Tyler Hamilton's cycling career came to an today when he retired in following a positive drugs test.
According to unnamed US anti-doping officials the substance in question was the steroid DHEA a fact that seemed to be confirmed by Hamilton later on his team's (Rock Racing) Twitter feed. According to Hamilton the substance was in an over the counter medication he bought to combat depression a condition he has struggled with since 2003.
Hamilton's aim now is to move on and seek further treatment for his depression. Having already served a two year ban after being convicted of blood doping during the 2004 Vuelta Hamilton faced an eight year ban if convicted of this offence, at 38 that meant his career was over. Hamilton maintained his innocence of the 2004 offence but this time, he told the Associated Press, "there's nothing to fight about."
Speaking on the Rock Racing Twitter feed Hamilton said: "I want to thank my fans, team mates, friends in the media and Michael Ball for making this chapter in my life so memorable." The Rock Racing team owner Michael Ball then added: "It's a very tough day for me because my goal was to give Tyler a second chance."
Tyler Hamilton retires as current US road racing champion, but he will best be remembered for his epic ride to fourth place in the 2003 Tour when despite breaking his collarbone at the end of the first stage he rode on to the finish, taking the 16 stage along the way and earning himself the nickname The King of Pain. He ground his teeth so badly in the process that most of them had to be re-built once the race was over. He was one of the favourites for the 2004 Tour but climbed off suffering the effects of a back injury sustained on stage 6 and upset about the death of his dog.
That summer he went on to win the road racing Olympic Gold medal in Athens, but his victory was mired in controversy when his 'A' sample tested positive for a banned substance, Hamilton's 'B' sample was mishandled by the lab and so ruled inadmissible. A month later though both samples came back positive at the Vuelta.
Other highlights of his carrer included:
Winning 2000 Dauphin Libere
Winner 2003 Liege Bastogne Liege
Winner 2003 Tour of Romandie
Winner 2004 Tour of Romandie
2nd 2002 Giro d'Italia
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.