One of Cadel Evans' senior teammates, George Hincapie, has admitted doping but says he stopped long before helping the Australian to his 2011 Tour de France triumph.
The American's confession came as the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) on Wednesday revealed all of its evidence in the investigation of countryman Lance Armstrong, including testimony from Hincapie and 10 other former Armstrong teammates.
Hincapie was a US Postal Service teammate of Armstrong when the US cycling legend won seven Tour de France titles in a row from 1999 through 2005.
The vastly experienced Hincapie joined American team BMC Racing in 2010, the same year as Evans, and was a valued lieutenant as Evans rode to his historic victory in the Tour de France last year.
Admitting to doping while riding with Armstrong, he said on Wednesday he had not taken performance-enhancing drugs since 2005.
USADA stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour crowns and imposed a life ban upon him in August.
USADA sent a report on its findings to the International Cycling Union (UCI) on Wednesday.
Hincapie posted a link to his statement on his website and Twitter account as USADA revealed the full extent of its probe.
‘‘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,’’ Hincapie wrote.
‘‘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 apologise 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.’’
Hincapie tried to bolster cycling’s already doping-stained reputation.
"Cycling has made remarkable gains over the past several years and can serve as a good example for other sports," he said.
"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."
USADA chief executive Travis T Tygart praised Hincapie and other admitted dope cheats who came forward to give evidence against Armstrong.
‘‘The riders who participated in the USPS Team doping conspiracy and truthfully assisted have been courageous in making the choice to stop perpetuating the sporting fraud, and they have suffered greatly,’’ he said.
‘‘In addition to the public revelations, the active riders have been suspended and disqualified appropriately in line with the rules.