While I certainly understand that Lance Armstrong is the subject of a Federal Grand Jury investigation and will, as such, be the subject of the mainstream-media’s scrutiny, I’m more than a bit stunned at the coverage coming from the cycling press. Both Sports Illustrated and Bicycling have now covered the leaked news that George Hincapie admitted doping with Lance as a purely Lance-based article. Take this headline from SI’s site that says “Hincapie tells feds he saw Armstrong use banned substances,” or this one from Bicycling.com “Hincapie Says He Saw Armstrong Dope.”
Scan a few paragraphs down and you find this admission “I saw it in his refrigerator… I saw him inject it more than one time like we all did, like I did many, many times.” Update: Sorry, as per the commentors that quote was attributed to Hamilton, not Hincapie. The paragraph I should have cited was in the Sports Illustrated piece: “Using unidentified sources, ‘60 Minutes’ reported that Hincapie testified that he and Armstrong supplied each other with the endurance-boosting substance EPO and discussed having used another banned substance, testosterone, to prepare for races.”
While George’s statement about Lance could be construed (in legal circles) as damming, there’s a big point here that the cycling press is skipping over—George Hincapie says he himself doped.
Where are calls for him to serve a ban from cycling, to testify to the UCI, to return any prize money he earned from Le Tour (after all he got a share of Lance’s win). Why are we only focused on Lance and not on the whole problem? Sure, it’s easier to look at someone like Lance or baseball’s Barry Bonds and point fingers—they’re the big targets. But this is huge news about George and it’s being covered as huge news about Lance. Neither the Bicycling nor the SI piece dedicate any space to Hincapie’s career and how doping changed his stats. Not…a…word.
If we’re going to really tackle the problem of doping in cycling we have to look at all the dopers, otherwise it’s a witch hutch. It doesn’t matter if Lance was dirty if we only focus on him and ignore those around him who also were dirty.