Hincapie’s Bombshell: “I Doped.”
The announcement is not much of a shocker: we predicted it during and after the Tour de France folded this year, when Hincapie announced his retirement.
The timing was too coincidental with the charges being made public by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency against seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong.
In their statement at the time, USADA said they had 10 people lined up to reveal the inner workings of the U.S. Postal Team and how they cheated.
When Armstrong declined to defend himself against the USADA charges, he also prevented any news–or testimony from his ex-pals, to come out publicly.
However, now that the USADA is preparing their final documentation for consideration by the International Cycling Union (UCI) to determine if Armstrong should be stripped of his Tour de France titles, written testimony from Hincapie is bound to be included–and could soon become public. That document is now available online.
Hincapie may be one of the persons who also allegedly traded a reduced penalty from the USADA in exchange for revealing details about Armstrong’s banned substance usage. It is precisely this quid pro quo that Armstrong’s lawyers argued should not be allowed, since it could potentially encourage those talking to say things that weren’t true.
Perhaps in a public relations effort to dull the shock of the USADA revelations, Hincapie made a statement himself today. In his statement Hincapie said he has been clean of all performance enhancing drugs since 2006, and has been working to help rid the sport of cycling of this horrible habit.
He also said he started doping when he realized that he could not compete without doing so.
STATEMENT FROM GEORGE HINCAPIEPosted on Wednesday, October 10, 2012
For over 30 years I have dedicated my life to cycling. I have always been determined to compete at the highest level, in one of the most physically demanding sports. With hard work and success have come great blessings from the sport I love.
Teammates have become dear friends and I have worked hard to earn the respect of my competitors. I have been associated with managers and team officials whose professionalism is unparalleled. Wonderful fans have supported my family and me since I began this great journey. For all of this and more, I am truly grateful and proud.
Because of my love for the sport, the contributions I feel I have made to it, and the amount the sport of cycling has given to me over the years, it is extremely difficult today to acknowledge that during a part of my career I used banned substances. Early in my professional career, it became clear to me that, given the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs by cyclists at the top of the profession, it was not possible to compete at the highest level without them. I deeply regret that choice and sincerely apologize to my family, teammates and fans.
Quietly, and in the way I know best, I have been trying to rectify that decision. I have competed clean and have not used any performance enhancing drugs or processes for the past six years. Since 2006, I have been working hard within the sport of cycling to rid it of banned substances. During this time, I continued to successfully compete at the highest level of cycling while mentoring young professional riders on the right choices to make to ensure that the culture of cycling had changed.
Hincapie has long been one of the favorite racers in the United States. With his charming personality, easy smile, and obvious fealty to his team–whether it was U.S. Postal, or his latest BMC, Hincapie captured the hearts of Americans.
His friendship with Armstrong was legend. Where that friendships stands today is anyone’s guess.