Hamilton confirmed for TinkoffClose
"I made a mistake, and I paid a very high price," said Tyler Hamilton after signing for Tinkoff CredPIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Tyler Hamilton will officially return to racing with the new Tinkoff Credit Systems team. The 35 year-old American, who has served a two year ban for blood doping, will be one of the team's top riders. There will be a total of 17 riders in the pro continental team, which will keep its strong Russian flavour. After signing the contract, Hamilton was quoted in an official team statement as saying, "I made a mistake and I paid a very high price. But now I'm ready to be back in the game." This marks a big change in Hamilton's attitude towards his ban, which up until now has been one of steadfast denial. "I've gone through endless months of torment and misery, but my family and closest friends kept me up and helped me through it all," Hamilton added. "Today I'm ready for a new challenge and I'd like to thank the Tinkoff Credit Systems team for the opportunity they've given me." Team manager Omar Piscina was happy with acquiring Hamilton. "Our team really wanted this agreement to be achieved for a number of reasons. Tyler has an undisputable measure of talent and, having joined the team, he is sure to help it jump up a level in quality. We are aware of the problems he had in the past, but other sportsmen have also been in similar situations before, and we are convinced that Hamilton has as much right to be given a second chance as any of them." Hamilton is not the only convicted doper to be joining the team. German sprinter Danilo Hondo is another, having served an 'on-off' ban for testing positive for Carphedon in 2005. Hondo raced for the small Lamonta team this year and won eight races. His presence will ensure that the Tinkoff is regularly on the podium. The team, owned by Russian entrepreneur Oleg Tinkov, will keep its Russian roots. Top talent Mikhail Ignatyev (21) will be an interesting rider to watch, as will 24 year-old Pavel Brutt, who won six races this year while racing for Tinkoff Restaurants. Team roster: Tyler Hamilton (USA), Elio Aggiano (Ita), Pavel Brutt (Rus), Ilya Chernetsky (Rus), Salvatore Commesso (Ita), Daniele Contrini (Ita), Danilo Hondo (Ger), Sergey Klimov (Rus), Mikhail Ignatyev (Rus), Ruggero Marzoli (Ita), Anton Mindlin (Rus), Evgueni Petrov (Rus), Ivan Rovny (Rus), Alexander Serov (Rus), Ricardo Gonzales Serrano (Spa), Nikolay Trusov (Rus) and Steffen Weigold (Ger).