Tyler Hamilton was given an 8-year suspension today by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
Statements in response to the penalty handed down to Tyler Hamilton by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency:
"The eight-year suspension is unfortunate and disheartening. At this time, however, my focus remains on my mother, my family, battling my depression and getting better. This has been an extremely difficult and trying period, but I am determined to get through it.
"I would like to thank Michael Ball, the Rock Racing team, my fans, family and friends, for their continued support during this time. Moving forward, I am going to put a lot of my time and energy towards helping others who face severe depression overcome the obstacles this illness brings."
Michael Ball, Rock Racing Owner:
“While we understand Tyler was given the minimum suspension under the current rules, it is unfortunate that this young man who has so much left to give to cycling both on and off the bike, will not have the opportunity to continue in the sport he dedicated so much of his life to.”
Chris Manderson, Counsel For Tyler Hamilton:
"Tyler took an herbal anti-depressant in a moment of crisis, with no intention or possibility of enhancing his cycling performance. Despite that, the rules do not distinguish between an intentional doping violation and Tyler's attempt to self medicate for depression, and the USADA Protocol imposes a minimum eight-year penalty in this situation.
"The penalty is no different than it would be for an athlete who intentionally used testosterone in competition. USADA could not have imposed a lesser penalty even if it had been understanding of Tyler's situation and wanted to impose a sanction more fitting to Tyler's lack of performance-enhancing intent. He would have no realistic chance of reducing the penalty in an arbitration hearing.
"Although we believe the sanction is exceptionally harsh and completely disproportional to the transgression, Tyler has chosen to focus on getting better instead of fighting a pointless battle against the anti-doping regime."