Hamilton unlikely to make comeback after eight-year ban

US Olympic gold medallist Tyler Hamilton has been banned from competitive cycling for eight years after admitting taking a steroid.

Hamilton, who announced his retirement in April, will almost certainly not return to the sport after the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) handed out its punishment yesterday.

The 38-year-old admitted the offence, telling the agency he had taken a product to fight depression that contained a steroid. He tested positive for testosterone in an out of competition test on February 9.

The 2004 Olympic time-trial champion, who formerly raced with Lance Armstrong's US Postal team, became the first athlete to be found guilty of doping by blood transfusion later that year.

Hamilton was subsequently suspended for two years. Even if he changed his mind about retiring, another return after this ban seems virtually impossible.

"In the sport of cycling, eight years ineligibility for a 38-year-old athlete is effectively a lifetime ban, and an assurance that he is penalised for what would have been the remainder of his competitive cycling career," USADA chief executive Travis Tygart said.