
Hamilton said on Monday that, "I was very upset to read the accusations against me and to see my name associated with the 'Operacion Puerto' investigation in Spain. I have not been treated by Dr Fuentes. I have not done what [is alleged].
"In addition, I have never been contacted by authorities in Spain regarding these allegations," he said.