Sun, May 22, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Hincapie’s testimony says Armstrong doped: TV report

AP, NEW YORK

Lance Armstrong, left, and his teammate George Hincapie toast during the start of the final stage of the Tour de France on July 24, 2005, in Corbeil-Essonnes, France.

Photo: EPA

George Hincapie, a longtime member of Lance Armstrong’s inner circle, has told US federal authorities he saw the seven-time Tour de France winner use performance-enhancing drugs (PED), according to a US news report.

A segment of the 60 Minutes report that aired on Friday in the US, one day after it broadcast an interview with another former member of Armstrong’s US Postal Service team, Tyler Hamilton. Hamilton said he also used PEDs with Armstrong.

Hincapie has often been depicted as one of Armstrong’s most loyal teammates and was with him for all seven Tour victories.

In an interview last year, Armstrong said Hincapie was “like a brother to me.”

Hincapie is among a number of former Armstrong teammates and employees who have appeared before a federal grand jury in Los Angeles investigating doping in cycling. Hamilton said he testified for six hours before the panel.

Armstrong has never tested positive and has steadfastly denied doping.

According to 60 Minutes, 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. Citing the ongoing investigation, Hincapie declined to be interviewed by 60 Minutes.

The Hincapie and Hamilton revelations come a year after Floyd Landis, who had his 2006 Tour title stripped for using steroids, claimed he and Armstrong had both used drugs while on the US Postal team.

However, while Hamilton and Landis have credibility problems that Armstrong has pointed out — both cyclists denied using drugs for years, before changing their story and implicating Armstrong — there aren’t as many issues with Hincapie.

The 37-year-old cyclist from New York has no known positive tests. He was on the Postal team even before Armstrong and once Armstrong joined it, the two were frequent roommates on the road.

After the Hamilton interview aired on Thursday, the cyclist gave his 2004 Olympic gold medal back to the US Anti-Doping Agency, which said it is working with the International and US Olympic committees on an investigation.

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