American cyclist George Hincapie has been contacted by the lead investigator of a federal probe into doping in professional cycling, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The newspaper reported Saturday that a person familiar with the matter said Hincapie is "likely" to agree to talk to investigator Jeff Novitzky, a special agent with the Food and Drug Administration, when he returns to the United States after the Tour de France.
Zia Modabber, Hincapie's attorney, confirmed to the newspaper that he had spoken with Novitzky but shared no details. "My desire is to let George do his job with as few distractions as possible," he told the Journal.
The federal doping investigation was spurred by allegations made by Floyd Landis in emails sent to cycling and doping officials. Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour title for doping, said the use of banned substances was common on the US Postal team when he rode with Hincapie and seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong.
Hincapie told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he was bothered by the Landis allegations. "It bothers me, because I've been doing this for 17 years and never heard anything bad about me," Hincapie said.
"You can go ask any of the cleanest teams in the peloton — Jothan Vaughters, Slipstream, Columbia. How many times they've offered me contracts and wanted me to ride for them because of my reputation, and because they have done the due diligence on me, and then you have someone attacking me."
Armstrong has repeatedly denied using performance-enhancing drugs, and his lawyer reacted angrily to the latest developments. "Garbage in — garbage out," Armstrong attorney Tim Herman said in an emailed statement. "The more appropriate investigation and use of taxpayer money would focus on the confessed fraud committed by Landis, an admitted perjurer with an agenda."
American cyclist Tyler Hamilton, who rode with US Postal from 1995 to 2001, said in an email to the Journal that he is aware of the investigation and would co-operate if subpoenaed.