November 14, 2004
The Times on Tyler
The New York Times offers an even-handed look at the Tyler Hamilton case.
This has been a tough one for me -- I really want to Believe Tyler, but it's awfully suspicious that, in a few hundred test results, there have been exactly three positives: Hamilton twice, and Santiago Perez, who just happen to be on the same team.
Whatever the case, Hamilton says he won't go down without a fight:
"After the Olympics, my life was really secure, my career was really on track because the gold medal can bring you a lot, you know?" Hamilton says. "Now my life is on hold."
Hamilton, a sliver of a man at 5 feet 8 inches and 130 pounds, makes eye contact as he says: "I would be happier without everything I have, with nothing, if I could just clear my name. If I had to, I'd give up everything, down to my last penny, to have my name back."
The Times talks to Michael Ashenden, head of the team who created the test, and to officials in anti-doping agencies.
The real hammer for the story are some quotes from Bobby Julich:
One American cyclist at the show, Bobby Julich, had other questions. Julich had roomed with Hamilton in Athens and won the bronze medal in the time trial. He said the suspicions about Hamilton "go against everything I've ever known from the guy." But, he added: "The rest of us at the Olympics passed the test. Why didn't he?"
Julich took a deep breath.
"I'm sick of people who cheat, sick of cleaning up their mess and trying to explain it," he said.
Then, a pause.
"There is heavy evidence against him," he said. "With that much evidence, I don't know how he's going to get out of it."
Hamilton says he's not leaving the sport, even if he gets a two-year suspension; that he'll come back at 35 and "show those people who doubted me that they were wrong":
"I would come back and win the Tour de France, for my sport, for me, for everyone who has believed in me."