MISSOULA: “We were fully delinquents, if not criminals. If there was one product that we could almost not do without, it was EPO.”
So says former US pro-racer Tyler Hamilton, one-time US Postal team-mate of Lance Armstrong and likewise caught up in the doping scandals which have wracked the sport.
Hamilton won 2004 Olympic Gold but his doping saw him stripped of the title last year and he is now coming to terms with a past he has recanted.
In his book “The Secret Race”, whose French version is being released in France this week, Hamilton explained in detail how riders would take performance-enhancing drug EPO on the Tour de France from a delivery man hiding among fans.
“He spent two and a half weeks on the road, kind of camping out most of the time, staying close by, waiting for the call or the text message.”
In an interview with AFPTV, Hamilton insisted it was Armstrong who ensured the doping was kept under wraps.
Hamilton said the message was: “This river is going this way. Don’t try to swim up stream. You’d better swim the same way Lance Armstrong is swimming or — if not, watch your back.
“There is the omerta, the code of silence. You don’t talk. You don’t, you don’t, you just don’t go that way, you don’t go there. If you do, your career is over.”