Is the Tour of Langkawi still going on? It is? Oh, I’m sorry, it’s just hard to pay attention to some Ukrainian winning a dinky 16k TT when a reigning Olympic Champion gets banned (after 15 months of appeals) for blood doping. If there’s a bright spot for Hamilton here, it’s that, thanks to his valiant legal struggle, he’s only got 8 months left on his suspension. I’m sure that if he puts on another strong Mt. Washington performance he could earn himself a discretionary selection to the US Worlds Team. Heck, after September, he could ride for any non-MonkeyTour squad he chooses, although, given that organization’s recent problems, he might just be right back with Phonak in 2007. Regardless, if I were Panaria, Agritubel, Barloworld, Unibet or any of the other top Continental sqauds, I’d be grovelling at Hamilton’s doorstep with a nice, fat contract right about now. No matter what happnes to the UCI ProTour, Hamilton is fair game to these guys come September.
These clear skies ahead are probably the reason Tyler is taking his defeat so sportingly. His official reaction is to be “very disappointed”, and he takes the opportunity, now that he is officially convicted, to say a few things about anti-doping reform that definately needed to be said. His full statement can be found here, but allow me to provide you the Cliff’s Notes:
“…[T]here should be clear separation between the agencies that develop new tests and those that adjudicate anti-doping cases.”
“…[I]ndependent experts…should be charged with properly validating new tests.”
“…[No] athlete should be…charged with a doping violation through the use of a method that is not fully validated or generates fluctuating results.”
All very reasonable demands, I think, though my bros over at Dopers Suck will no doubt come up with some snarky, off-topic comment to debase them as they did (“Olympic Post #3”) in the begging-for-reform case of US Skeleton competitor Zach Lund. And hopfully, minus a rant later today, that’ll be the last bit of doping news I perseverate upon for quite some time. I much prefer following the mechanically translated adventures of little-known French riders at little-known French races to participating in the gleeful media orgy that follows the fall of heros in this sport.