Cheating, or an Early Mingling of the Blood?

“Last month, when the champion American cyclist Tyler Hamilton was accused of blood doping, or transfusing himself with another person’s blood to increase his oxygen-carrying red cells, he offered a surprising defense: the small amount of different blood found mixed in with his own must have come from a ‘vanishing twin.’

Tyler Hamilton has been suspended from competitive cycling for two years.

In other words, his scientific expert argued, Mr. Hamilton had a twin that died in utero but, before dying, contributed some blood cells to him during fetal life. And those cells remained in his body, producing blood that matched the dead twin and not Mr. Hamilton. Or perhaps it was his mother’s blood that got mixed in during fetal life.

An arbitration panel did not believe those hypotheses and said there was a ‘negligible probability’ that Mr. Hamilton was anything but guilty.

The test, they concluded in a 2-to-1 decision, shows a blood transfusion and that meant that Mr. Hamilton was suspended from racing for two years, the first and only person convicted for that offense. At age 34, near the end of his career, it could mean his championship days are over.” (New York Times )