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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 November, 2004, 18:45 GMT
Under-fire Hamilton fired by team
Tyler Hamilton with his Olympic time-trial gold medal
Olympic time-trial champion Tyler Hamilton has been sacked by the Phonak cycling team.

The American is under investigation after testing positive for a blood transfusion in Athens and during the Tour of Spain.

And Phonak's decision to fire him comes as they failed to overturn a decision to exclude them from the ProTour.

Hamilton, who has always denied the claims of blood doping, confirmed the news on his official website.

"As of November 25, 2004 I am no longer a member of the Phonak Professional Cycling Team based in Switzerland," he said.

"After many discussions with team management, we concluded that it would not be possible for the team to continue at the level we hoped with my name on the roster.

"Specifically, it would be impossible for Phonak to be accepted into the UCI Pro Tour with one of its riders facing charges of using prohibited performance enhancing methods."

Hamilton was allowed to keep his Olympic medal despite the failed test because his B sample was deep frozen by mistake.

The Russian team, however, are currently appealing the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, arguing that the medal should go to Vyacheslav Ekimov, who finished second.

Hamilton was suspended by Phonak after failing another test on 11 September, although team officials questioned the validity of those tests.

It is my hope that once I am exonerated I can rejoin the professional peloton and sport I love
Tyler Hamilton

If found guilty of a doping offence Hamilton faces a two-year ban from the sport.

But he has vowed to keep fighting to prove his innocence and said he was upset how his ordeal had effected so many others.

"This ordeal now affects the Phonak riders, staff, sponsors and their families," he added.

"On a personal level, and on behalf of everyone involved, I am more committed than ever to getting to the bottom of all this.

"I am looking forward to the judicial process in my case and having the opportunity to prove my innocence.

"It is my sincere hope that once I am exonerated I can rejoin the professional peloton and the sport I love."




SEE ALSO
Russians launch Hamilton appeal
20 Oct 04 |  Cycling
Hamilton hangs on to gold
23 Sep 04 |  Cycling
Hamilton suspended by team
22 Sep 04 |  Cycling
Hamilton fails dope tests
21 Sep 04 |  Cycling
Hamilton claims time trial
11 Sep 04 |  Cycling
Hamilton inspired by gold
04 Sep 04 |  Cycling
Hamilton wins time trial
18 Aug 04 |  Cycling


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