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Olympic time trial champion Tyler Hamilton has appealed to the Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS) against the two-year ban he was handed on April 18 by the US Anti-Doping Agency after testing positive for blood doping during last year's Vuelta a Espa¤a.
In a statement, the CAS, which is the final court of appeal in sport, has said that "Hamilton requests that the CAS annul the ... decision and exonerate him from any penalty, considering that he did not commit any doping offence."
A ruling by the Court's panel of independent legal experts is expected to be issued within the next four months, a time span that effectively ends any hope Hamilton may have had of being able to compete this season.
- Further details are emerging about the circumstances that led to yesterday's (Wednesday) sacking of Marc Lotz by his Quick Step team. According to this morning's Belgian papers, Lotz's Belgian home at Smeermaas, on the Dutch border near Maastricht, was recently searched by police and certain banned products were allegedly found, including the blood-booster EPO.
The investigation is being carried out by a prosecuting judge in the Belgian town of Tongeren. As part of this investigation, a Dutch man living in Lanaken, just west of Smeermaas, was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of illegally selling growth hormone and anabolic steroids, and Lotz is alleged to be among his clients. The investigation continues and could lead to charges being brought against Lotz.
- Another high-profile doping affair, that surrounding the Cofidis team, looks set to take another turn with the publication in France next week of a book by former Cofidis rider Philippe Gaumont, who was arrested by French police investigating a doping ring within French cycling in January 2004. Gaumont's widely leaked statements to the police implicated a number of his team-mates and other team staff, and his book Prisonnier du Dopage (Prisoner of Doping) repeats some of the stories that have appeared in the French press.
Released on June 7, Gaumont's 302-page book describes his persistent use of a wide range of doping products from his first days as a pro in the early 1990s. He talks of being advised by older pros on the use of pot belge, a blend of amphetamines, cocaine, heroin and other products, and of how he ended using veterinary products during the 2003 edition of Paris-Roubaix.
One of the few extracts published in the Belgian press today that we can (due to legal restrictions) talk about in detail describes how the Cofidis team ended up working for the Telekom team during Paris-Nice in 2003. "Once I was really ashamed. Our Kazakh team-mate Andrei Kivilev had died as the result of a fall two days earlier. the race was finishing at Mont Faron. and Kivilev's best friend, Alexandre Vinokourov, was well placed to the take the overall lead.
"A break had gone clear and I asked my directeur via my earpiece what we should do. Should we help the Telekom team to chase? He went up alongside the Telekom team car and then told us: 'It's OK, go ahead, I've negotiated 3,000 euros a day until Sunday.' So we rode for three days without asking any questions. Vino won Paris-Nice and we pocketed the money. In the papers they described it as a beautiful gesture."
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