Lance Armstrong has already hit back at a 60 Minutes report set to air on Sunday in which former teammate Tyler Hamilton confessed to using banned performance enhancers and said Armstrong did as well. Hamilton said on 60 Minutes that, "I saw [EPO] in his refrigerator...I saw him inject it more than one time like we all did, like I did many, many times." He was referring to Erithropoietin, a banned hormone that regulates red blood cell production.
On Thursday night Armstrong, who famously won seven Tour de France victories after being diagnosed with testicular cancer, went after the news program in an interview with The Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz:
The show has “basically reneged” on promises made to him, Armstrong told me Thursday night, and “everyone would be frustrated” by such treatment. He said of the producer on the story, “I would not call him a straight shooter… My version of events has never changed on this, and won’t.”
Armstrong has always denied doping, and has held up as evidence the fact that he's never failed a drug test. Hamilton told 60 Minutes that Armstrong told him that he had failed one in 2001 at the Tour de Swiss.
But Armstrong's rebuttal is far less of a denial of the accusations (though he still does deny them), and more of a full-fledged attack on 60 Minutes itself. His lawyers told Kurtz that the show did not operate in good faith by refusing to provide the name of Armstrong's accuser before a planned interview. The interview never happened. Armstrong Lawyer Robert Luskin released a statement that said "Tyler Hamilton just duped the CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes and Scott Pelley all in one fell swoop." He said Hamilton was manipulating information so that he could write a book, and had changed his story. He elaborated to Kurtz on the discussions with 60 Minutes:
Luskin said in an interview that he had repeatedly informed CBS that “if you want us to respond meaningfully beyond a simple denial, you need to tell us who the witnesses are.” He said some of the allegations were nearly 15 years old and that some of the accusers could be “people in the Lance-hater category who have made sworn statements at odds with what they’re telling 60 Minutes now.”
Meanwhile, Floyd Landis, who won the Tour de France in 2006 but tested positive for doping and was stripped of his title, can hardly conceal his schaudenfreude. He had kind words for Hamilton in an interview with Cycling News: "He's a person that got caught in a bad situation and although it can be hard for people to understand from the outside, I hope they try. That's all you can ask for really."
Here's a preview of the 60 Minutes segment:
Update: 12:40 p.m. Hamilton has handed over his 2004 Olympic gold medal to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, according to the Wall Street Journal. But he still reportedly denies doping at the games.
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