In George’s words

November 2, 2015 § 27 Comments

Craig Hummer’s book, The Loyal Lieutenant, does a great job of revealing the character of George Hincapie. The book is filled with quotes by Lance Armstrong, Jonathan Vaughters, Frankie Andreu, Christian Vande Velde, Michael Barry, and Jim Ochowitz to name a few.

So what kind of guy was silent, loyal, smiling George?

“When we as a group made that decision to play ball, George and I, along with the others on the team, crossed over that threshold together.” Lance Armstrong, who wrote the Foreword to the book.

“I honestly felt I would never have to deal with my drug use.” George Hincapie.

“Milan-San Remo ended up being the final straw where [a number of us] decided we’d do it.” Lance Armstrong.

“I couldn’t compete on a level playing field without some assistance.” George Hincapie.

“I felt it was my only choice.” George Hincapie.

“I didn’t reach these decisions without careful consideration.” George Hincapie.

“I could tell from his tone and his protestations, that he’d already taken the infamous step, and that moment produced an epiphany for me. I had to do the same.” George Hincapie.

“Back then, those seemed like the only choices.” George Hincapie.

“I don’t have a choice. We have to do it to survive. Everybody’s doing it now. I don’t have a choice.” Frankie Andreu.

“I felt a little guilty.” George Hincapie.

“The thought of cheating never crossed my mind.” George Hincapie.

“I couldn’t make eye contact as I told them it wasn’t mine.” George Hincapie.

“I nervously asked for the drug.” George Hincapie.

“I exited the bathroom a changed man. I felt completely at peace.” George Hincapie.

“I also felt proud that I’d committed to the next level.” George Hincapie.

“I always tried to take the bare minimum.” George Hincapie.

“Where other teams had been good at simply cheating, we strived to be better at being professional in all aspects as required to win the Tour.” George Hincapie.

“I didn’t take any EPO that Tour because I started with a high hematocrit, or red blood cell count (my mother suffers from polycythemia vera).” George Hincapie.

“What also made Jonathan different, however, was that he was actively searching for new and better ways to dope.” George Hincapie.

“From a self-preservation standpoint, I felt it was important to know if there were any side effects.” Jonathan Vaughters.

“The biggest result of the 1999 Tour was that we started the gradual process of teaching a new generation of Americans about the sport, what it entailed, and what it took to make Lance the best.” George Hincapie.



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§ 27 Responses to In George’s words

  • Brian in VA says:

    Given enough time, effort, motivation, and practice, it’s possible to justify anything in ones mind. I haven’t read the book but is this an attempt to justify it to everyone else?

    I’ve been thinking about going to his hotel in NC for a cycling vacation but perhaps I need to learn a bit more about him before coughing up a big hunk of money.

    Thanks Seth.

    • fsethd says:

      Give your money to someone else. Craig did a good job with the book; it’s worth a read for sure.

  • dangerstu says:

    I have to say it’s not my favorite book, I feel they started with the quotes above and filled the story from there.

    Congrats to your newly expanded family grampy

  • Winemaker says:

    George did his cheating, lying and prevarication, and got away with most of it. He smiled and paid his way into a tasty career and now charges huge amounts for the cycling equivalent of the fantasy camp, where green flies pay not to be shooed away.

    His clothing line thrives, and the greedy bicycle dealers who buy his products can’t seem to discover an ethical backbone as long as there is demand. When the demand for his name and image cease to exist, he will slither away into the side of the stage, where his will re-unite with his pals.

    • fsethd says:

      Compare that with Steve Tilford.

      • Bill Stone says:

        Keep screaming at padded walls and all the former pros- who ‘ruined it for master racers deprived of their delusions that professional sports is about money’ -will kneel at the alter of Betsy and go promote healthy phony drugs, like the latest ‘sports drink’. And religion.

        • fsethd says:

          Soooo … bad people do bad things and benefit by their bad acts and get rewarded and influence others, including starry eyed young people. Not striking a chord? Maybe you need a re-tune.

    • Carlos says:

      Isn’t this “the American way”?

      • fsethd says:

        The rest of the world would say so. Of course, the rest of the world has Erdogan, Assad, Nethanyahu, Putin, etc.

  • channel_zero says:

    Blah, blah, blah. Meanwhile those who did the right thing were punished and USA Cycling supported his doping.

    And he’s passed his special logic and values onto the next generation.

    That’s just great.

  • Matt Smith says:

    “The chaplain had sinned, and it was good…The chaplain had mastered, in a moment of divine intuition, the handy technique of protective rationalization…It was almost no trick at all, hew saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth…Anybody cold do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character.” Heller

  • Doug J. says:

    Fascinating piece. Never heard of Steve Tilford before. So I did a quick search. heres a quote from Pez Cycling in 2010:
    ST: Drug usage; I rant about it on my blog – I’m not naive, there were drugs about when I started but the drugs now are so much more effective. I’ve never been away from the sport so I can tell which guys are on it – it’s not as prevalent in the US but there will still be 5 guys out of 150 who are on it. The trouble is that the risk versus reward isn’t deterrent enough – after two years you’re back and it’s forgotten about – there’s no doubt that if you took EPO you’d come out of the Tour healthier, riding the Tour isn’t good for you, living the life of an athlete doesn’t extend your life expectancy. The thing about guys who take drugs is that they’re cheating other riders out of money and memories. It’s so apparent to me the guys who are on it, they climb 20% grades with their mouths shut – for me it’s like they have an ‘X’ marked on their foreheads! I rode against Lemond, Fignon and Hinault so I know what’s possible.

    I guess he’s good, but would he have been even better on the triple B training program?!!

    • fsethd says:

      He’s more than good. I’ve had the privilege of riding with him. In his 50’s he eviscerates the top climbers here in SoCal … he is one of the few who said “No, thanks” and has paid the price.

  • hoggel says:

    I have been a fan of professional cycling for much of my life. But I didn’t have the desire to compete (train). It appears to me that anyone who would drive themselves to the top level of any professional sport has some competitive ‘issues’. After my initial devastation (lasted hours) with the revelations that came from the Armstrong debacle I am over it. From my view here on the couch it seems US Postal was the culmination of decades of doping escalation. Doping doesn’t seem much of a reach from the other obsessive behaviors necessary to win at that level. While I still follow professional bike racing, and have a few favorite riders, there isn’t much they could do that would surprise or disappointed now.

    I read the book. I appreciate Hincapie for what he accomplished in the context of the sport in that era. I buy some of his gear. I wouldn’t mind participating in his event but it costs too much and is too far away. I participated in Jens Voigt’s Gran Fondo this year. I had a good time; beautiful day, beautiful course, well organized, and he seems genuine. If it comes out that he doped … I’ll be disappointed again for a minute.

    • channel_zero says:

      USA Cycling, Thom Wiesel really, was not alone in protecting dopers and doping. This is even beyond the UCI. The IOC is okay with doping. Just don’t turn women into men anymore.

      I agree elite sport attracts a kind of personality. But, all along, the sports federation has protected dopers and doping and viewers are okay with it.

      • Bart says:

        Wiesel enabler along with his pushers Carmichael and Wenzel should be in jail. There are a few other perps that ought to be included in the paddy wagon party.

        • fsethd says:

          I got no problem with bygones. It’s the “Let bygones be a leg up for the here-and-now” that rubs me wrong.

    • fsethd says:

      Just two words. Steve Tilford.

  • Seth, I know you race and advocate others do. I also know you’re a lifestyle cyclist, so you have perspective other cyclists don’t. Hincapie and hypocrite both start with “h” and he seems to be arguing that doping was somehow inevitable or even good for the “sport.”
    Cycling is about the individual, what you or I or our friends do on our bicycles is what really matters. The triumph of those who ride PBP, no matter what their times, is 1000x more relevant to bicycling than all the “Tours” put together. Bicycle racing as a spectacle is a joke and the accomplishments of the riders– while having little relevance to anyone else to begin with– was made worthless by doping. But worse still, in America where bicyclists are marginalized to start with, doping further devalues us in the eyes of our fellow citizens. Most unfortunate when they’re behind the wheel.

    • fsethd says:

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • Bill Stone says:

      Yawn. Riding a bike means you ride a bike. Nothing more. Cyclists are no more good examples than the guys who play softball on weekends and would a been great but for corked bats

      • fsethd says:

        It’s not about being an example. Riding a bike is better for the earth and society than, for example, driving a car, even when it’s an asshole doing the riding. *Hint*

  • Jeff says:

    George never “needed” to say, “I have never tested positive…” AND I, for one, wish he could have won Paris Roubaix. I guess I’ll read the book so Craig can make some money from this doping stuff.

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