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Former Phonak rider Tyler Hamilton en route to winning the eighth stage of the Vuelta a España. Two days later, on September 13, the American returned positive for homologous blood transfusion.
Former US Postal riders asked to testify in London
The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has started collecting potential witnesses to give evidence against Johan Bruyneel at the Belgian’s arbitration case in December. Tyler Hamilton, who rode under Johan Bruyneel at the US Postal Service team from 1999 until 2001, provided an affidavit in USADA’s Reasoned Decision in 2012 and earlier this year testified via video conference in the Operacion Puerto case involving Eufemiano Fuentes.
Cyclingnews understands that several other potential witnesses have been asked to give evidence, a selection of them having already testified to USADA in the Reasoned Decision that saw Lance Armstrong stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and handed a lifetime ban.
Armstrong chose not to fight USADA’s charges relating to doping offences, and was sanctioned in late 2012. However Bruyneel, Armstrong's former team manager and former US Postal doctors Pedro Celaya, and Jose "Pepe" Marti opted to fight the charges. Their arbitration hearing has been set for December 16-20 in London.
USADA have already leapt into action by sending emails to various potential witnesses. Hamilton confirmed to Cyclingnews that he had been contacted by USADA but did not confirm if he had agreed to testify. Cyclingnews understands from another source that USADA had attempted to push back the date of the hearing until after the Christmas holidays and that the arbitration panel refused.
Cyclingnews also understands that at least two other former US Postal riders who gave affidavits in the Reasoned Decision have been asked to travel to London for the hearing.
Bruyneel has been charged with possession, trafficking and administration of banned substances, aiding, abetting and covering up anti-doping rule violations, but reaching arbitration has been a long, drawn-out process.