This July 7, 2004 file photo shows American cyclists George Hincapie, left, and Lance Armstrong on the podium after the 4th stage of the Tour de France race in Arras, France. (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours, File)
Greenville resident and U.S. cyclist George Hincapie announced Wednesday that he used banned substances during part of his career.
The announcement came in the wake of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's plan to release documents about doping use in connection with the case against Lance Armstrong.
In a statement released on his website, George Hincapie said in part:
"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 also said he was approached by federal investigators about two years ago, and more recently by the USADA, to talk about doping in the sport.
"I would have been much more comfortable talking only about myself, but understood that I was obligated to tell the truth about everything I knew," Hincapie said in his statement. "So that is what I did."
Hincapie, along with former teammates Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton, was one of 11 teammates who testified against Armstrong during the USADA probe, according to reports. The USADA is expected to release its decision against Armstrong on Wednesday.
"It was a long time coming. We've heard rumblings for a while about it and the evidence was piling up higher and higher and everyone kind of knew. Too many other teammates were admitting to doping," said Neil Browne, a local sports journalist and blogger.
Hincapie also said that the use of performance-enhancing drugs is no longer embedded in the culture of cycling, and younger riders are not faced with the same choices his team had.
Local cyclists are focusing on Hincapie's legacy in the Upstate rather than the scandal.
"I'm very proud of the fact that the U.S. Pro Tour was here so many years and that Greenville now has bike lanes and the Swamp Rabbit Trail ... and I think George Hincapie has been a huge part of that,"said Robin Bylenga, Pedal Chic.
Hincapie, 39, competed in 15 Tour de France races, including seven victories with Lance Armstrong, during his storied cycling career.
Hincapie retired from cycling in August after 19 years.
Hincapie Sports has planned the Gran Fondo Hincapie as a celebratory ride in Greenville on Oct. 27.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Friday, May 24 2013 11:19 PM EDT2013-05-25 03:19:38 GMT
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