Tyler Hamilton Found Guilty
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has announced the long anticipated decision of the independent arbitration panel of the American Arbitration Association (AAA)/North American Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The panel found former Phonak Professional rider Tyler Hamilton guilty of a doping infraction by transfusing another person's blood.
?It?s not over yet?Tyler will continue to fight!?
This was the headline of an email sent to news media on Monday immediately after the announcement that Tyler Hamilton, one of the world?s leading racing cyclists, had been found guilty of a doping infraction by transfusing another person?s blood.
The email, from Deidre Moynihan of the Tyler Hamilton Foundation, announced:
? Hamilton will appeal the ruling of the independent arbitration panel of the American Arbitration Association (AAA).North American Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) as announced Monday by the United States Anti-Doping agency (USADA);
? The decision against Hamilton was not unanimous (there was one dissent);
? Hamilton is innocent.
Hamilton received a maximum two-year suspension for a first-time doping offence.
It?s clear that Hamilton and his supporters were prepared for the worst. They have responded to the devastating decision with anything but contrition.
But there was another reaction, from the other side, that showed equal determination.
?UCI [Union Cycliste International] took the necessary action to protect the integrity of its sport,? said USADA Chief Executive Officer Terry Madden. ?This decision shows the sport is committed to protecting the rights of all clean athletes and that no athlete is above the rules.?
If there was any doubt about the determination of the authorities to take action on doping, the Hamilton case will wipe it away.
Here was one of the sport?s premiere figures, an all-rounder capable of competing at the highest levels of the classics and the major tours, who was accused of homologous blood-doping.
In previous times, the determination to pursue dopers was often questioned.
But there is a renewed determination in cycling ? indeed in sports internationally ? to make them come clean. Witness the efforts ? and the outspoken advocacy ? on the part of the World anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and its Chairman, Canadian Richard Pound.
Doping and cycling have a long and intertwined relationship. Early 20th-century racers used various substances to enhance their performance and maintain their endurance. But cycling took the lead in the 1960?s in the testing of athletes for drugs.
In the first years of the 21st century pressure has mounted on the sport to take positive and definite action as doping cases continue to crop up.
Hamilton case and its outcome could be a turning point ? for cycling and other sports as well.