Hamilton alleges Armstrong EPO positive cover-up on 60 Minutes

Claims UCI is complicit in Tour de Suisse 2001 affair

Tyler Hamilton, a US Postal Service teammate of Lance Armstrong, spoke on Sunday evening's 60 Minutes news show regarding a cover-up of a positive EPO test by the seven-time Tour de France winner at the 2001 Tour de Suisse.

During the interview, Hamilton also said he witnessed Armstrong receiving a blood transfusion during the 2000 Tour and inject EPO during the 1999 Tour and before the 2000 and 2001 Tours

"I saw him inject it more than one time like we all did, like I did many, many times," Hamilton said. "He was the leader of the team. He doped himself like everybody else, being part of the culture of the sport."

When asked by 60 Minutes reporter Scott Pelley about Armstrong's repeated statement that he'd never tested positive, Hamilton said, "I know he's had a positive test before...for EPO [at the] Tour of Switzerland, 2001."

Asked how he knew of the incident, Hamilton said "He [Lance Armstrong] told me. He was so relaxed about it and he kind of said if off the cuff and laughed it off."

Hamilton then discussed the quashing of the positive test.

"People took care of it," Hamilton told 60 Minutes. "I don't know all the exact details but I know that Lance's people and the people from the other side, the governing body of the sport (UCI), figured out a way to make it go away.

"I was told this...by Lance."

The incident involving the alleged doping test cover-up has garnered the attention of United States federal prosecutors as well as the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

"60 Minutes" obtained a letter from USADA in which the Swiss lab which tested Armstrong at the 2001 Tour de Suisse considered Armstrong's sample "suspicious" and "consistent with EPO use". The CBS news program learned that the director of the Swiss lab had met with both Lance Armstrong and team director Johan Bruyneel concerning the test from the Tour de Suisse.

The Swiss lab director has since given a sworn statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). 60 Minutes has learned that the lab director testified that a representative of the UCI wanted the matter of the suspicious test to go no further. The lab director also testified that the meeting between himself, Bruyneel and Armstrong was arranged by the UCI.

The lab director said that testing procedures were discussed during the meeting.

Around the time that the meeting took place between the Swiss lab director, Armstrong and Bruyneel, Armstrong donated $25,000 to the UCI. Three years later he made an additional $100,000 donation to the UCI.

The UCI would not reveal to 60 Minutes the doping test from the 2001 Tour de Suisse due to rider confidentiality, but Armstrong's attorney provided the news show with a letter from the UCI on the matter that states none of the positive samples belonged to Armstrong.

Both Bruyneel and the UCI have denied the allegations.

During the interview, Hamilton also expanded on his own drug-use, explaining that it was part of the team’s preparation to learn how to evade the suspicion of officials while after calling Armstrong to ask for his assistance in getting access to EPO, soon received a package in the mail containing the banned susbtance.

"I reached out to Lance Armstrong and he helped me out," Hamilton said. "The next day or two a packet arrived with enough EPO. Lance confirmed he would send me something and it did arrive.

"Sure it was an illegal doping product. But he helped out a friend. I would have done the same thing for Lance."

Armstrong’s legal counsel Mark Fabiani, issued this statement on the facts4lance.com website in response to Sunday’s broadcast on the CBS network:

"Throughout this entire process CBS has demonstrated a serious lack of journalistic fairness and has elevated sensationalism over responsibility. CBS chose to rely on dubious sources while completely ignoring Lance’s nearly 500 clean tests and the hundreds of former teammates and competitors who would have spoken about his work ethic and talent."

This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.

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