The Outside Blog

Dispatches : May 2011

Tyler Hamilton Accuses Lance Armstrong of Doping

The New York Times reported Friday that former professional cyclist Tyler Hamilton has surrendered his 2004 Olympic gold medal after admitting to doping during his cycling career. The article states that the International Olympic Committee has been in touch with the United States Anti-Doping Agency and, according to IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau, "has taken note of Hamilton’s confession and will, of course, study any potential Games-related implications.” Hamilton won the gold medal in the Athens 2004 time-trial race. If he is stripped of the gold medal, the title would go to Viatcheslav Ekimov, the silver to American Bobby Julich, and the bronze to Michael Rogers, of Australia.

The news came after yesterday's CBS report in which Hamilton accused seven-time Tour De France winner and Lance Armstrong of doping. Hamilton, a former teammate of Armstrong's, told CBS's Scott Pelley in a soon-to-air interview that he and others saw Armstrong inject the blood-boosting drug EPO on several occasions. Hamilton claims that Armstrong used EPO during the 1999 Tour De France—the first year Armstrong won—and to prepare for the 2000 and 2001 races. Hamilton and Armstrong were teammates on the United States Postal Service team during those years.

"What did you actually witness?" Pelley asked Hamilton.

"I saw it in his refrigerator. I saw him inject it—more than one time."

"You saw Lance Armstrong inject EPO?"

"Yeah, like, we all did."

Lance Armstrong is currently the focus of a federal investigation on doping in cycling, a story Outside covered in our October 2010 issue. Last July, Hamilton was subpoenaed to appear before the federal grand jury. While Hamilton's attorney confirmed the subpoena to, he would not comment on the schedule of Hamilton's testimony.

After Hamilton won the gold medal in 2004, he tested positive for a banned blood transfusion. He retired in 2009 after admitting taking a supplement containing a banned steroid and is currently under an eight-year ban from cycling.

A teaser of the interview can be seen at The full interview will air Sunday, May 22 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

--Michael Webster

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Expedition Bolivia: Lactic Acid and Gummy Bears

Chemistry Lab: Gummy Bear Experiment from GOi2P on Vimeo.


On day five of Expedition Bolivia, the i2P team ran another 38km and continued taking time to demonstrate some basic science in recognition of the UN's International Year of Chemistry. The team began in the Salar de Uyuni salt flat, where they extracted and enriched lithium. Now they're looking at body chemistry. After some lactic acid tests, the team illustrated how sugars are burned in the body, much to the chagrin of one unfortunate gummy bear.

i2P is an organization that aims to inspire and educate youth through adventure learning and inclusion and participation in expeditions. The team plans to continue running through May 22, covering nearly 200 miles across Bolivia. For more on Expedition Bolivia, see Outside's recap of day 1 and day 2, or the i2P web site.

--Michael Webster

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Sign of the Rapture: Hincapie Accuses Armstrong

Today's reports that George Hincapie has flipped on Lance Armstrong don't bode well for the seven-time Tour de France winner (and frequent Outside cover subject). Unlike previous Armstrong accusers Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis, Hincapie didn't go public with his accusations—he reportedly told federal investigators, not a TV or newspaper reporter, that he witnessed Armstrong use performance-enhancing drugs. And unlike Hamilton and Landis—both of whom were suspected of doping long before they came clean— Hincapie has a sterling reputation, no ax to grind, and no feasible way to profit from accusing Lance. Hincapie and Armstrong were best friends. This is akin to Andy Pettite testifying against Roger Clemens, Kathy Hoskins testifying against Barry Bonds. So, how will Armstrong respond? An hour ago, he tweeted that he was going to meet with the Nike Livestrong team. The dam may be breached. —ABE STREEP


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Packing for Haiti

I'm leaving in a couple days for Haiti with Medical Student Missions to help teach a Wilderness First Responder course and work in a cholera clinic. Along with a small wad of clothes, running shoes, and Blundstones, here's the essentials crammed in a Patagonia MLC wheeled backpack. 

Ben's DEET mosquito juice: combined with permethrin-treated clothing, this is nearly 100% mosquito-protective.

Ex-Officio bug-retarding, sun-protective shirt and Patagonia GI Pants, both sprayed with Ben's permethrin mosquito repellent.

Alcohol hand sanitizer.

Potable Aqua chlorine dioxide water purification tablets.

Sawyer SP140 water bottle with 0.1 micron filter.

Rx: Chloroquine antimalarial, azithromycine and ciprofloxacin antibiotics, loperamide.

Petzl Tikka headlamp.

Docs: Passport, emergency credit card, SOS International evac insurance, emergency contact list.

Sunscreen, sun hat.

Cocoon silk seeping bag liner, also nuked with permethrin.

Telecommunications: Dell Mini 10, iPhone, Panasoinc Lumix camera.

Stethoscope, nitrile gloves, scrubs.

Anything I'm forgetting?

--Christopher Van Tilburg, MD

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Irons Family Breaks Silence, Acknowledges Drug Use

The family of Andy Irons has released a statement acknowledging that drugs played a role in the late surf champion’s November 2 death in a Grand Hyatt hotel room in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport.

In the press release issued Saturday, the family said, “We know that Andy's life and death were tainted by drugs and are ready to accept the Medical Examiner’s findings.”

The release follows Thursday’s order by a Dallas judge that Irons’s autopsy report—due to be made public the following day—instead be released only to Irons’s widow, Lyndie. The full ten-page report, which is a public document, will now be unsealed on June 20, according to assistant district attorney Ashley Fourt.

In addition to the acknowledgment, the family contends that this latest motion to delay the report wasn’t their doing and, like everyone else, they’re “still anxiously awaiting the results.” (The Ironses' attorney received a copy of the report on Friday, in accordence with the court order.)

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