ROME – Viatcheslav Ekimov stands to receive his third Olympic gold medal in the wake of Tyler Hamilton’s doping admission. The Russian is in no mood to celebrate, though.
A former teammate of Hamilton’s with the U.S. Postal squad, Ekimov was extremely irritated by Hamilton’s detailed allegations on “60 Minutes” that Lance Armstrong and other team leaders encouraged, promoted and took part in a doping program on the way to winning the Tour de France a record seven times.
“The main point is just the total disappointment of people that you used to work with and then all of a sudden you see their real faces,” Ekimov told the Associated Press on Monday. “They’re liars.”
Ekimov was speaking by phone from the RadioShack team hotel at the Giro d’Italia, where he is directing the squad.
Ekimov joined the Postal team in 1997 and helped Armstrong to five of his Tour victories.
Armstrong has long denied doping and has never tested positive. The Texan has said that Hamilton, who was banned twice for doping despite his long insistence he never cheated, has altered his story now because he’s in search of a book deal – a suggestion Ekimov agrees with.
“Behind his story is something. First of all it’s untrue. And behind his story is some money or some stimulation,” Ekimov said. “Because why did this guy just crack now? Why didn’t he do it in 2005? … I call these guys liars. First they lie about the innocence, now they lie about something else.
“I think it’s just money. It seems to me like somebody really wants to kill Lance and put him down. There’s all this interest to find people who will say something.”