Hamilton appeal set for June

In an interview with Sam Abt of the International Herald Tribune (IHT), Tyler Hamilton has announced that he expects his appeal against his two-year suspension for blood doping to be heard in June.

Hamilton was banned for two years in April by a two to one verdict of a panel of the American Arbitration Association (AAA)/North American Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), after returning a positive test for homologous blood doping at the Vuelta a Espana on September 11, 2004.

Hamilton has always maintained his innocence of the charges and immediately after the decision announced his intention to appeal to the sport's top body, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which is based in Lausanne, Switzerland.

However, the CAS panel will come to Hamilton, and not - as is rather more usual - the other way round. "They're coming to the United States, probably to Denver, in late June," Hamilton told the IHT. "There are so many witnesses here, it will be easier and cheaper for them to come here."

Hamilton also denied that he had engaged in any form of blood manipulation by transfusion. It's been speculated that the positive tests returned by Hamilton and team-mate Santi Perez last year came about because they were practising autologous blood doping, in which an athlete stores his own blood for later retransfusion. There is currently no test for autologous blood doping, though the practice is banned, but a mix-up of their stored blood might have led to the positive tests.

"Certainly not," Hamilton said. "I've never transfused blood in my life."

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