Huffpost Sports
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Graham Bensinger Headshot

Tyler Hamilton: Lance Armstrong Said He'll Make My Life Hell

Posted: Updated:

I recently sat down with cyclist Tyler Hamilton at his Montana home. The interview is for a new episode of In Depth. Hamilton opens up about his use of illegal performance enhancing drugs and reveals details about the alleged illegal drug use of his former teammate and close friend Lance Armstrong.

Highlights:

In the spring of 2011, Tyler Hamilton appeared on the television program 60 Minutes to discuss his use of performance enhancing drugs where he made allegations against Lance Armstrong. Shortly thereafter, Hamilton ran in Armstrong in a restaurant in Aspen, Colorado. Hamilton says that Armstrong told him, "'I'm going to make your life a living hell both in the courtroom and out of the courtroom.'" Hamilton goes on to add, "... Lance Armstrong is a powerful dude. Very powerful and so did he intimidate me? Yeah..." Watch clip:


Hamilton openly discusses Lance Armstrong's use of performance enhancing drugs. "... I saw Lance take testosterone. I took it with him, testosterone, EPO, blood
transfusions... I only saw him do one blood transfusion..."Watch clip:

Hamilton alleges that Lance Armstrong had a positive test for cortisone during the first week of the 1999 Tour de France. According to Hamilton, Armstrong told him that it would be taken care of, "... basically predated a prescription from a doctor, and obviously, people, within the governing body of the sport, knew about it and they okayed it... and it just went away." Hamilton also alleges that Armstrong tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug EPO in June 2001. Hamilton says that Armstrong "told me ... that he had a positive test for EPO..." and continues by revealing that Armstrong told him, "... that calls to the right people were going to be made, and this test was going to just disappear..." Watch clip:

Hamilton was a member of the U.S. Postal teams from 1999 to 2001 when Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France three years in a row. Armstrong went on to win four more after Hamilton left the team. Hamilton says, "we rode through a dark era of cycling... Lance Armstrong, myself and some of our teammates doped to win at least the first three Tour de Frances that I was involved in... doping was involved with the team to help him win the Tour de France." Hamilton goes on to add, "... a lot of people say, 'Oh, well, if everybody is doping, it's an even playing field,' but it's not. It's not. It takes a lot of money. It takes a lot of people power. It takes a lot of connections." Hamilton does not believe that Armstrong would have won the Tour de France seven times without the aid of performance enhancing drugs: "...he might have won one or two maybe... I don't think he really won seven Tour de Frances. I think that's fair to say." Watch clip:

During the height of his career between 1998 and 2004, Hamilton believes the majority of the peloton was using performance enhancing drugs "... I'd be surprised if it was as low as like 85 or 90 percent..." Watch clip:

Hamilton explains why he felt honored to be asked by the US Postal Service team to begin using performance enhancing drugs: "... I'm being invited into that inner circle, so to speak... when I was given my first EPO shot ... basically the writing's on the wall. I'm going to the Tour de France..." Watch clip:

After winning a gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Athens, Hamilton tested positive for blood doping. Hamilton denied blood doping or taking any performance enhancing drugs. Why he lied: "... the only way I'm going to be able to continue in this sport is if I fight it... by no means can I tell the truth now because, if I tell the truth, I'm going to tell the whole truth, and that will probably ruin 60 careers, staff included, riders and staff if I tell the whole truth..." Watch clip:

In June of 2010, FDA investigator Jeff Novitzky contacted Hamilton and ultimately issued a subpoena to testify in front of a grand jury investigating performance enhancing drug use in cycling. Hamilton claims that Lance Armstrong's lawyers offered to represent him for free, but he declined. Hamilton testified before the grand jury, "but I still felt this sense of like I've got to keep this omerta going because I don't want to ruin any lives. I felt kind of guilty for having to tell the truth, but once I told the truth, it was a huge weight off my back." Watch clip:

Hamilton shares that if he had to do it over again he would not have chosen to become a professional cyclist. He says he wishes he had finished college and had a different life: "it was a dark, dark road that I chose to take ... I just wish I'd made the right choice. The right choice was the path less taken or at least tried to do it clean." Watch clip:

Tyler Hamilton reveals how he blood doped and the time that almost killed him. Watch clip:

Tyler Hamilton shows his scarred veins from blood doping and shares when a doping session went awry. Watch clip:

Watch full Tyler Hamilton episode (above clip links contain content from full episode and also bonus content unable to make full episode due to time constraints):

Graham Bensinger's Facebook page is facebook.com/GrahamBensinger and his website is GrahamBensinger.com. Follow Graham on Twitter @GrahamBensinger. Email Graham at Graham@TheGBShow.com.

From Our Partners