Former Rock Racing rider Tyler Hamilton has accepted an eight-year suspension from sport after a positive doping test earlier this year, his second violation since 2004.
Hamilton could have faced a lifetime ban due to his 2004 suspension for homologous blood doping, a violation first noted by anti-doping officials at that year’s Olympic Games.
Hamilton tested positive for testosterone or its precursors in February. He later acknowledged the positive test, declined to ask for further confirmation of the result and announced publicly that he had taken DHEA as self-medication for depression.
Hamilton’s public admission may have contributed to a lesser penalty, but nevertheless the suspension ensures that he will never again compete at the top levels of the sport.
“In the sport of cycling, eight years’ ineligibility for a 38-year old athlete is effectively a lifetime ban, and an assurance that he is penalized for what would have been the remainder of his competitive cycling career,” said U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart.
Hamilton announced his retirement from cycling on April 19 of this year, when he also confirmed that he had tested positive following the February out-of-competition test.
Hamilton claimed the positive resulted from his recent ingestion of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) a multi-functional steroid he said was in an herbal remedy he took after he had stopped using prescription anti-depressants. USADA officials said they couldn’t confirm that claim, saying only that Hamilton tested positive for testosterone or one of its precursors.
Despite Hamilton’s retirement, USADA retained jurisdiction over the case under the provisions of the World Anti-Doping Code. Article 7.6 of the Code specifically notes that the applicable agency retains jurisdiction in the case until the process is completed, regardless of whether the athlete chooses to leave the sport.
Hamilton’s case was handled in similar fashion to that of Canadian Geneviève Jeanson, who had also retired while facing a lifetime ban for a second doping violation. Jeanson, however, will still be younger than Hamilton is now when she is once again eligible to ride at age 37.