Tyler Hamilton Diary
I threw forward my arm, and said ? "It?s a mistake. Take another sample".
test taken just four days before. To give you and idea of how variable these numbers can be, the UCI test conducted on July 1st, the day before the Tour de France started, registered my hematocrit at 38. Again, my team complained, but this time about the score being too low. Inaccuracy of the readings can go both ways.
If someone?s hematocrit, hemoglobin or reticulocyte readings are incorrect, the ?off score? will be incorrect. This is why the off score is not used to determine a doping offense. It is widely known that the measurements used to calculate the score are prone to some instability.
Warnings: There have been lots of rumors circulating that I had received multiple warnings about irregularities in my blood tests in 2004. To clarify, the conversations about the results of my health tests were actually more about mutual concerns than accusations.
The Phonak team was the first to raise a red flag about results associated with my tests. The team felt there was something wrong with the UCI?s health test measurements from Romandie. A meeting regarding those measurements was requested by Phonak, and took place in Switzerland in early May. I was not present, but the team management and various UCI officials were.
The discussion boiled down to the fact that the Phonak team and UCI were using hematocrit machines manufactured by different companies. Phonak agreed to purchase the same machine the UCI uses so if a discrepancy was ever noted again, there would be a similar starting point at the basis of the argument. That machine was up and running for the team by the Tour de France.
I also had a face to face meeting with Dr. Zorzoli in June to discuss my health test results. We spoke at length about my reticulocyte counts and what the medical explanations for those readings could be. He recommended a specialist for me to see in Boston to try and get to the bottom of the results. It was a friendly conversation, during which the topic of the new blood transfusion test was raised. Dr. Zorzoli noted that the test would be approved soon, but pointedly noted that I was fine to continue racing.
I was also told that regardless of whether or not we agreed on the accuracy of my hematocrit reading at Romandie, that result put me in the out-of-competition testing pool for extra doping tests between races. I did receive one letter after our meeting confirming this. This news was not concerning to me because I already thought I was in this pool for having met other criteria ? which were; being ranked in the top 50 in the world, and for having won an HC Stage race within the last year. In addition, I was already part of the USADA out-of-competition testing program and had been since the spring of 2000. So I didn?t protest being included. In fact, I welcomed it.
I agreed to help Dr. Zorzoli with the development of the forms he needed to design to determine the whereabouts of athletes