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LOS ANGELES — Universal Sports Network will present “George Hincapie: The Loyal Lieutenant,” an exclusive, in-depth, personal interview with George Hincapie, this Friday, August 22, at 8 p.m. EDT and PDT. In the one-hour special, the 17-time Tour de France veteran, three-time national road champion, and five-time Olympian offers an insightful account of his esteemed career through an era plagued by performance-enhancing drug use.
Sitting down with Craig Hummer, sportscaster and co-author of Hincapie’s memoir, The Loyal Lieutenant, Hincapie covers everything from his humble beginnings in Queens, New York to his role in one of the world’s biggest doping scandals that brought down his former teammate, Lance Armstrong.
“George Hincapie is one of the most successful cyclists and well-respected teammates in American history,” said Universal Sports Network SVP of production, Dean Walker. “His story remains a relevant topic of discussion as fans continue to struggle with the reality of a dark period within the sport and as George continues to be an advocate of racing ‘clean.’ We hope this program can serve as a catalyst to foster conversation around doping for future generations.”
Born to Colombian parents and a cycling-loving father, Hincapie began racing at age 10. After a successful junior career in which he captured 10 national titles and two world championship medals, he graduated to the professional ranks with some of the sport’s top teams and became known as America’s top classics rider. His supporting role to Armstrong in all seven of his Tour de France victories — which he has been subsequently stripped of — made Hincapie an acclaimed domestique.
“There is a point when you become a professional athlete when you realize that talent can only get you so far,” said Hincapie about his reputation as a loyal teammate. “You realize everybody at that level is amazingly good, and the small difference is your mindset, your desire to work, your work ethic — those are the things that make a difference.”
Hincapie also explains in detail how his personal involvement with performance-enhancing drugs began and the pressures that led him to turn against his friends and associates.
“I thought it was going to be this really big deal, and it ended up being like going to the pharmacy and buying a pack of gum or a pack of cigarettes,” Hincapie said about the first time bought EPO from a pharmacy in Switzerland in 1996. “I ordered the box, she handed it to me, took my money and that was it. It’s crazy how easy it was. And when I went to go inject myself, I was convinced that [doping] was the only way to continue on doing what I was doing.”
After narrowly dodging a 2006 drug test, Hincapie decided to quit doping altogether. In 2012, he retired from professional racing after a 19-year career that saw him become one of the most respected cyclists in the peloton. Following his retirement, Hincapie released a statement admitting to doping and was among 11 former teammates of Armstrong who testified during the investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that led to Armstrong’s downfall.
With regard to his current involvement with the cycling community and in developing professional cyclists, Hincapie said, “Who better than me to know what’s wrong and what’s right because I’ve done both. I think that I could be a strong advocate for cycling in the future.”