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Date Posted: 11:46:18 09/21/04 Tue
Author: marianne
Subject: Reuters report just came out
In reply to: RockyMtnMerlin 's message, "Phonak news conference" on 11:35:54 09/21/04 Tue

>Supposed to be a Phonak news conference this evening.
>Anybody heard anything from it yet?

ZURICH (Reuters) - Olympic champion Tyler Hamilton said on Tuesday that he is "100 percent innocent" as the Phonak rider responded to media reports that he failed a drugs test.
"I'm devastated to be here tonight. My family, team, friends are all devastated and one thing I can guarantee you is I'm 100 percent innocent," the American told reporters at a news conference held by his Phonak cycling team.

"I've been accused of taking blood from another person. Anyone who knows me knows that is completely impossible.

"I can tell you what I did and did not put into my body. Cycling is very important to me but not that important. If I ever had to do that (doping) I'd hang the bike on the rack.

Phonak's riders are taking part in the Tour of Spain, where the test took place, according to the media reports.

Hamilton won the Olympic time trial gold medal in Athens and the eighth stage of the Vuelta -- a time trial -- on September 11. He withdrew from the race on Friday citing an upset stomach.

"I can guarantee you the (Olympic) gold medal will be staying in my living room until I don't have a cent left," said Hamilton. "I've worked hard for it and it's not going anywhere.

Earlier on Tuesday, Phonak team director Alvaro Pino told Radio Marca in Spain: "I received the news yesterday evening and I can't say more except to tell you that I spoke with the rider and, knowing him as I do, I'm relatively calm.

"He told me, 'Be calm, because this will work out in my favor and I'm telling you that sincerely, because there's absolutely nothing in this'."

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