Tyler Hamilton tells 60 Minutes he saw Armstrong inject EPO
PASO ROBLES, Calif. (VN) — Retired cyclist Tyler Hamilton has told the CBS program “60 Minutes” that he saw his then-U.S. Postal teammate Lance Armstrong inject EPO and use other doping methods, the show’s producers announced Thursday.
The full program will be broadcast Sunday, but the network released an excerpt on its website Thursday afternoon.
According to the excerpt, Hamilton told the show, “(Armstrong) took what we all took … the majority of the peloton. … There was EPO … testosterone … a blood transfusion.”
Related: Tyler Hamilton confession letter
Armstrong has repeatedly denied doping. He did not immediately reply to requests from VeloNews for reaction Thursday, though he did respond via Twitter: “20+ year career. 500 drug controls worldwide, in and out of competition. Never a failed test. I rest my case.”
Armstrong later tweeted congratulations to his former teammate and Team RadioShack director Viatcheslav Ekimov, who finished second to Hamilton in the 2004 Olympics. “Congratulations to @eki_ekimov on his 3rd Olympic Gold Medal!!”
Armstrong spokesman Mark Fabiani spoke at greater length.
“Tyler Hamilton just duped “The CBS Evening News,” “60 Minutes” and Scott Pelley all in one fell swoop,” he said.
“Hamilton is actively seeking to make money by writing a book, and now he has completely changed the story he has always told before so that he could get himself on “60 Minutes” and increase his chances with publishers.
“But greed and a hunger for publicity cannot change the facts: Lance Armstrong is the most tested athlete in the history of sports: He has passed nearly 500 tests over 20 years of competition.”
Hamilton was suspended two years for blood doping after he left Armstrong’s team. He later received a lifetime suspension for a second doping offense. Until Thursday he had always denied doping in the first case, but had confessed to the second offense, saying he had taken an over-the-counter anti-depressant that contained a banned substance.
Reaction at the Tour of California
“60 Minutes” announced the news soon after stage 5 at the Tour of California ended, and it seemed sure to send a shockwave through the event, much as Floyd Landis’ allegations against Armstrong did during the 2010 race. But the initial reaction was cautious.
When contacted by VeloNews, RadioShack’s Levi Leipheimer said it was the first he had heard of Hamilton’s allegations.
Asked if Hamilton was a credible source, he replied: “I’d have to think about it. I like to give answers that are well thought out. I’m not going to have a comment tonight.”
RadioShack physiologist Allen Lim said simply: “I don’t know how to react.”
And Garmin-Cervélo’s Jonathan Vaughters, a former Armstrong teammate on the U.S. Postal squad, said: “I haven’t seen Tyler in over a year. He’s a good guy. I don’t know enough about the story to say more.”
Race leader Chris Horner, who was not on Armstrong’s team during the U.S Postal era, said he had not heard of the “60 Minutes” piece.
“I’ve been racing my bike, not watching TV!” he told VeloNews. “I have no reaction, I don’t know anything.”
Asked if Hamilton was a credible witness, Horner shook his head as he climbed into the RadioShack bus.
“He’s been positive two times at two different teams, so. …”
Frankie Andreau, directing the Kenda-5-Hour Energy team at the California tour, is a former Postal teammate of Armstrong’s who has in the past publicly accused him of doping. He was interviewed by 60 Minutes for the piece, and told VeloNews on Thursday that he would let his statements to the show speak for themselves. He did say add that “many managers and teams are trying to make the sport better.”
Armstrong coach Chris Carmichael also is at the Tour of California, leading training rides. “I really don’t know anything about this,” he told VeloNews. Asked if he thought Hamilton was credible, he said, “I don’t know, and that’s all I’m going to say.”
Carmichael did say he has not been asked to testify before the federal grand jury investigating Armstrong.
Stay tuned for more coverage.