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Cycling at the 2004 Athina Summer Games:

Men's Individual Time Trial

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Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Vouliagmeni Olympic Centre, Vouliagmeni
Date Started: August 18, 2004
Date Finished: August 18, 2004
Format: 48.0 km. (29.8 miles).

Gold: RUS Vyacheslav Yekimov
Silver: USA Bobby Julich
Bronze: AUS Michael Rogers

Summary

Tyler Hamilton was the second best American road racer in the early part of the 21st century, following Lance Armstrong. Thru 2001 he had been one of Armstrong’s lieutenants on the US Postal Service team but he left in 2002 to ride for Team CSC. He was renowned for his efforts in the 2003 Tour de France, in which he fractured his collarbone early in the race, but continued to ride despite the pain, winning the 16th stage in a long solo breakaway and placing fourth in GC in Paris. In 2004 he moved to Phonak but this time had to leave the Tour de France after a back injury sustained in a 13th stage fall, and then had to deal with the death of his beloved golden retriever, Tugboat (aka Tugger). On the Vouliagmeni course, Hamilton started out slowly as his earpiece radio was broken and he could not hear the splits. But he finished the race stronger than any rider and bested the time of defending gold medalist Vyacheslav Yekimov by almost 19 seconds, winning the gold medal.

And then the excrement struck the cooling apparatus. Hamilton’s doping test showed evidence of blood doping. But it was not conclusive, and no action was taken initially, so the B sample was frozen. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) asked for a review of the tests, but with the B sample having been frozen, it was inadequate to test for blood transfusions. Because a doping positive required both the A and B samples to be positive, Hamilton was exonerated and retained his gold medal.

A few weeks later, racing in the Vuelta a España, Hamilton again tested positive for blood transfusions, and this time both the A and B samples were positive. He lost his contract with Phonak, and was banned from cycling for two years, despite appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which were rejected. When Hamilton’s ban was about to run out in late 2006, he was then implicated in the Spanish doping scandal, Operación Puerto, when faxes which seemed to be from Hamilton’s wife, Haven, showed evidence of payments for various performance enhancing drugs. Hamilton finally was able to return to competition in approved races in 2008 and immediately won the U.S. National Championship. But the entire episode took a huge toll on him financially and he and his wife divorced after the strain affected their marriage.

In 2009 Hamilton again failed a doping test and was banned for eight years and he retired from competition, of necessity. In May 2011 he admitted to doping during his career. In August 2012 the IOC disqualified Hamilton from the 2004 Olympics after he had written a letter to IOC President Rogge admitting his doping violations. Later in 2012 he published a book The Secret Race in which he detailed his doping history and implicated many professional riders for widespread doping in the professional peleton.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T
1 Vyacheslav Yekimov 38 Russia RUS Gold 57:50.58
2 Bobby Julich 32 United States USA Silver 57:58.19
3 Michael Rogers 24 Australia AUS Bronze 58:01.67
4 Michael Rich 34 Germany GER 58:09.46
5 Aleksandr Vinokurov 30 Kazakhstan KAZ 58:58.14
6 Jan Ullrich 30 Germany GER 59:02.04
7 Santiago Botero 31 Colombia COL 59:04.76
8 Igor González de Galdeano 30 Spain ESP 59:27.25
9 Fabian Cancellara 23 Switzerland SUI 59:42.38
10 Yuriy Krivtsov 25 Ukraine UKR 59:49.40
11 Christophe Moreau 33 France FRA 59:50.28
12 Marc Wauters 35 Belgium BEL 59:59.63
13 Michal Hrazdíra 26 Czech Republic CZE 1-00:07.23
14 Víctor Hugo Peña 30 Colombia COL 1-00:09.89
15 José Iván Gutiérrez 25 Spain ESP 1-00:22.80
16 René Andrle 30 Czech Republic CZE 1-00:27.29
17 Eric Wohlberg 39 Canada CAN 1-00:31.49
18 Peter Van Peteghem 34 Belgium BEL 1-00:35.73
19 Frank Høj 31 Denmark DEN 1-00:37.49
20 Thomas Dekker 19 Netherlands NED 1-00:38.05
21 László Bodrogi 27 Hungary HUN 1-00:44.31
22 Serhiy Honchar 34 Ukraine UKR 1-01:00.47
23 Yevgeny Vakker 28 Kyrgyzstan KGZ 1-01:21.10
24 Sérgio Paulinho 24 Portugal POR 1-01:25.63
25 Benoît Joachim 28 Luxembourg LUX 1-01:50.46
26 Rubens Bertogliati 25 Switzerland SUI 1-02:16.56
27 Kurt Asle Arvesen 29 Norway NOR 1-02:21.28
28 Yevgeny Petrov 26 Russia RUS 1-02:50.32
29 Stuart Dangerfield 32 Great Britain GBR 1-03:00.72
30 Dawid Krupa 24 Poland POL 1-03:07.05
31 Thor Hushovd 26 Norway NOR 1-03:10.36
32 Heath Blackgrove 23 New Zealand NZL 1-03:20.11
33 Thomas Löfkvist 20 Sweden SWE 1-03:43.70
34 Gorazd Štangelj 31 Slovenia SLO 1-03:45.84
35 Matej Jurčo 20 Slovakia SVK 1-04:22.58
36 Sławomir Kohut 26 Poland POL 1-06:19.29
AC Andrey Kashechkin 24 Kazakhstan KAZ DNF
AC Tyler Hamilton 33 United States USA [57:31.74] DQ