IOC: US to provide files on Hamilton doping case

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By STEPHEN WILSON, Associated Press

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — With the eight-year deadline for IOC action approaching, U.S. anti-doping officials have agreed to turn over files on American cyclist Tyler Hamilton's doping case so the Olympic body can decide whether to readjust the medals from the 2004 Athens Games.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency agreed to the IOC's request to provide the documents so it can proceed to formally strip Hamilton of the time-trial gold after he admitted doping and possibly move other cyclists up in the medals, the International Olympic Committee said Tuesday.

The case is gaining urgency because the IOC's eight-year statute of limitations for revising results runs out in August.

"USADA is looking into the Hamilton case and what we are waiting for is the result of their discussions," IOC vice president Thomas Bach said Tuesday. "USADA assured us that we will get the report before the (deadline) expires.

"They said they are aware of this and will make sure we get the information on time."

The move comes as the Russian Olympic Committee presses its bid for retired Russian rider Viatcheslav Ekimov, who finished second behind Hamilton in Athens, to be upgraded from silver to gold. American Bobby Julich finished third in Athens, with Michael Rogers of Australia fourth.

Bach said the IOC would hold off opening its own disciplinary procedures and would wait for USADA's files.

"There is still time," he said.

After years of denials, Hamilton told CBS's "60 Minutes" last year that he had repeatedly used performance-enhancing drugs. USADA said at the time that Hamilton had turned over his gold medal to the doping agency, but the IOC has not received it and the result has not been officially overturned. USADA is still investigating doping in cycling.

Before adjusting the results and reallocating the medals, the IOC wants to be certain there is nothing in the U.S. investigation that implicates other riders or their coaches from the Athens cycling competition.

One potential option is for the IOC to disqualify Hamilton but not readjust the medals.

The IOC had initially hoped to take action on the case at its two-day executive board meeting that started Tuesday in Lausanne. Now it must wait for meetings in the next few months.

Hamilton came under investigation by the IOC during the Athens Games when he tested positive for a blood transfusion in his initial doping sample. The case was dropped after his backup "B'' sample was mistakenly frozen and couldn't be properly tested.

Hamilton tested positive a month later at the Spanish Vuelta. After serving a two-year suspension, he returned to cycling but tested positive again for a banned substance in 2009 and was banned for eight years.

Standing to receive the Athens gold medal is Ekimov, a former teammate of Hamilton and seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

Ekimov already has two Olympic gold medals — the track team pursuit at the 1988 Seoul Games and the road time trial at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

The Russians failed in a 2006 appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to have Hamilton's gold given to Ekimov. But they recently sent a letter to IOC President Jacques Rogge asking for the medal.

Ekimov rode with Armstrong on the U.S. Postal and Discovery Channel teams. He retired from cycling at the end of the 2006 season but remained in the sport as a director of the Discovery and RadioShack teams.

Hamilton, who helped Armstrong win the Tour in 1999, 2000 and '01, accused Armstrong in the CBS interview of doping.

In February, U.S. federal prosecutors dropped their investigation into whether Armstrong and his team engaged in a doping program. Armstrong has vigorously denied all allegations of doping.

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