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
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.