Cycling News Extra for September 23, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones
Phonak claims one B test negative
The Phonak Cycling Team has issued two more statements in relation to the Tyler Hamilton case, claiming that one of his B samples has turned out negative. "With regard to the Tyler Hamilton blood testing case the Phonak Cycling Team takes the liberty to announce that the blood samples examined in the B-Test under the UCI procedure [During the Vuelta] are positive. The B-Test blood samples taken under IOC [in Athens], however, will turn out negative."
Phonak and Hamilton are continuing to cast doubt on the scientific method behind the test, and hopes to prove that there has been an error in the test in order to clear Hamilton. "Since the new method is an effort based on probability and interpretation measurements, uncertainties will remain in this examination and procedure in any case," said the team statement.
"Because neither UCI nor IOC have so far disclosed data and because legal procedures may last for a long time without a clear outcome, the team management has decided to establish a scientific board in order to achieve clarity as to the medical method and reliability of these new blood testing tools. This scientific board will consist of various scientists with outstanding reputations in this field. Those scientists will be teamed up from different sources and will look into the entire method and data and report as to whether the analysis conducted at the lab in Lausanne in connection with the B-testing is reliable. In order that the scientific board can commence its work the entire files have to be released from UCI and/or IOC. This is so far not the case although requested by Tyler Hamilton.
"Once the data is available the scientific board will come up with its results as soon as possible. For the time being the names of the scientists involved will not be disclosed in order to avoid that they are disturbed in their work or influenced in any way."
The team added that the media will be informed once the panel of experts has reached its conclusion. "The team's goal is, and this is in the exact interest of Tyler Hamilton, that we have clarity in the end. Moreover, if there is a way to improve the new method in order to avoid future uncertainties this will also be a part of the mandate to the scientific board. With the foregoing the team management believes that it can form part of the campaign against blood doping and bring this matter up to a world-wide acceptable level."
Phonak's final comment was that, "During this phase Tyler Hamilton is suspended from racing but stays with the team."
Tyler Hamilton's statement
Reproduced here in full is the latest statement from Tyler Hamilton:
First of all I would like to discuss the recent press releases concerning my suspension from the team. This decision was taken jointly by Andy Rihs in his function as team owner and myself and communicated already during the press conference held on Tuesday evening. I am still a member of the Phonak Cycling Team and will continue to participate in the day to day decisions concerning our team.
With regard to the B-test from the Olympic Games, no official information has been provided to me as of today. However, I am sure that the Gold medal that I worked so hard for will stay in my hands. I guarantee that I represented the United States of America as an honest, clean and proud athlete. As the Olympic Committee did not promptly inform me of the alleged anti-doping violation until one month after the event on August 18, 2004, it was not possible to defend myself before. Regardless of this I will prove my innocence.
I will support the scientific board established by Phonak Cycling and myself, which I strongly believe will put light on the questions we have on the reliability of this new test. Hopefully with this scientific team, we can find a foolproof method to this test in order to the prevent other athletes ending up in the same situation. I believe that this is the only way to bring clarity to this matter.
It is necessary that I will be released from the allegations based on a scientifically conducted correction of the testing method. It is of further essence that I can as soon as possible, together with my team, form part of a reinstated reputation with evidence that I have contributed to valid, reliable and watertight measures in the anti-doping campaign. In this sense I fully support this research and development project, and I am confident that its result will bring me back to cycling soon so I can pursue my dream of winning the Tour de France.
I very much appreciate the support of my family, my friends, my team and fans.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)