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Cyclist Tammy Thomas Indicted for Hindering US Government's Steroid Probe


Former U.S. national team cyclist Tammy Thomas has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of hindering the government's steroid probe.

The 36-year-old Thomas is accused of lying to a federal grand jury investigating the BALCO steroid ring that spanned across several sports. The 2001 Track Cycling World Championships silver medalist is also accused of obstruction of justice.

In 2002, Thomas was banned for life from competition by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after testing positive for banned steroids.

Thursday's indictment accuses Thomas of lying when she testified she never used performance-enhancing drugs. She also is said to have lied when she testified that she did not get illegal drugs from chemist Patrick Arnold, who was convicted in the BALCO scandal earlier this year and is serving a three-month sentence in a U.S. federal prison.

Thomas has always has maintained her innocence and said the positive results might have been triggered by contraceptives she was using.

Authorities have ordered her to make an initial appearance January fifth in federal court.

Prosecuting attorney Kevin Ryan said investigators working on the case had been surprised at the number of athletes found to be using banned drugs since the BALCO probe began.

The probe has exposed steroid use in athletics, baseball and American football. The government is investigating San Francisco Giants baseball star Barry Bonds on suspicion that he also lied to the grand jury that he did not use performance-enhancing drugs given to him by his trainer Greg Anderson.

Anderson pleaded guilty to steroid distribution and money laundering charges for which he served three months in prison. He was sent back to prison on a contempt of court charge for refusing to testify against Bonds.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.