Tyler Hamilton joined OTB AM on Tuesday with Ger Gilroy and Eoin Sheahan following the opening episode of the Lance Armstrong 30 for 30 documentary on ESPN.
Hamilton rode alongside Armstrong with the since disgraced US Postal cycling team for three of those yellow jersey wins, that were since stripped.
Hamilton has been an outspoken critic of professional cycling since writing his book, 'The Secret Race' alongside Daniel Coyle back in 2009, when he lifted the lid on drug-taking in cycling, he feels he is still ostracised for "spitting in the soup."
"The Omerta still exists, for sure..."@Ty_Hamilton is one of the few competitors to break the doping code of silence.
He features in #Lance as a former-teammate and warns that bad actors remain involved in the sport @avivaireland #SafeToDream https://t.co/c9te4QU2uv pic.twitter.com/mPFcSyqo5G
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) May 26, 2020
Tyler Hamilton himself was stripped of an Olympic medal having failed a drug test following the 2004 Summer Games.
His first Tour with US Postal was in 1999, where the team engaged in systematic doping. this included using the "game-changer" EPO that would be secretly delivered to the team, Hamilton is certain his team was not unique.
"At the time we were doing what we thought other teams were doing anyway. The previous year was the Festina affair happened so we know we weren't the only team dabbling in the salsa. Doping in cycling at that point was pretty rampant.
"It was still obviously very wrong, at that time, it was like 'ok this is where we are, this is the battle we have to fight, let's just roll up our sleeves and get to it.'
While Hamilton admits he made the decision himself to take performance-enhancing substances, he believes refusing to do so would have seen him "blackballed" by Lance Armstrong. Although any slight, even so much as a slip in a press interview could see a rider raise the ire of Armstrong.
"You didn't want to cross Lance Armstrong," recalls Tyler Hamilton. "If he read it (interview) a different way, that could spell trouble.
"I had to apologise to Lance and Johan Bruyneel and ended up with my tail between my legs. I found out the day of the Tour I might not even go because of something I had said in the press.
"It's water under the bridge, they wanted a committed team, and they were just making sure I was committed."