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Former lieutenant says he and Armstrong supplied each other

CBS News is reporting this evening that Lance Armstrong's right hand man, George Hincapie, is among three former teammates to testify that they saw the seven-time Tour de France winner using performance-enhancing substances. The 60 minutes team claim to have learned that Hincapie's testimony is that he and Armstrong supplied EPO to each other, as well as dicussing the supply of testosterone.

Hincapie's testimony comes on the back of those by Floyd Landis and, more recently, Tyler Hamilton. Both Landis and Hamilton have been attacked by Armstrong's camp for lacking credibility after changing their stories following suspensions for doping offences. Landis famously set up a partly fan-funded 'fairness fund' to clear his name before finally admitting his guilt, while Hamilton was banned for eight years in 2009 after failing a second test, effectively ending his career.

Hincapie has no such credibility issues, is still racing with BMC, and is widely thought of as having been one of Armstrong's most loyal lieutenants. In an interview last year he described Armstrong as 'like a brother', and his testimony against Armstrong – a testimony which, if it is as reported, also implicates himself and appears to back up aspects of Landis' confession – will be seen as a major blow for the pro-Armstrong camp.

It should also be underlined that giving testimony to a US federal grand jury is not something to be approached lightly and that lying under oath can often lead to a charge of perjury and potential prison sentence.

What's certainly not in doubt is that the use of performance-enhancing drugs was rife during the years of Armstrong's grip on the Tour. A retrospective look at the top tens from the years 1999-2005 shows that on every occasion at least two of the leading riders have subsequently been banned for doping offences. In 2000 and 2003, seven of the top ten were later handed a ban, or sacked by their teams for being implicated in doping scandals, most notably Operación Puerto.

Armstrong has always strenuously denied being involved in the use of performance-enhancing drugs; his line has always been that he's never tested positive in  over 500 tests, and 20 years of competition. However, that's also true (to a lesser extent) of Hincapie, and while the big New Yorker's testimony, if corroborated, isn't a smoking gun, it's by far the most damaging yet to Armstrong's credibility. Hincapie has no axe to grind and nothing to gain by implicating himself in the use of performance-enhancing substances.

Hincapie is currently participating in the Amgen Tour of California. The Associated Press have him quoted as saying at the stage finish in Solvang today, "It's just unfortunate that that's all people want to talk about now. I'm not going to partake in any cycling-bashing. I have done everything to be the best I can be. ... I want the focus on the future of the sport, what it's done to clean itself up. I believe in cycling and want to support it.".

Hincapie has also been on Twitter to assert his position. "I can confirm to you I never spoke with "60 Minutes." I have no idea where they got their information.", he tweeted. "As I've said in the past, I continue to be disappointed that people are talking about the past in cycling instead of the future. As for the substance of anything in the "60 Minutes" story, I cannot comment on anything relating to the ongoing investigation." That's a long way from being a denial of the programme's content.

Armstrong has not released a full statement, although his spokesman Mark Fabiani, said “we have no way of knowing what happened in the grand jury and so can’t comment on these anonymously sourced reports.”

The 60 minutes program airs this Sunday in the states at 7pm ET/PT.

More on this story as we have it...

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

23 comments

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stever [65 posts] 5 years ago
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Oof, on that bombshell...

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woollee23 [99 posts] 5 years ago
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Hells ... Bells ...

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simonmb [353 posts] 5 years ago
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Even someone with a ball the size of Armstrong's must be sitting in a darkened room wondering how the hell he's going to dismiss this one...

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martincashman [29 posts] 5 years ago
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Hincapie has denied making any such statement to 60mins on his twitter account. "I can confirm to you I never spoke with "60 Minutes." I have no idea where they got their information."

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Rapha Addiction... [39 posts] 5 years ago
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He has denied talking to 60 mins but more to the point he has not denied making a statement to the federal investigators.
If he had said nothing to them about EPO use by him and LA then he could deny that on Twitter too. But as lying to a federal investigator could get him prosecuted and even jailed.........

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Grumpy Bob [20 posts] 5 years ago
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The article doesn't say that Hincapie spoke to 60 Minutes, just that 60 Minutes have seen the testimony from the inquiry.

So Hincapie can truthfully deny he spoke to 60 Minutes...

Robert

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alotronic [487 posts] 5 years ago
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KABOOM!

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dave atkinson [6258 posts] 5 years ago
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martincashman wrote:

Hincapie has denied making any such statement to 60mins on his twitter account. "I can confirm to you I never spoke with "60 Minutes." I have no idea where they got their information."

CBS aren't claiming that he did, so far as I can see, only that they know what he said to the grand jury

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martincashman [29 posts] 5 years ago
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Wasn't defending him, just saw his statement on the ol twitter box. Don't like the attitude that we should forget the past and concentrate on the future.

If people cheated and became heroes and champions on lies that needs to come out, only then will cycling have a hope of a credible and clean future.

See lots of guys waving Pantani signs at the Giro and the guy was a walking medical experiment.

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bikecellar [268 posts] 5 years ago
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"I told you so" and it gives ME great pleasure to say that.

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dave atkinson [6258 posts] 5 years ago
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sorry, should have refreshed, grumpy bob already said that  1

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abudhabiChris [692 posts] 5 years ago
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martincashman wrote:

See lots of guys waving Pantani signs at the Giro and the guy was a walking medical experiment.

Who also never failed a drugs test.  39

It does raise the question of whether we should care.

Pantani was a great rider and people loved to see him ride.

And I have to say I am warming to Clenbutador too with his aggressive rides in the Giro. He's much more interesting than the brothers Grimp.

Let them take the stuff if they like. And make the teams and doctors legally responsible for them - that will do more to stamp it out than any threats or testing, which has been clearly shown to be ineffective.

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WolfieSmith [1327 posts] 5 years ago
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bikecellar wrote:

"I told you so" and it gives ME great pleasure to say that.

I imagine a lot us had the same suspicion - and personally it gives me no pleasure to be right. We will now have to suffer all the comments from those that know nothing about the magnificence of cycling ( or the drugs rife in their own high revenue protected sports ) and the UCI will continue as before - fixing and fiddling in backrooms to cover themselves.

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Gregoire500 [104 posts] 5 years ago
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MercuryOne wrote:
bikecellar wrote:

"I told you so" and it gives ME great pleasure to say that.

I imagine a lot us had the same suspicion - and personally it gives me no pleasure to be right. We will now have to suffer all the comments from those that know nothing about the magnificence of cycling ( or the drugs rife in their own high revenue protected sports ) and the UCI will continue as before - fixing and fiddling in backrooms to cover themselves.

i hope a UCI cover-up at the 2001 tour de swiss is proven... heads will have to roll. Surely?!

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James Warrener [1083 posts] 5 years ago
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Finally this is getting interesting  39

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michophull [139 posts] 5 years ago
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I'm with Lance. As George Galloway would say; "put up or shut up !"  19

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Lungsofa74yearold [288 posts] 5 years ago
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A quick look at last nights coverage of the Mount Baldie/y stage of the Tour of California was all that was necessary to confirm that doping is still rife - 2 Radioshack boys dishing out on a fearsome climb, everyone else (including highly dodgy characters like A Shleck) in pieces all over the road. Radioshack manager is one J Bruyneel - strange co-incidence that.

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dlp [51 posts] 5 years ago
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It's difficult to believe but I'm sure Lance's camp will come out fighting Hincapie. Taking the same approach with him as with anyone else; once you cross the Texan there doesn't seem any way back.

Quite what he'd *expect* Big George to do in the face of a Federal Grand Jury begs asking. Purjor himself and face the prospect of prison to keep the code of silence presumably.

But for me the most important aspect of this is Big George's quote: "I want the focus on the future of the sport, what it's done to clean itself up. I believe in cycling and want to support it."

Chapeau George.

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rayjay [38 posts] 5 years ago
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What Hincapie said is that he never spoke to 60 minutes,he does not deny speaking to any federal investigators which suggests that he has and he's hoping it's not made public and the Armstrong case go's away.
The way i see it , look back at the tour in the Amstrong and pre armstrong era ,we know that epo was rife among almost all the peloton ,so in order to win such a tour you would have no choice but to dope ,so he never cheated in the sense to gain an advantage only just to give him self the chance to win and compete as everyone else was doping,look at all the riders caught since then ,everyone armstong rode against ,so he still won on an even playing field ,its just a shame that its got so out of hand ,look at Ricco he sees drugs as the norm and lets be honest,performances/giro you cannot say its still not happening ,and worst about tha Amstrong case is the cover up during the tour de suisse ,that takes it to another level,,,i see 2 ways of going, A life ban if your caught [no comback ever] or lets just make it legal so at least we can keep an even playing field and make sure the riders stay healthy ,one thing overlooked is the amount of good Armstrong has done ,is work for cancer and other causes far out weighs any epo scandal , yet the potential to save millions of lives through livestrong is a fantasic cause ,,,we are always looking for ways to shoot down our hero's ,I think we should just let it drop,let Armstrong carry on with his work to defeat cancer and get it in some kind of proportion ,Armstrong reputation has been damaged but lets not totally destroy Him and end up costing lives through the progress of his foundation ,,he rode in a bike race as did the other riders and none of them hurt anyone except the people around them and they the riders have to live with that because thats there choice and the way they deal with it from the first time they stick that needle in there arm,,,

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 5 years ago
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pastaman wrote:

A quick look at last nights coverage of the Mount Baldie/y stage of the Tour of California was all that was necessary to confirm that doping is still rife - 2 Radioshack boys dishing out on a fearsome climb, everyone else (including highly dodgy characters like A Shleck) in pieces all over the road. Radioshack manager is one J Bruyneel - strange co-incidence that.

I had the same thoughts running through my head while I watched it. It is possible that unlike the other competitors the ATOC was the most important race of the year for Horner and Leipheimer, so they were at their peak while the others were not. On the other hand...

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farrell [1950 posts] 5 years ago
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rayjay wrote:

one thing overlooked is the amount of good Armstrong has done ,is work for cancer and other causes far out weighs any epo scandal , yet the potential to save millions of lives through livestrong is a fantasic cause ,,,we are always looking for ways to shoot down our hero's ,I think we should just let it drop,let Armstrong carry on with his work to defeat cancer

That's what I am focussing on, I feel like I'm the only person who thinks "What is the point in the case", I'm sure this is a naive view to have but it seems fairly pointless to pursue someone with such fervour who has already retired from the sport and, doping aside, is seen as a pretty good ambassador for the sport to those on the outside.

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dlp [51 posts] 5 years ago
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I think from the FDA point of view it's the fact that at the time of the alleged offence Lance's team were US Postal: ie this was effectively state sponsored PED purchase, trafficking and use...

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monty dog [460 posts] 5 years ago
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rayjay wrote:

one thing overlooked is the amount of good Armstrong has done ,is work for cancer and other causes far out weighs any epo scandal , yet the potential to save millions of lives through livestrong is a fantasic cause ,

Don't succumb to the baloney - Livestrong spends more than $11m/yr on legal fees vs $9m/yr on 'promoting cancer'. And there's also the fancy offices, executive salaries, private jet and PR to pay for. Tell me what 'good' is this is doing for cancer sufferers? How many plastic wristbands is is going to take to bankroll the defence against the Feds, or are you telling me that's a 'worthy' cause?