By Jeff Jones
British cyclist Roger Hammond has denied making comments to UK newspaper The Herald (reported on Cyclingnewsearlier today) that mentioned Tom Simpson and David Millar in connection with the Lance Armstrong/L'Equipe affair. Specifically, after defending his former teammate Armstrong in the article, Hammond was reported to have said that the public has heard protestations of innocence before from countrymen Tom Simpson and David Millar. Both riders were ultimately guilty of doping.
But Hammond told Cyclingnews today that neither of those riders had anything to do with the Armstrong case. "They went through the doping process and were proved guilty. Lance didn't fail a dope test," he said.
"What I find sad about the whole situation is that Lance has given so much to cycling and so much to cancer sufferers the world over. He should be given the benefit of the doubt. He should be treated as someone that hasn't failed a dope test and won seven Tours de France...I don't judge anybody until there is a positive sample. "
Hammond adamantly refused to call the test results published by L'Equipe 'positive' samples. "There's nothing positive about it. It has to be done properly. They had access to those results and also to those samples. The reason there are protocols there are to protect us [the riders]. Who knows who's working in that lab? How do you know it's not Bernard Hinault's son working in the lab? The labs want us to trust them, but how can we do that if they've treated us like this?"
Hammond also strongly favours more drug testing, provided it is done properly. "I fully support as much drug testing as there is. I also fully support that the right protocols are followed. Otherwise any of us are at risk."