Thank you to everyone who participated in our first Gran Fondo Hincapie. It was an amazing experience for me to lead my friends and supporters along my favorite roads in my hometown. I hope that you had as much fun as I did.
Not only were we able to enjoy a great bike ride, but we were also able to raise money for the Meals on Wheels organization. Through these funds, thousands of warm meals will be provided for homebound residents of Greenville County this holiday season.
The Gran Fondo would not have been possible without all of the amazing volunteers and sponsors. They did a fantastic job of keeping things safe and organized and keeping us well fed and hydrated. Thank you to each volunteer and sponsor for your support.
At the end of this year's ride, I asked if everyone wanted to do it again next year and heard an overwhelming "yes". So mark your calendars for October 26th, 2013 and stay tuned for early bird registration specials.
Join George Hincapie and cycling stars of the past, present and future on a ride celebrating George's retirement after 19 years as a professional cyclist. View the leaves changing from one season to the next as George leads cyclists along the same roads he has ridden in training for races like the Tour de France and the Paris-Roubaix. After completing the ride, join family and friends for a fun festival at the picturesque La Bastide hotel. Complete with live music, cold beer, and rides for the kids, this festival is a great way to cap off the day.
For over 30 years I have dedicated my life to cycling. I have always been determined to compete at the highest level, in one of the most physically demanding sports. With hard work and success have come great blessings from the sport I love.
Teammates have become dear friends and I have worked hard to earn the respect of my competitors. I have been associated with managers and team officials whose professionalism is unparalleled. Wonderful fans have supported my family and me since I began this great journey. For all of this and more, I am truly grateful and proud.
Because of my love for the sport, the contributions I feel I have made to it, and the amount the sport of cycling has given to me over the years, it is extremely difficult today to acknowledge that during a part of my career I used banned substances. Early in my professional career, it became clear to me that, given the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs by cyclists at the top of the profession, it was not possible to compete at the highest level without them. I deeply regret that choice and sincerely apologize to my family, teammates and fans.
Quietly, and in the way I know best, I have been trying to rectify that decision. I have competed clean and have not used any performance enhancing drugs or processes for the past six years. Since 2006, I have been working hard within the sport of cycling to rid it of banned substances. During this time, I continued to successfully compete at the highest level of cycling while mentoring young professional riders on the right choices to make to ensure that the culture of cycling had changed.
About two years ago, I was approached by US Federal investigators, and more recently by USADA, and asked to tell of my personal experience in these matters. I would have been much more comfortable talking only about myself, but understood that I was obligated to tell the truth about everything I knew. So that is what I did.
Cycling has made remarkable gains over the past several years and can serve as a good example for other sports. Thankfully, the use of performance enhancing drugs is no longer embedded in the culture of our sport, and younger riders are not faced with the same choice we had.
I am proud to be part of the cycling community, and believe we continue to make positive changes to our sport. I applaud the extraordinary achievements of my fellow riders on and off the bike. Cycling is an incredible sport that not only requires unbelievable physical ability to ride hundreds of miles a day for many days on end; it also requires a certain type of dedication, ambition and character. I have been fortunate to compete with teammates whose commitment and talent will be hard to match. As a rider I have dedicated a large part of my career to helping those teammates succeed. As I begin the next chapter in my cycling life, I look forward to playing a significant part in developing, encouraging and helping young riders to compete and win with the best in the world.