Hincapie and Hamilton thought likely to be interviewed soon in relation to Landis allegations
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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hincapie and Hamilton thought likely to be interviewed soon in relation to Landis allegations

by Conal Andrews at 11:26 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Armstrong’s lawyer calls for investigation into others to be dropped

George HincapieFormer US Postal Service rider George Hincapie and Tyler Hamilton are believed likely to speak in the near future to FDA investigator Jeff Novitzky, who is looking into allegations of systematic doping on the team. The riders, who are former team-mates of seven-Time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, have not yet been interviewed, but are expected to do so in the weeks ahead.

Hincapie is currently competing in the Tour de France with the BMC Racing team. According to the Wall Street Journal, a person they describe as ‘familiar with the matter’ has told them that Hincapie’s lawyer has been talking to investigators, and the rider is likely to agree to meet Novitzky after the race finishes.

Hincapie's Los Angeles attorney Zia F. Modabber has indeed confirmed that he spoke to Novitzky, but said that he wouldn’t discuss the matter with the newspaper. "My desire is to let George do his job with as few distractions as possible," he said.

The Wall Street Journal contacted Hamilton by email. He confirmed that he hadn’t yet spoken to Novtizky, but would do so if required. “I am aware that there is an investigation of other people in progress, and if I am subpoenaed to provide information, I will provide my full cooperation.”

Prior to the start of the Tour de France, the Journal said that at least two riders had already been interviewed, and so the number of those who have or will be called to give evidence is growing. The newspaper suggested that other riders will also speak after the end of the Tour, and that the enquiries are gathering pace.

"The investigation has reached out pretty widely," confirmed David Howman, director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency. "There has been significant progress."

The newspaper said that the criminal investigation isn’t aimed at prosecuting smaller riders, but rather it could see charges brought against team leaders and team directors who enabled or encouraged others to take banned substances.

During the Tour of California, Landis made a wide number of claims against former team-mates and others, admitting that he doped during the 2006 Tour de France and throughout his career. His allegations related mostly to those who had been with him on the US Postal Service team, including general manager Johan Bruyneel, seven time Tour winner Lance Armstrong, and others such as Hincapie, Hamilton, Dave Zabriskie and Michael Barry.

Former Directeur sportif John Lelangue was named by Landis and faced questioning by the French cycling Federation (FFC) in mid-June. This week it emerged that Bruyneel has also been heard, with the Belgian federation (KBWB) questioning him recently.

Armstrong has dismissed Landis’ claims, saying that he had no credibility and suggesting that the rider was motivated by revenge.

In a move that is likely to have zero impact on Novitzky, the Texan’s lawyer Timothy Henman released a statement today calling for the investigation to focus on Landis alone. He wants the FDA to drop any inquiries into his client.

"The more appropriate investigation and use of taxpayers' money should focus on the confessed fraud committed by Landis, an admitted perjurer with an agenda," he said in a statement.

"These kind of leaks and the stories based on them, are inaccurate, are extraordinarily unfair and are used for publicity and advancing personal agendas."

He also blasted the newspaper for its latest story. “Garbage in, garbage out. That's the best way to describe the Wall Street Journal article today based on improper leaks and discredited innuendo about the investigation into Floyd Landis's ever-changing stories.”

However Landis’ allegations have been backed up by Bernhard Kohl, who finished third in the 2008 Tour de France and won the King of the Mountains title, but was then disqualified after testing positive for CERA.

"That was exactly the way I also did it," he told the Wall Street Journal, referring to Landis’ description of how the transfusions were carried out by the team. "The details of the blood bags and the checking for cameras and microphones, the cutting up of the bags and flushing them in the toilet…it all took place in exactly that way."

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