Rogge: World must judge Tyler

IOC president Jacques Rogge says he regrets the failures in the testing procedures in Athens that al

IOC president Jacques Rogge says he regrets the failures in the testing procedures in Athens that al
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE The fall-out from Tyler Hamilton's three failed blood tests at the Olympic Games and Tour of Spain is failing to abate, with International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge admitting on Sunday that the American's time trial gold medal is tainted, writes Justin Davis. Rogge is the second top level official to speak out about the suspended Phonak team rider's failed blood test at the Athens Olympics after World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound's attack on the American a fortnight ago. Hamilton's A sample following his time trial win in the Greek capital showed evidence of blood doping. The 33 year old's B sample could not be tested because it had been stored incorrectly at the IOC's Athens laboratory. Hamilton was allowed to keep his gold medal from Athens because the B sample must back up the A sample before a positive test can be confirmed. Both an A and a B sample taken from Hamilton at the Vuelta in September showed evidence of blood doping. But, according to IOC chief Rogge in an interview with French newspaper Le Journal de Dimanche, Hamilton's Olympic victory will be forever tainted. "The A sample was positive. Following what must be called a frustrating error by the Athens laboratory, the B sample could not be tested," said Rogge. "It's something I will always regret, but by rights the athlete can keep his gold medal. It's now up to the world to decide what kind of value Tyler Hamilton's medal actually holds." WADA president Pound said on October 1 that Hamilton's gold medal had little worth in the eyes of the world. While the Athens Olympics were a huge success for catching drug cheats, one athlete slipped through the net, said Pound. "It appears a cyclist might have escaped this net because of human error. But I can assure you it's no longer a gold medal in the eyes of the world. But if nothing else, we got him on the second bounce." As the debate rages, mainly in the United States where the affair has seriously dented Hamilton's cleancut image, Hamilton has been sidelined from competition by his Phonak team and still faces a possible two-year ban.
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