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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.
Book accuses Dane of bringing Hincapie EPO in Girona apartment
Team USPS directeur sportif Johnny Weltz brought EPO to team riders in Spain in 1997, Tyler Hamilton said in his book, which was published today. Weltz denied the charges, calling them "unbelievable" and "absurd".
In the book “The Secret Race” Hamilton describes a scene from 1997 when Weltz visited the apartment in Girona, Spain, where the USPS riders lived. The thin walls of the apartment allowed Hamilton to eavesdrop on a conversation between Weltz and George Hincapie.
"It was natural that Johnny would visit George. George was, after all, one of the team's best riders (...) What was not natural was that Johnny sometimes showed up with a white paper bag. You could hear the paper rustle. And when they talked privately, they would either whisper or speak Spanish. George and Johnny both spoke fluent Spanish, but it did not make sense to me. We were all on the same team. Why not speak English? (...) We saw George put a little tin foil package behind cola at the back of the refrigerator. One day shortly thereafter, when George was out, we could not resist. We opened the refrigerator and opened the foil package. We saw syringes and ampoules labeled EPO."
Weltz totally denied the charges to sporten.dk. "It is unbelievable. What should I say? It is absurd," he said, adding that he “certainly did not” bring Hincapie little white bags containing EPO.
The Dane is currently a directeur sportif with Garmin-Sharp. He rode professionally from 1987 to 1995. He worked as a DS at USPS until Armstrong joined the team, being apparently pushed out by the American, who is said to have disliked him. Weltz subsequently worked for Bjarne Riis' team.
He has said he was uncomfortable with the people “that Bjarne was circulating with” and that they "weren't' his kind". Weltz has also told sporten.dk that he was suspicious of Hamilton during his time at CSC and finds Hamilton's claims of blood doping to be "well documented."