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Thursday, September 30, 2004
Pound: Hamilton got away with cheating

Associated Press

TORONTO -- Tyler Hamilton's title from the Athens Games is "no longer a gold medal in the eyes of the world" because of the cyclist's failed drug test, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency said Thursday.

WADA chief Dick Pound suggested Hamilton got away with cheating in Athens, where a preliminary test indicated he had received an endurance-boosting blood transfusion. The IOC dropped its probe because Hamilton's backup specimen mistakenly was frozen and there weren't enough red blood cells left to analyze.

That meant Hamilton was able to keep his gold medal.

But Hamilton, a former University of Colorado skier, still faces a possible two-year ban over a separate positive blood test at the Spanish Vuelta two weeks after the Olympics. Hamilton's Phonak team said both blood samples he provided there came back positive.

The American insists he is innocent and has vowed to clear his name.

"It appears a cyclist might have escaped this net because of human error," Pound said, without identifying Hamilton by name. "But I can assure you it's no longer a gold medal in the eyes of the world.

"If nothing else, we got him on the second bounce."