From an exchange with Tyler Hamilton dated June 26, 2006:
I have been an avid fan of cycling for 25 years, since I was five. I have enjoyed watching the sport over all these years, despite the various doping scandals over the last ten years. I remember your selfless work for Lance Armstrong during your years with Postal. I noticed how humble you always were, always the diligent Gregario for Lance when he needed you.
I cannot now and will not ever admit to something that I did not do. I have been honest and I will continue to fight to vindicate my name.
I hope that someday I will be able to prove to you that you will want to move your posters from your basement to your wall again.
I wish you the best of luck
Thank you for your reply. Please understand that I do not write these things to upset or put you off. It is extremely hard for me to tell one of my heroes that I don't believe him. You have to understand that your die-hard American fans have a huge amount invested in you. You are the antitheseis of Armstrong. Quiet, humble, a team player, you grew into a leader instead of being annointed as one. You represent the underdog, the supporter, the one no body notices as he moves mountains. This gives the rest of us hope that there is more to competition than just winning. When I would climb a tough hill, I never imagined myself as Armstrong. I pictured myself clawing back to the lead group in the green and yellow of Phonak, as the warrior, as Tyler Hamilton.
Another thing about your die hard fans is that they follow your career very closely. Most people in America don' t have any idea what the Giro d'Italia is. They watch the Tour de France every year, but they have no idea that other huge races happen. I am not one of those fans. I watched as you took the overall in the Dauphine, with Lance's support. I observed you come agonizingly close in Italy, barely losing to Salvodelli because you couldn't get out of the saddle to climb with him due to your collar bone injury. I watched with goose bumps as you won Liege. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe that you had finally made it, through hard work and perseverance. When you came to the Tour to beat Armstrong, I felt positive that it would happen. You were in shape, on your own team as sole leader, seemingly ready to topple the champ. When you abandoned after injuring your back in a crash, I remembering feeling as though it was just one more hurdle for you to climb towards your inevitable victory one day in France. Then, you won gold in the Olympic time trial. You seemed to get stronger each month, each year.
When your positive test happened, I was devistated. For the last two years I tried to believe all of your arguments. They make sense and may prove to be true, but you still could have doped. Miller never failed a test, yet was a cheat. Barry Bonds in baseball has never failed a test, but common sense says that he is probably guilty. Maybe you are innocent. If so, I will be happier than any one.
Sometimes reality sucks. Today was one of those days for EuroPeloton.