In my last blog I reported on Tyler Hamilton's retirement. In this blog I would like to give a few of my thoughts. First off, it has been my experience in these doping cases that you either believe the athlete or you think he/she is guilty.There is no middle ground here, people are either on one side of the fence or the other.
In the case of Tyler Hamilton, regardless of whether you believe him or not, one thing everyone should be able to agree on is that this is a tragic situation. Depending on your perspective, this is either an athlete who got caught up in the web of performance enhancing drugs, or an athlete who had difficulty handling the pressure of life and made a career-ending mistake. I am not going to debate what really happened as it will not change anyone's opinion.
What I would like to see happen is that people put their opinions of Tyler Hamilton as a bike racer aside and give him the support to deal with his depression.After all, Tyler is a human being first and a bike racer second(or third or fourth). It is quite clear that Tyler will never again ride in the pro peloton so let's put that aside for the moment. Let's try and understand why this all happened so other athletes won't be similarly affected.
You might be thinking that I am completely naive and that this is just another in a long list of lies by Hamilton, but I think at this time, we give him the benefit of the doubt and give him the space to deal with it. As I said earlier, he isn't going to be having an affect on the outcome of any bike races ever again so cut him some slack and let him try to move forward.
The cycling world seems to have it's share of riders suffering from depression. In the past few years we have lost two exceptional cyclists, Marco Pantani and Jose Maria Jimenez, to the effects of depression. Let's not to add Tyler's name to that list. Compassion and understanding go a long way here in dealing with this situation.