More on Hamilton
Dear Editor:In last Wednesday’s Aspen Times, Nate Peterson writes about the final arbitrary hearing for Boulder’s Tyler Hamilton, who is accused of blood doping in the form of injecting another person’s red blood cells. Peterson writes of Hamilton’s defense in two parts, the difference in findings between two different laboratories and the chimera theory, one which suggests that Hamilton had a twin when conceived but his twin was aborted early on in the pregnancy.Peterson explains the first problem in that the initial lab finding at the Olympics was overturned by a second expert panel once they realized they were looking at Hamilton’s blood. The second problem is a little stickier to get past. The chimera theory would perhaps hold water except for the other circumstances that surround the Hamilton case. The extra information not included in the Peterson article is as follows: First, Hamilton’s Team Phonak had been tracked since early in the 2004 season due to the fact that the Phonak riders consistently showed very high hematocrit readings (a measure of the red blood cell percentage in one’s total blood population). Second, Hamilton himself was red-flagged for extra blood screening after the Tour of Romandie in June. This was once again after Hamilton was returning hematocrit readings that looked suspicious. Third, in addition to Hamilton, his own teammate, Santiago Perez, tested positive for the same thing as Tyler Hamilton, at the same time as Tyler did, during the Vuelta Espana after the Olympics. This last point in particular does major damage to Hamilton’s chimera theory.The sad truth about professional cycling is this: When a young rider signs a contract with a major professional cycling team, there are major health and insurance issues that are brought to the table. These issues are usually resolved by the rider signing a “medical waiver” with the team stating that the team doctors have total control and final say as to what a rider does and does not put into their bodies. Doping today is almost an “entry fee” into the European peloton, believe it or not.Mike TreckerAspen
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