Tell-all book says Lance Armstrong arranged doping at Tour de France
Tyler Hamilton, a former teammate of cyclist Lance Armstrong, has used a tell-all book to repeat accusations that Armstrong took drugs to win his Tour de France titles.
The Times newspaper in London has published extracts of Hamilton’s book which lays bare the doping culture he witnessed in the sport.
Hamilton, who has himself been suspended for doping, rode the Tour de France with Armstrong in the US Postal Service team between 1998 and 2001.
He says Armstrong devised an elaborate plan to have his gardener "Philippe" deliver vials of banned blood-boosting drug EPO – codenamed Edgar – during the Tour de France to make sure no team member could be caught out with it in their possession.
"We were standing in Lance's kitchen when he lined out the plan: he would pay Philippe to follow the Tour on his motorcycle, carrying a thermos full of EPO and a prepaid cell phone,” Hamilton wrote.
"When we needed Edgar (EPO), Philippe would zip through the Tour's traffic and make a drop-off….Simple. Quick - in and out. No risk. To be discreet, Philippe would be supplying only the climbers, the ones who needed it most and would provide the biggest bang for the buck: Lance, Kevin Livingston, and me. Los Amigos del Edgar.”
"Lance practically glowed when he told me about the plan - he loved this kind of MacGyver secret agent stuff. The French could search us all day long and they'd find zero,” Hamilton wrote, adding: "Lance had come back from cancer; he wasn't about to sit back and hope things worked out; he was going to make it happen."
The latest allegations follow the US Anti-Doping Agency’s decision to ban Armstrong for life and strip all his results dating back to 1998, including his seven Tour de France titles, after Armstrong announced he would no longer fight the doping allegations through arbitration.
Armstrong has vehemently denied doping during his career, and has questioned the USADA’s authority to take away his titles.
Hamilton also poured scorn on the drug testing carried out, saying: "They weren't drug tests. They were more like discipline tests, IQ tests….If you were careful and paid attention, you could dope and be 99 percent certain that you would not get caught.”