Viatcheslav Ekimov has called Taylor Hamilton a liar and said the American rider was just out for money in his newest allegations that Lance Armstrong used doping products. Ekimov, now a directeur sportif for Team RadioShack, said that he would accept the gold medal from the 2004 Olympics which Hamilton has returned.
This week Hamilton appeared on American television to accuse Armstrong of having used doping products and methods while winning the Tour de France seven times. Hamilton has also confessed to using the products and methods himself. Armstrong has denied all allegations.
Ekimov denied that Armstrong had ever done what Hamilton said. “Maybe it’s his sick sense of humour,” he told the Associated Press. “Because I’ve been on the same team as him.”
He further said that Hamilton probably had financial motives for his disclosures. “Behind his story is something. First of all it’s untrue. And behind his story is some money or some stimulation.”
“Because why did this guy just crack now? Why didn’t he do it in 2005? … I call these guys liars. First they lie about the innocence, now they lie about something else.
“I think it’s just money. It seems to me like somebody really wants to kill Lance and put him down. There’s all this interest to find people who will say something.”
Ekimov, 45, further noted that he had little contact with Hamilton when they were both with the US Postal team.
“He was there when I was there for maybe two years but we raced in few races together, because he was a like a Grand Tour guy and a stage-race guy and I was doing all the classics,” Ekimov said. “I was never there with him. Maybe twice at the Tour de France, but that was it.”
Third gold for Ekimov?
Hamilton won the gold medal in the Athens 2004 Olympics time trial, with Ekimov second. Hamilton tested positive for blood doping after the race, but his B sample was not usable and he was allowed to keep his medal. He has now voluntarily returned his medal to the US Anti-Doping Agency, although he denied having doped for that race.
“If the medal comes it’s always welcome,” Ekimov said. “The logical thing is for the IOC to redirect it to the second guy.”
“I was just hoping that the guy will be accepted as a (doper) and he will be stripped of his medal, but it never happened,” the Russian continued. “Since then the hope was still in my head but it was dying after seven years. But nothing was happening and now it’s all turned around again.”
It would be Ekimov's third gold medal. He won gold in track team pursuit in 1988 for the Soviet Union and gold in 2000 in the time trial.