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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Cycling News Flash for September 23, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Official: Hamilton's Olympic B test dropped

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that Tyler Hamilton's "B sample" taken during the Olympic Games in Athens has been considered as "non-conclusive because of lack of enough intact red blood cells". According to several reports, his Athens B sample was accidentally frozen, rendering it useless for testing purposes.

This means that although his A sample was positive, the IOC will not be pursuing sanctions against the American, and that he will keep his gold medal that he won during the time trial. However, according to his Phonak team, both Hamilton's A and B samples have come back positive from the Vuelta a Espaņa, which means that it's highly likely that a disciplinary process will be started against him by the UCI/USADA.

The IOC explained in a statement that, "On 22 August, the IOC was informed by the WADA accredited laboratory in Athens of a suspicious result following the analysis of Tyler Hamilton's blood sample provided on 19 August after the time-trial race that took place on 18 August in which he won the gold medal. At the request of the IOC, a group of experts examined the file and concluded on 16 September that Tyler Hamilton's A blood sample gave rise to an adverse analytical finding;

"On the basis of this conclusion, the IOC decided on 16 September to launch a disciplinary procedure to be handled by Juridical Commission Chairman Thomas Bach, and Executive Board Members Denis Oswald and Sergey Bubka, and to immediately notify the National Olympic Committee and the athlete;

"On 22 September, the laboratory analysis of the B sample was 'considered as non conclusive because of lack of enough intact red blood cells';

"On 23 September, the IOC informed Tyler Hamilton that, although the A sample gave rise to an adverse analytical finding on 19 August in Athens, the disciplinary procedure has had to be stopped because of the non-conclusive result of the B sample analysis. The IOC also informed him that therefore the Disciplinary Commission was being dissolved and that the IOC would not be pursuing sanctions regarding this matter.

"The fact that the analysis of the B sample was not conclusive does not challenge the accuracy of the analysis of the A sample; the method used during the Olympic Games in Athens was authorized by the World Anti-Doping Agency after validation by the international scientific community in accordance with an established set of criteria."

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