The CBS television news program “60 Minutes” reported that American cyclist George Hincapie told a federal grand jury that he discussed using anabolic steroids with Lance Armstrong. CBS reported that the testimony of the former teammate of Lance Armstrong also included statements about providing erythropoietin (EPO) to each other. George Hincapie was a domestique for Lance Armstrong who was crucial in helping Armstrong achieve seven Tour de France victories.
On Friday, CBS reported that they had evidence that another of Armstrong’s former team-mates George Hincapie had told the federal inquiry that he and Armstrong had given each other EPO and that they had discussed the use of another banned drug, testosterone. Unlike Hamilton and at least two other former team-mates of Armstrong, Hincapie was not interviewed by CBS – citing the ongoing FDA inquiry in which he is apparently a witness – and the television station did not name a source for their report.
George Hincapie flatly denied talking to CBS. He questioned where CBS obtained their information but Hincapie did not deny the veracity of the statements attributed to him by CBS. The report comes only days after CBS reported that Tyler Hamilton publicly accused Lance Armstrong of using steroids.
Grand jury testimony is supposed to be kept secret. If George Hincapie did not provide CBS with details of his testimony, it may be likely that someone has leaked, in violation of federal law, the content of Hincapie’s testimony.
If CBS’s report is true, Hincapie joins the list of three other former teammates of Lance Armstrong who have claimed Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Frankie Andreu, Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton were all subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury investigating Lance Armstrong and the used of PEDs in cycling.
Mark Fabiani, the attorney for Lance Armstrong, released the following statement in support of George Hincapie:
In its unpardonable zeal to smear Lance Armstrong, CBS has also attacked the reputation of George Hincapie. We are confident that the statements attributed to Hincapie are inaccurate and that the reports of his testimony are unreliable. George Hincapie and his counsel have publicly said that they did not reveal any aspects of his testimony. The only others with access to Hincapie’s testimony — government investigators and prosecutors — have likewise assured us that they are not the source of the information attributed by CBS to Hincapie. CBS’s reporting on this subject has been replete with broken promises, false assurances, and selective reliance on witnesses upon whom no reputable journalist would rely. This latest alleged revelation is no more reliable than CBS’s earlier claims.
Hincapie has not publicly discussed the use of PEDs in cycling. This is in sharp contras to Andreu, Landis and Hamilton who have all decided to publicly accuse Lance Armstrong of using PEDs. Hincapie has repeatedly expressed his desire to focus on the future of cycling and not on the past. However, Hincapie was legally compelled to truthfully testify about PEDs, under penalty of perjury, before the grand jury investigating Armstrong.
Photo credit: Dave Strom