Garmin-Sharp's Jonathan Vaughters has finally come clean about his doping in an Op-Ed piece in the NY Times as we reported here (http://www.roadbikeaction.com/Latest-News/content/69/5887/Breaking-News-Vaughters-Admits-Doping.html
). Certainly it is ironic that the founder of the so-called "Clean Team" has come clean himself. Vaughters wrote "I chose to lie over killing my dream. I chose to dope. I am sorry for that decision, and I deeply regret it. The guilt I felt led me to retire from racing and start a professional cycling team where that choice was taken out of the equation through rigorous testing and a cultural shift that emphasized racing clean above winning. The choice for my athletes was eliminated."
But Vaughters could have come clean much sooner about his doping; although he's denied it, most observers believe that Vaughters, along with his Garmin-Sharp riders Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie as well as George Hincapie and Levi Leipheimer, all former teammates of Lance Armstrong, were compelled to testify against Armstrong in USADA's ongoing "USPS Conspiracy" doping investigation.
He also denied it at the time, but Vaughters (named as "one other rider, who wished to remain anonymous because he said he did not want to jeopardize his job in cycling") likely told the NY Times in an interview almost six years ago (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/12/sports/othersports/12cycling.html?_r=1
) that he had used EPO. "The environment was certainly one of, to be accepted, you had to use doping products,” was the quote. “There was very high pressure to be one of the cool kids.”
More Justice: Tyler Hamilton Stripped of 2004 Olympic Gold Medal
The International Olympic Committee has finally stripped Tyler Hamilton of his 2004 Olympic ITT gold medal from Athens and awarded the medal to it's rightful winner, Russian Viatcheslav Ekimov, with American Bobby Julich moving up to silver and bronze to Aussie Michael Rogers. The decision was somewhat urgent as the IOC's eight-year statute of limitations runs out at the end of August. Ekimov will now get his third Olympic gold cycling medal, adding to his team pursuit win at the 1988 Seoul Games and the 2000 Sydney Olympics ITT. After hearing the official news, ?@eki_ekimov tweeted "Welcome home baby!!! I've been waiting for you, since i red (sic) in book of live (sic) that I was born to be triple crowned!"
Does anyone remember the "I Believe Tyler" campaign that a bike industry guy mounted in 2004 to support Tyler Hamilton? Boy did that turn out to be dumb move! There were "I Believe Tyler" pins handed out at Interbike and a now defunct website, ibelievetyler.com. In 2004, Hamilton gave a positive A sample for blood doping after his Olympic TT victory, but the B sample was frozen by the Olympic lab and couldn't be tested, so Hamilton managed to keep his medal. Once the news broke in 2004, Julich d "(Hamilton's blood doping positive) goes against everything I've ever seen or known from the guy. But the rest of us at the Olympics passed the test. Why didn't he? I'm sick of people who cheat, sick of cleaning up their mess and trying to explain it. There is heavy evidence against him. With that much evidence, I don't know how he's going to get out of it." One month later at the 2004 Vuelta a España, Hamilton won the Stage 8 ITT, but tested positive for blood doping again! Eventually Hamilton was suspended for two years.
USADA gave Hamilton a two-year suspension in April 2005 which he promptly appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. A delusional Hamilton claimed the UCI-sanctioned flow cytometry blood test could have returned a false positive and that if foreign blood cells were present, they were natural and not the result of a transfusion. Hamilton's lawyers even claimed said he might be a Chimera. The CAS dismissed quickly his appeal.
For years, Hamilton denied doping, even after being implicated in Operation Puerto in 2005 but eventually blubbered to CBS's "60 Minutes" in May 2011, admitting his doping to a grand jury after being compelled to provide testimony in the aborted US Department of Justice investigation against Lance Armstrong in return for limited immunity for prosecution. But in his CBS's "60 Minutes" interview last year, Hamilton still denied he used blood doping to win his Olympic Gold Medal and was serving an 8 year suspension from USA Cycling for DHEA (steroid) use that began in 2009. It was Hamilton's second offense after a 2005-07 penalty for blood doping and he retired in 2009, claiming the DHEA steroid was in a supplement that he took for a "desperate" emotional state triggered when he went off his prescription medication cold turkey."
In 2009, Hamilton said "There's always going to be doubters," he said. "I understand I'm going to have a few more doubters now." In 2009, Hamilton also said he stood by his previous assertions that he did not previously use performance-enhancing drugs or illicit blood-boosting techniques. The bizarre thing about the entire episode is that Hamilton still maintains his innocence about much of his extensive doping and has never come completely clean!
Racy Language believes that it is now time for Vaughters and Hamilton to make a full public disclosure about their entire doping experiences and not hide behind a NY Times Op-Ed or 60 Minutes. Now that he's let the doping cat out of the bag, Vaughters needs to come clean once and for all and not just because USADA has forced him to admit his doping peccadilloes. As an individual who has led the fight for clean cycling, Vaughters now needs to go public with what he did, when he did it and how he did it. Without full disclosure by Vaughters, his anti-doping stance is simply sheer hypocrisy and just rings hollow.
Much credit goes to Frankie Andreu, who came clean in the same NY Times article in 2006, and who had the integrity and courage of his convictions to admit his EPO use. And yes, Hamilton gave back the Olympic medal he won by cheating, and that is a good first step. but he has also never explained his blood doping in the Vuelta in 2004, and not yet come clean in public about all his doping, including Operation Puerto. Sure, behind closed doors he told the Feds and TV about Lance's alleged doping but still has not come completely clean about his own.
Tyler, it's now time for to talk.