Armstrong and Hamilton issue denials

Former team-mates Lance Armstrong and Tyler Hamilton both issue forceful denials of claims made agai

Former team-mates Lance Armstrong and Tyler Hamilton both issue forceful denials of claims made agai

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Lance Armstrong and Tyler Hamilton have both issued denials after accusations were made against them in the European press over the weekend. Seven-time Tour winner Armstrong described Greg Lemond's claims in L'Equipe that the Texan had threatened him "ridiculous", while Hamilton said he was "upset" by allegations made in El Pais that he was linked to Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor at the centre of the Operacion Puerto investigation.

Armstrong responded to Lemond's claim that "[Armstrong] threatened my wife, my business, my life," by saying "Greg is just not in check with reality. It's ridiculous. Greg is obsessed with foiling my career. I'm apoplectic when I read stuff like that."

Lemond had admitted in Sunday's L'Equipe magazine supplement that he had testified against Armstrong earlier this year when the former Discovery Channel team leader was involved in a battle over a $5 million performance-related bonus owed to him by SCA Promotions after he won the 2004 Tour de France.

During the course of the same hearings, Betsy Andreu, wife of Armstrong's former US Postal team-mate, Frankie Andreu, claimed that Armstrong had told a doctor in 1996 he had used the blood-boosting hormone EPO and other doping products prior to being treated for cancer. Frankie Andreu backed up his wife's claims.

Armstrong's lawyer subsequently released an affidavit from the doctor who led his cancer treatments saying there is no medical record of any such admission. "I would have recorded such a confession as a matter of form, as indeed, would have my colleagues," Dr Craig Nichols said. "None was recorded."

Hamilton, meanwhile, denied claims that he had been treated by Eufemiano Fuentes. "I was very upset to read the accusations against me and to see my name associated with the Operacion Puerto investigation in Spain," he wrote on his website. "I have not been treated by Dr Fuentes. I have not done what the article alleges. In addition, I have never been contacted by authorities in Spain regarding these allegations. Therefore, it is impossible to comment on a situation I have no knowledge of."

There was better news for the currently banned American rider as the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed an appeal filed by Discovery's Viatcheslav Ekimov to have Hamilton stripped of the Olympic time trial title he won in Athens in 2004. Doubts over an apparently failed drug test in Athens could not be confirmed when Hamilton's B sample was accidentally destroyed.

Ekimov, who won the silver medal, and the Russian Olympic Committee had initially appealed to the International Olympic Committee. The IOC deemed Hamilton's test non-conclusive and confirmed his victory in September 2004, leading to Ekimov and the ROC taking the case to the CAS, which ruled on Tuesday that they had no standing to lodge an appeal.

"An appeal can be filed to CAS only by the athlete who is the subject of the decision being appealed from, by the IOC, by the relevant International Federation or anti-doping organisation and by WADA," said a statement from CAS. "As a consequence, Tyler Hamilton can retain the gold medal he won at the time trial event in Athens and the ranking of this race is definitively confirmed."

The CAS had previously upheld Hamilton's two-year ban for a blood doping offence at the 2004 Tour of Spain. That ban runs out on September 22.

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