I believe Tyler… was doped to the gills.
I recently was able to secure purchase of the domain name ibelievetyler.com. I picked up the dot net version three or four of five years ago, mostly on a whim, and subsequently made a collection of “I believe” sites. (See ibelievefloyd.com, ibelievemayo.com, ibelieverasmussen.com, ibelievethechicken.com, ibelievevino.com.) Good times.
I’ve been waiting to post something regarding the domain name purchase, and today is the day to do it. First, a little background.
Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last few years, IbelieveTyler.com was the domain name that started it all. It was only a few years ago when Interbyke was awash with button proudly claiming “I Believe Tyler!” They were everywhere. It was ridiculous. Did you just find out about professional cycling last week or something? You think American cyclists were just somehow able to win across the pond, during the heavy EPO years, with mineral water, cheese sandwiches and recovery massages?
And then the domain suddenly came up for sale. Just like that. Not being used anymore for its original purpose. Whoever owned it previously just let it go. Go figure. Everything I’ve done with these stupid fucking “I Believe” sites has been in direct response to that original stupidity. It is the O.G. of “I Believe” websites. So I bought it.
Joe Lindsey has a good write up on this “Believe me?” crap called How the Great Dope Debate belittles the power of the human spirit and makes cynics out of us all.
…Prentice Steffen, former team doctor for U.S. Postal Service, alleged that Hamilton and Marty Jemison, another of the team’s riders, approached him about procuring a more aggressive medical program to help the team. Steffen says the riders’ intent was clear, even though he admits drugs were never explicitly mentioned and he is not sure whether Hamilton ever actually spoke during the encounter.
Hamilton strongly denied the issue, swearing on the life of his wife and the grave of his dog that no conversation had ever happened. That seemed all well and good until Hamilton tested positive for a ghoulish practice: injecting someone else’s blood to enhance his performance.
The phrasing of Hamilton’s denial was viscerally strong–his wife, Haven, is clearly beloved, and his dog, Tugboat, was so close to him that Tugs received nearly as much press-time as Hamilton himself. But the phrasing reminded me of Eric Ryckaert, team doctor to Festina, who swore on the heads of his children that he had no part in that team’s doping, which was later revealed to be systematic, systemic, and a recognized and supported function of team personnel, including doctors. Hamilton’s denial of blood doping–couched partly in logical terms of why it would be stupid to do such a thing–endanger his and his wife’s health, his career, etc.–was almost a blueprint of [Rafael] Palmeiro’s statement in his defense. “Why would I do this in a season when I went before Congress?” Palmeiro asked during a conference call with reporters. “It makes no sense. I’m not a crazy person. I’m not stupid.”
Palmeiro is a Tyler Hamilton of baseball.
Dude swore on the memory of his dear departed dog Tugboat that he didn’t ask Prentice Steffen for doping products. (As a quick aside, our dear Marty Jemison handles his business in an entirely different manner. Don’t tase me, bro. Don’t tease me either.)
June 26, 2006
“I was very upset to read the accusations against me and to see my name associated with the “Operacion Puerto” investigation in Spain. I have not been treated by Dr. Fuentes.”
Just as he is nearing the end of a two-year suspension for blood-doping, American Tyler Hamilton is back in the news after a Spanish newspaper charged Monday that he had worked with Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes between 2002 and 2004. In Monday’s edition of El País, the paper cited secret police and court documents alleging that Hamilton not only engaged in banned blood transfusion practices, but also used EPO, anabolic steroids, human growth hormones and IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) during his collaboration with Fuentes. http://www.velonews.com/news/fea/10110.0.html.
It’s not the drugs that get me. It’s the lies about the drugs.
Notice he did not say that he hadn’t doped. Rather, he said that he never asked Stevens, “anything of the sort.”
July 27, 2004
“The claim that I, along with another teammate, approached a team doctor and asked him questions about doping products back in 1996 is absolutely false. I swear on my wife’s life and the grave of my dog that I never asked that man about anything of the sort.” http://www.velonews.com/tour2004/diaries/articles/6685.0.html.
You can still buy that inane crap protesting his “innocence” over at cafepress.com/believetyler. You know, if you’re in to that sort of thing.
His backers are true believers.
Tyler’s father, Bill, was smiling, rather than shouting, at me until a few minutes ago. I had just shown him a group photo of Tyler, me and the rest of our 1993 University of Colorado cycling team. In the picture, we’re standing in Bill and Lorna Hamilton’s living room. We’ve just won the national collegiate championships at MIT, and Bill has thrown us a celebration bash at his Marblehead, Massachusetts, home.
Bill located me in the photo, then tilted his eyebrows and asked, “Where’s Quinn?” Quinn was a member of our five-man, five-woman team. I pointed him out.
Butting his chest toward me, Bill shouted, “He is a persona. Non. Grata!”
When I asked why, Bill’s voice became louder still.
“Because he’s. Not. A. Believer!” His voice exploded and a few eyes glanced our way.
“Why not?” I said. I knew without asking that to be a Believer meant to believe that Tyler had never doped–that he’d been falsely accused and convicted.
“Because he’s jealous!” Bill said, as if stating the obvious. He explained that Quinn, along with a Boulder athlete who had called Tyler a doper in his blog, had come to their guilty verdicts via envy.
That is when I got Bill’s blood really boiling.
“Well, Bill,” I said, “I don’t know how to tell you this. But I’m not sure I’m a Believer either.” http://www.bicycling.com/article/0,6610,s-1-9-16564-1,00.html.
WTF? I’d write something along the lines of; Pour out the big frosty glasses of Kool Aid, boys. And tip them cups back. Get it while the gettin’s good. But that is the man’s father talking. I can understand and respect a parents unwavering support. It’s the rest of you jokers I think are idiots.
More links at topics.nytimes.com.
And, now, in April of 2009, this chapter in American cycling is finally over. The Man from Marblehead, whom I used to praise on this site as a hero, is quietly riding off into the sunset.
Tyler Hamilton retires following second positive doping test
American national road champion Tyler Hamilton is the subject of a new doping investigation, one which could possibly result in his life-time banishment from the sport.
The 38-year-old Hamilton, however, confirmed at a news conference this morning that he plans to retire from cycling. http://www.velonews.com/article/90740.
Don’t let the door hit you on the ass.
6/16/2009 Update: Hamilton gets an eight (8) year ban. Read it here: http://www.velonews.com/article/93521.
5/19/2011 Update: Tyler Hamilton tells 60 Minutes he saw Armstrong inject EPO.by