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Cyclist keeping gold but could still be banned

MOSCOW -- The Russian Cycling Federation criticized the
IOC's decision to drop its doping probe of gold medalist Tyler
Hamilton, who edged a Russian rider in the time trial at the Athens
Games.

An initial test led to suspicions Hamilton had used a blood
transfusion to boost his endurance. But the International Olympic
Committee abandoned its probe last week because the American's
backup specimen mistakenly was frozen and there weren't enough red
blood cells left to analyze.

Hamilton still faces a possible two-year ban over a separate
positive blood test at the Spanish Vuelta two weeks after the
Olympics. His Phonak team said both blood samples he provided there
came back positive.

Hamilton insists he is innocent and has vowed to clear his name.
But Russian federation president Alexander Gusyatnikov told the
Sport Express newspaper that the blood test results at the Olympics
and the Spanish race point to wrongdoing by Hamilton.

If Hamilton had been stripped of the Olympic gold medal, it
would have gone to Viatcheslav Ekimov. Hamilton will keep his medal
because an athlete is considered guilty of doping only when both
samples come back positive.