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Tyler Hamilton, ex-Boulder cyclist: Blood doping turned my urine black

Multiple Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong's confession last month about blood doping and performance-enhancing drugs focused new attention on Tyler Hamilton, a former Boulder cyclist and Armstrong teammate who's been pointing the finger at Mr. Live Strong for years. Now, Hamilton is a key witness in the Madrid trial of a doctor who allegedly specialized in blood doping, and the details of the scheme are shocking. Let's start with the black urine.

According to Hamilton, who reportedly testified against Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes via video link from the Spanish embassy in Washington, D.C., he paid in the range of $140,000 during a two-year period in the early 2000s for blood transfusions that were intended to make him better at his sport -- and they apparently worked, since he won an Olympic gold medal in 2004.

Problem is, Hamilton was supposed to be given his own blood, which he'd banked over time. But he maintained in court that at least some of the blood he was given belonged to one or more others.

What led him to that conclusion? "The reason I knew that is because thirty or 45 minutes later, when I went to the bathroom, my urine was black," he said.

Emitting disturbingly hued liquid wasn't the only issue for Hamilton. He argues that he only failed tests that led to his gold medal being stripped because someone else's blood was found coursing through his veins.

No doubt this turn of events angered Hamilton at the time. But he appears to have worked through these emotions en route to becoming a person devoted to exposing cycling's dirtiest secrets. Whether or not his words will ultimately lead to Fuentes's conviction, he continues to make amends for his transgressions in a manner that's a lot more convincing than Armstrong's mea culpa to Oprah Winfrey.

Look below to see three videos. The first shows Hamilton arriving to testify, the second features a news brief about his accusations, and the third spotlights Fuentes's response. The clips are followed by an NPR package featuring audio snippets from Hamilton's testimony -- including the urine mention.

More from our Sports archive: "Lance Armstrong is a liar -- and Boulder's Tyler Hamilton told us so two years ago."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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