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Tyler Hamilton (Tinkoff Credit Systems) at the 2007 Trofeo Laigueglia
Believes Armstrong is "still denying the past"
Retired professionals and former Team Sky personnel Bobby Jullich and Steven de Jongh should be allowed back into their positions, says Tyler Hamilton. The confessed doper and co-author of the book "The Secret Race" hopes Jullich and de Jongh can remain in the sport after the two were removed from their respective race coach and director sportif roles following their doping confessions.
Hamilton also believes Lance Armstrong would be going through a similar process to what he went through, before he eventually confessed and says that if he came clean, he would be "much better off."
"He's still denying the past and that picture saddens me, Hamilton said in an interview with Telegraph Sport after receiving the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award. He's most likely going through a similar process that I went through." "Maybe he's reflecting on the whole situation now. I think he's probably spending a lot of time thinking about it and you know it's got to be tearing him up in side."
The former professional Hamilton who rode alongside Lance Armstrong at US Postal from 1998-2001 can understand what Team Sky is trying to achieve with its zero tolerance policy but feels everyone deserves a second chance. Jullich and de Jongh admitted to using performance enhancing substances during their professional careers and promptly left the team.
"I get what they [Team Sky] are trying to do," said Hamilton to Telegraph Sport.
"But there are a lot of people who are good for the sport who got caught up in the wrong thing. It was a dark, dark culture back then. I’d say a minimum of 80 per cent of the peloton was doping to some degree."
"Typically when you come out, you learn from your mistakes. So what’s this saying? You do the right thing, you try to be transparent, and you get fired? So the next guy, what’s he or she going to do? It’s not fair," he said.
Hamilton added de Jongh and Jullich should be given time to reflect on their past mistakes and then return to the team. This would of course be in direct contradiction to the current stance of Sky management toward any rider or staff member who comes forward and admits to past doping activities.
"I hope that maybe next year Sky give Steven de Jongh and Bobby Julich and the other riders who have left the team an opportunity. Give them a year off to kind of reflect and come back. Because I think they deserve it," he said.
"We all need another chance, we all need to forgive eventually. These guys told the truth, when they could have kept lying or skirting around it. I really hope that they get to stay in cycling."