The Star Witness: George Hincapie


Candid moment with George from a few years ago

At this point, would give Big George a hug and ask Lance when he was going to man up. 3 AM Taipei time and awoke to a disturbance in the force after a long day riding in Taiwan. Heard new email chimes, checked, and followed a link to George’s statement admitting he doped. Then his affidavit.


In his own words

Big George did the right thing today. His statements to USADA are why Lance quit the sport and didn’t fight the charges. George is the star witness with the smoking gun or in this case, a syringe.

And yes it matters because Lance is a liar who can’t own the past, admit it like a man, and help heal the sport that made him wealthy. We also learn from George that Tyler and Landis aren’t crazy, bitter ex-employees. Lance’s PR can’t spin George the same way or paint him with the same crazy brush.

Blogging the sport and industry has given me access to insiders that told me this statement and more like it were coming. That Lance doped, the industry knew it, and either denied or waited for the day it all came out. Expect soul searching on the campuses of Nike, Trek, Oakley and others that participated in the greatest marketing story ever sold. Lance’s heroics are a story more elaborate and contrived than Valentines day or that diamonds are rare and valuable.

The story blew up today because the USADA released their dossier on the USPS Cycling Team investigation. Expect more statements to follow from Levi, et al.

Here in Taichung, at the center of the bicycling universe, I’ve got more riding to do and companies to meet. Yesterday was a National Holiday and this country’s past time is riding on bike paths. We rode with them.

Note: Bike Hugger is in business with Hincapie Sports. They make gear for us that we retail. I’m more committed to continuing that relationship now that the truth is coming out.


I’m not sure it merits a hug. Hincapie came clean after exhausting not only all of his alternatives to the truth, but the consequences of being suspended.

But I’m not really mad, either—not for shattering the myth of St. Lance, and not for doping. Football players make devastating, illegal hits. We write off lunches and new toys as business expenses. We drive 60 MPH in a 55 zone. Changing cultural attitudes about any of those things is hard work.

Totally agree with Champs. No hug here. He admitted to doping publically only after being cut a deal. He admits to racing dirty until 2006 and clean after that. That have him 6 clean years to come forward and tell the truth and 11 dirty years.

When you admit to doing wrong because your testimony is coming out, that’s cowardice.

Parallel construction: An employee of Bernie Madoff is engaged in stealing money with his boss.

Feds say “you won’t go to jail if you testify” so he does. He then keeps silent on it until the day his testimony is released.

Not brave. Not outing anyone. Indicting self with minimal impact because sworn testimony is made public is all it is.

Rider 4 = Bobby Julich?  See Pez article here,

So, basically the USADA’s testing regime can’t actually detect dopers, and depends on pro cyclists testifying against each other to get convictions.  Lionel Hutz would be proud:

Judge: Mr. Hutz w’ve been in here for four hours. Do you have any evidence at all?
Hutz: Well, Your Honor. We’ve plenty of hearsay and conjecture. Those are kinds of evidence.

The hug comes from the relationship I have with the Hincapie family. The script that the 11 teammates are following in statements and repeating the talking points of everyone was doing it isn’t that satisfying a confession or contrition neither is George pledging his allegiance to Lance in his testimony. But from an Omertà to this is noteworthy and an indication of more to come. To recap, George just admitted he doped with Lance during the dynasty and this is his best friend.

@max eyewitness testimony isn’t hearsay or conjecture. George and 11 other Lance teammates are testifying that they doped with Lance. Do you need to see Sandusky perform the acts to believe he did it or rely upon the testimony of eye witnesses?

Also in the files released today, is retested samples that show blood manipulation and the positive test for cortisone.

@spokejunky yes.

My observation is that the order of coming clean is nearly inversely proportional to what each rider has to lose (personally) at that moment multiplied by plausible deniability.

i.e. Hamilton and Landis came clean after spending a sizable amount of money fighting it. I wonder after reading Hamilton’s book, what would have happened if he had the money / resources available to LA.

There seems to be just as many LA haters as ‘heads in the sand’ people out there. Yep, he was one of the largest cogs in the machine, but he’s just a cog - what bothers me is the ‘larger cogs’ that will walk away unscathed in all of this (and yes - I’m aware of the phonetic play in the word ‘cog’)

The report (and I took time to read most of it last night), didn’t contain any surprises (although the ‘intimidation’ section IMHO is pretty weak and nearly irrelevant as it’s written).

Hopefully, now that the ‘plausible deniability’ for LA has gone to essentially zero, he’l redeem himself somewhat and finger / pressure the other ‘cogs’ in the machine to come clean as well. If it stops with LA, then (IMHO) the whole thing has been a relative waste - telling us things most of the public already privately accepted.

In short, I disagree with dissing the riders like George that simply played out the equation. Each one made a personal decision to come clean when the equation worked for them. The important thing is to pat them on the back for finally doing the right thing - no matter when that was (that’s forgiveness from all us ‘glass house’ residents folks). That should include (when he hopefully does come clean) - LA. He’s just playing out his own variables in the equation and IMHO he still has the most to lose.

To hate him because he was more successful at working (cheating) the system and favor those who were less successful (not for lack of trying just as hard) is a bit hypocritical.

I’m still hopeful that this will have a lasting, substantive impact on cycling - and not just the American side of it.

Well said Kevin. There was a rationale to all this.

@Byron - I personally posted my thanks to George on his web-site statement on behalf of my 5 year old that simply LOVES to ride his bike.

I ran alongside him through is first duathlon this past summer. While watching the grimace and smile on his face the whole way - I thought about this whole sordid affair, and how I pray it’s sorted out should he decide to move beyond age-grouper.

I care less about what these guys did then. I care more about what they do now and in the days ahead. I also don’t care about their motivations - so long as they are doing the right thing for the future of the sport and my 5 year old. I’m selfish that way.

I still don’t get the whole point of approving of the cyclist now they were forced to come clean.

>>To hate him because he was more successful at working (cheating) the system and favor those who were less successful (not for lack of trying just as hard) is a bit hypocritical.<<

Analogy: Guy cheats on his wife. He denies it. Covers up phone records, gets a second credit card she doesn’t know about to bill things for his affair. Goes on for a decade.

That woman gets sued for something and he’s forced to testify about their affair.

The day that goes on the record he say “oh, yeah, I cheated. Sorry.”

I dislike that guy.

Second guy cheats on his wife, but takes photos of his mistress on his phone. His wife finds phone right away.

I dislike that guy too. But he had cheating and stupidity. The other guy had a decade of lies, compounded lies and collusion. Not the same thing.

It’s cool to not care about the motivations of the guys who came clean, except that they didn’t do it to clean up the sport, they did it to save their own asses from jail. Because they established a principle of staying silent until it’s utterly too late, they didn’t really do anything for the right thing of your sport.

If they’d come clean even a day before this went public, that would be a different issue. But admitting to doping when your testimony is made public, that’s not coming clean.

@david - fair enough, but not hating / disliking someone doesn’t imply that you like them.

I’m simply saying that I approve of the action of coming clean and that without really knowing their personal motivations - we shouldn’t jump to our own conclusions about what those were.

I was just making an observation regarding the equation that seems to have some amount of correlation to when they each came clean - that’s all.


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