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Tyler Hamilton fired by cycling team, which is barred from pro tour

| Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2004

Olympic gold medalist Tyler Hamilton was fired by his cycling team two months after testing positive for blood doping.

The Swiss-based International Cycling Union, or UCI, said Tuesday the Phonak team told the governing body that the American rider's contract was terminated last week.

Hamilton later confirmed the move on his Web site.

"After many discussions with team management, we concluded together that it would not be possible for the team to continue at the level we hoped with my name on the roster," he said.

Phonak was denied a racing license by the UCI yesterday because of the team's doping problems. Hamilton and two other Phonak riders have been charged in drug cases in the past three months.

The decision means Phonak is barred from competing in all major events next year on UCI's Pro Tour -- which includes the Tour de France.

Phonak told UCI about Hamilton's dismissal while the organization was considering whether to issue the tour license, but the governing body said the decision to fire Hamilton made no difference in its decision.

"This team does not provide guarantees in respect of sporting ethics as they apply to doping," UCI's licenses commission said. "Its admission to the UCI Pro Tour would ... harm the image of cycling as a sport."

Hamilton's contract was scheduled to expire in December 2005.

Paralympics

Paralympic powerlifter Darrell Tyrone Banks was suspended for two years yesterday by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after testing positive for steroids. Banks, 36, of Birmingham, Ala., tested positive for Boldenone from a sample collected on Sept. 10. His suspension, which was retroactive to Nov. 3, also calls for Banks to forfeit all competitive results since Sept. 10.

Softball

Penn State announced the signings of outfielder/first baseman Danielle Kinley, from Carlsbad (Calif.) High School; Shana Madura, from Slate Hill (N.Y.) Minisink Valley; and shortstop Kayce Zielinski, from Arlington (Texas), to letters of intent. The Nittany Lions opens the season Feb. 18 against Missouri at the Crimson Classic in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Soccer

Chelsea got a game-winning goal from Frank Lampard with two minutes remaining and beat Fulham, 2-1, yesterday to advance to England's League Cup semifinal. American Brian McBride had Fulham's goal. Watford, which plays in the League Championship Division, eliminated Premier League club Portsmouth, 3-0, in the day's other match. Today's quarterfinal matches are Manchester United vs. Arsenal and Tottenham vs. Liverpool. The winner of the League Cup, England's second-tier tournament, gets into the UEFA Cup next season.

Tennis

Andy Roddick is known for his power. He'll need patience, too, in the Davis Cup final against Spain. Playing on red clay in front of an expected record crowd, Roddick might need to tone down his serves and ground strokes a bit when the best-of-five series starts Friday, with the United States looking for its first title since 1995.

Roddick, Mardy Fish and the doubles team of twins Mike and Bob Bryan are underdogs. They probably would be favored anywhere but Spain -- and on any other surface. Roddick is 12-0 against the members of the Spanish team: former No. 1s and French Open champions Carlos Moya and Juan Carlos Ferrero, plus Tommy Robredo and Rafael Nadal.

Off the field

Michael Phelps' drunken driving trial has been scheduled for Dec. 29. Phelps, 19, who won eight medals at the Athens Olympics, was stopped by a state trooper on Nov. 4 for running a stop sign in Salisbury. Maryland's drinking age is 21.

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