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Lawyer: Hamilton subpoenaed to testify

7/24/2010

The attorney for Lance Armstrong's former teammate Tyler Hamilton confirmed Friday that Hamilton has received a subpoena to appear before a federal grand jury hearing testimony in what knowledgeable sources have characterized as a potential doping and fraud case against Armstrong and other figures in cycling.

Chris Manderson said he would not comment on the schedule for Hamilton's testimony to the grand jury empanelled in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

"Tyler would prefer to stay out of the matter and focus on his training business and ongoing battle with depression," Manderson, who is based in Newport Beach, Calif., told ESPN.com. "But he has received a subpoena from the federal government. He understands his legal obligations, and will cooperate."

Hamilton, 39, is one of several former Armstrong teammates and team staff members to have been contacted by investigators led by agent Jeff Novitzky of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and overseen by assistant U.S. attorney Doug Miller, both of whom played key roles in the BALCO steroids case.

The probe was triggered last spring when Floyd Landis went public with allegations of organized doping on the U.S. Postal Service team from 2002 to 2004 when he was one of Armstrong's support riders. Landis' 2006 Tour title, won while riding for the Switzerland-based Phonak team, was stripped following a doping conviction. In May, he elected to reverse years of denial and admit that he had used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career.

Armstrong and other riders and team officials named by Landis have said Landis' claims, which he first detailed personally in a lengthy interview with ESPN.com in May and repeated for the first time on camera Friday night on ABC's "Nightline," are completely false.

The only other subpoena in the investigation made public thus far by its recipient was one served on three-time Tour de France winner and outspoken Armstrong critic Greg LeMond, who has been given a July 30 deadline to produce documents related to his breach of contract case against one of Armstrong's main sponsors, the Trek Bicycle Corporation.

Hamilton, 39, a Massachusetts native, now lives in Colorado. A talented climber and strong in time trials, he was one of Armstrong's key support riders on the U.S. Postal Service team, helping Armstrong win the first three of his seven straight Tour de France championships.

In 2002, Hamilton jumped to the Denmark-based CSC team and subsequently to Phonak. He and Landis did not overlap either at Postal or at Phonak.

Shortly after winning a gold medal in the 2004 Olympic time trial event, Hamilton tested positive for a banned blood transfusion. He contested the methodology of the test and the result itself through two rounds of arbitration hearings but eventually served a two-year suspension.

Hamilton came back to race again for parts of the 2007-09 seasons and won the 2008 U.S. road championship, but retired last spring after acknowledging that he knowingly took a supplement containing the banned steroid DHEA. He said at the time that he bought the supplement in the hopes that it would help him cope with increasingly severe clinical depression. Manderson also represented Hamilton in that case, which resulted in an eight-year ban from competition that effectively ended his professional career.

Bonnie D. Ford covers tennis and Olympic sports for ESPN.com. She can be reached at bonniedford@aol.com.