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Tyler Hamilton implicates Lance Armstrong

Hamilton implicates former team-mate Armstrong in institutionalised doping offences

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UPDATED:

13:06 GMT, 3 September 2012

Lance Armstrong's former team-mate Tyler Hamilton has lifted the lid on what he claims was institutionalised doping at the US Postal Service team.

In his new book The Secret Race, extracts from which were reproduced in The Times on Monday, Hamilton said Armstrong's former team was 'two years ahead of what everybody else was doing' in terms of its alleged doping activities.

Accused: Tyler Hamilton claims Lance Armstrong and other members of the US Postal Service team took blood-boosting drugs

Accused: Tyler Hamilton claims Lance Armstrong and other members of the US Postal Service team took blood-boosting drugs

The revelations come amid increased
scrutiny regarding drugs use in cycling, after the US Anti-Doping Agency
(USADA) last week announced its intention of stripping Armstrong of his
seven Tour de France titles following the Texan's announcement that he
would no longer contest long-standing doping charges.

Hamilton and Armstrong rode together for the US Postal team from 1998 to 2001, a period that delivered three of Armstrong's Tour wins.

Hamilton, who has twice been banned for doping offences, has previously spoken out against both Armstrong and the team in interviews with federal criminal investigators.

One of the team's techniques, Hamilton claims, was the use of blood doping, whereby an amount of a rider's blood was extracted, stored and then re-injected to boost the red blood cell count.

'With the other stuff, you swallow a pill or put on a patch or get a tiny injection,' Hamilton wrote.

'But here you're watching a big clear plastic bag slowly fill up with your warm dark red blood.

Claim: Hamilton, who has been banned twice for doping offences, has accused Armstrong in his book

Claim: Hamilton, who has been banned twice for doping offences, has accused Armstrong in his book

'You never forget it.'

Hamilton also alleged that at the 1999 Tour Armstrong's gardener, named only as Phillipe, followed the riders on a motorbike carrying a flask containing vials of the blood-boosting drug EPO.

'When we needed Edgar [Allan Poe, a slang term for EPO], Phillipe would zip through the Tour's traffic and make a drop-off,' he claimed.

Hamilton also questioned the quality of the doping tests the riders were subjected to.

Armstrong has never failed a doping test, a fact frequently held up by his supporters as proof of his innocence, but Hamilton wrote: 'They weren't drug tests. They were more like discipline tests, IQ tests.

'If you were careful and paid attention, you could dope and be 99 per cent certain that you would not get caught.

'They've got their doctors, and we've got ours, and ours are better. Better paid, for sure.'

Armstrong's representatives were not immediately available for comment about the book's claims.

Armstrong has always denied using drugs throughout his career.

I've done nothing wrong: Armstrong has denied ever using performance enhancing drugs in his career

I've done nothing wrong: Armstrong has denied ever using performance enhancing drugs in his career

Martin O"Neill joy at "surreal" Sunderland win

O”Neill joy at “surreal” win that gets his Sunderland career up and running

Martin O”Neill celebrated his first match in charge of Sunderland in “surreal” fashion with a dramatic late victory over Blackburn.

O”Neill”s bow looked to be heading for disaster with Rovers leading 1-0 at the Stadium of Light with just six minutes to play.

However, David Vaughan”s 84th-minute piledriver pulled the hosts level and set the stage for Sebastian Larsson to snatch three points with an injury-time free-kick to spark a trademark celebration from the 59-year-old Ulsterman.

Jumping for joy: Martin O

Jumping for joy: Martin O”Neill celebrates Sunderland”s win

O”Neill said: “It was surreal, really surreal. Just to get three points on the board is immense.

“I would have given a lot for that, just to have won the game, but mainly – forget about myself – just for the players.

“Having lost the game here last time out against Wigan in the circumstances in which they did, and then to go to Wolves and miss the penalty and then lose the game…

“It”s only a win, it only gives us a win. We have a million miles to go, but in terms of restoration of confidence, it was great.”

Sunderland”s Wearside misery – they had won only three times on their own pitch in 2011 before kick-off – seemed likely to continue with Blackburn leading through Simon Vukcevic”s 17th-minute header with just six minutes remaining.

But it was then the Black Cats, who had been lethargic before the break, made their improved second-half performance count, and did so in some style.

Piledriver: David Vaughan

Piledriver: David Vaughan”s shot nestles in the back of the net

Vaughan levelled with a sweetly-struck 30-yard drive to send a sigh of relief around the Stadium of Light, although the real drama was still to come.

Two minutes of injury-time had passed at the end of the game when Larsson curled home a free-kick off the foot of the post to snatch victory and ease the Black Cats” fears of being dragged into a relegation scrap.

O”Neill had revealed before the game he has been dreaming of winning his first match, but admitted the circumstances in which victory was delivered were more far-fetched than those of his imagination.

He said: “Even in my wildest dreams, I never thought about those. David Vaughan”s equalising goal was just brilliant.”

For once, the majority of a crowd of 39,863 headed home with smiles on their faces, but none of them broader than the one sported by the new manager.

O”Neill said: “If they feel half as good as I do at the minute, they will be pretty pleased.

At the death: Sebastian Larsson celebrates the winning goal

At the death: Sebastian Larsson celebrates the winning goal

“It”s a typical Irish trait to say there will be many a dark day around the corner, but there you go. I think that was just my upbringing.”

Blackburn boss Steve Kean”s emotions were markedly different as the Black Cats left his team behind them inside the Barclays Premier League drop zone.

He was left to bemoan the decision for handball against Mauro Formica which led to Larsson”s decisive strike, and a disallowed Scott Dann goal four minutes before the break after Samba was adjudged to have fouled keeper Keiren Westwood.

Kean, who insisted he know nothing about an impending financial crisis amid reports that the players may not be paid in February, also had to cope with the loss of Michel Salgado with suspected fractured ribs, Jason Lowe through concussion and Gael Givet with heart palpitations.

Fan

Fan”s favourite: O” Neill made an immediate impact at Sunderland

Asked about Givet, he said: “He has had it before and he was feeling as if his pulse was pounding out of his neck.

“The doctor said there was a potential that he could collapse, so we had to just get him off.

“He has had it before in the past when his heart goes out of synch and starts to fire at a different time.

“The doctor said we needed to get him off because we could have ended up with a much more serious situation.”