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Doping catches up with Hamilton

Tyler Hamilton

American cyclist Tyler Hamilton will officially be stripped of his Athens 2004 Olympic gold medal tomorrow as the International Olympic Committee moves to close the case before the end of an eight-year statute of limitation, an IOC source said today.

The source said a disciplinary commission would issue a final ruling on the matter after the athlete, who won the time trial gold, admitted to doping.

“It will happen tomorrow,” the source said. “The commission waited to see if there was more information coming from the US Anti-Doping Agency that implicated other riders or their coaches from the Athens Games but there is no more coming.”

Retired Russian rider Viatcheslav Ekimov is set to move up to gold with American Bobby Julich awarded silver and Michael Rogers of Australia moving up from fourth to bronze.

Another source said Hamilton had already handed the medal back to USADA last year.

In a letter dated July 16, 2012, IOC President Jacques Rogge told Hamilton: “I acknowledge with thanks the receipt of your letter dated June 28, 2012, in which you request the IOC to withdraw your name from the official record of Olympic champions and disclaim any interest in the Olympic gold medal from the men’s individual time trial cycling race at the Athens 2004 Olympics.

“In particular, I very much appreciate you have expressed regret for having used performance enhancing drugs and that you hope that through your example and future efforts this will discourage others from using performance enhancing drugs.”

Hamilton was initially allowed to keep his medal in 2004, after testing positive for blood doping, because the laboratory accidentally destroyed his B sample by deep-freezing it.

The following year, Hamilton tested positive for a blood transfusion and was banned for two years.

In 2006 he was linked to the Spanish doping scandal dubbed “Operation Puerto” before testing positive for steroids three years later. He was given an eight-year ban after he said he had taken an over-the-counter treatment for depression.

In an interview last year Hamilton ended years of denials by admitting he had used performance-enhancing drugs.

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