Smokey the Bear pays his respects to George Hincapie in Golden, Colorado prior to the BMC American's last road race in the professional peloton.
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BMC rider hopes to stay involved in the sport
George Hincapie has confessed to doping during part of his career but has claimed he raced clean after 2006 and hopes to stay in the sport as a role model to young riders. USADA today announced he has been suspended.
Hincapie retired in August after the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, ending a 18-year career. He was named as one of 15 riders who had “knowledge of the US Postal Service Team and its participants’ doping activities."
In a statement issued via his lawyer, Hincapie said: “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.”
“Three years ago, I was approached by US Federal investigators, and more recently by USADA, and asked to tell of my personal experience in these matters. 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. So that is what I did.”
“Cycling has made remarkable gains over the past several years and can serve as a good example for other sports. Thankfully, the use of performance enhancing drugs is no longer embedded in the culture of our sport, and younger riders are not faced with the same choice we had.”
USADA confirmed in their statement that Hincapie and the other riders have been suspended and disqualified appropriately in line with the rules.