Hincapie and Armstrong’s ex-wife implicated by ex-US Postal riders’ affidavits
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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hincapie and Armstrong’s ex-wife implicated by ex-US Postal riders’ affidavits

by VeloNation Press at 11:37 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Dept. of Justice official acted to verify witness testimony remained constant between Federal and USADA investigations

George HincapieBoth former US Postal Service rider George Hincapie and Lance Armstrong’s ex wife Kristin have been connected to performance enhancing products by the Sunday Times today, with journalist David Walsh writing that each were implicated by former riders who gave evidence to USADA.

Hincapie has long been rumoured to have admitted the use of performance enhancing products to both Federal investigators and USADA, although he has not publically confirmed that.

The rider, who was the only team-mate to be present during each of the Tours Armstrong took yellow to Paris, retired after the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, and is rumoured to be preparing to give a public statement.

Today’s article states that an unnamed rider told investigators that Hincapie said he had been searched at US Customs while returning from Europe. EPO was allegedly found in his luggage, although the rider apparently escaped repercussions when he convinced the officials the medication was prescribed.

The piece also implicates Kristin Armstrong [note: not the rider of the same name – ed.] of distributing banned substances at the 1998 world road race championships. The race was the first championships for Armstrong after his return from cancer, and he finished fourth.

According to the Sunday Times, a rider told investigators under oath that Kristin Armstrong handed out cortisone pills wrapped in tin foil to the US Postal riders who were on the USA national team for the road race.

Again, the rider in question is not named, but the article states that Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde and Levi Leipheimer joined previously-known testifying riders Floyd Landis, Tyler Hamilton and Frankie Andreu in giving evidence.

At least four other current and former riders are thought to have spoken out about their time with the US Postal Service team. It is believed that these include Jonathan Vaughters, Tom Danielson and Dave Zabriskie.

Kristin Armstrong was previously summoned to testify under oath during the SCA Promotions legal case, which ran between 2004 and 2006. Represented there by her ex-husband’s lawyer, court documents show she refused to answer many of the questions put to her.

Walsh’s article includes other details, including testimony from one rider that Armstrong and his wife referred to EPO as butter – due to the location in the fridge where it was stored by them – as well as the claim by another that Armstrong had 1999 team doctor Pedro Celaya replaced by Luis Garcia del Moral because the former wouldn’t give riders enough doping products.

“We might as well be riding clean,” said Armstrong, according to that rider.

Walsh’s story also explains an important detail that wasn’t previously disclosed; namely how USADA may have confirmed that sworn testimony given to it matched that previously gleaned by Federal investigators.

The journalist states that US Justice Department official Mike Pugliese sat in on USADA’s sworn interviews with witnesses, checking their statements then with what the same individuals had said under oath in the previous enquiry.

The detail is an important one as it shows how USADA was able to ensure riders didn’t change their stories and thus perjure themselves.

The agency launched its own enquiry after the Federal investigation was unexpectedly put on hold by US Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. last February. Birotte’s office has thus far declined to hand over the evidence gathered during that first investigation, but Pugliese’s work appears to have served to bridge the two enquiries.

Armstrong has already been handed a lifetime ban by USADA due to his decision not to fight the charges against him. He has also had all of his results since August 1st 1998 stripped from him.

Walsh states that USADA’s case details and evidence against Armstrong are likely to be given to the UCI this week. The two sporting bodies had a tense exchange in recent days over a perceived delay in passing on the information.

USADA CEO Travis Tygart recently told l’Equipe that when the full details are published, that the details will be “terrible, 30 times greater than everything that has come out until now, through books or investigations.”

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