Hincapie’s Gran FRAUDO wanders ever further into The Absurd

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 13.39.35 alternate realities? string theory, perhaps, where near-identical universes thrum alongside each other, where other variations of you live out their existence doing the same stuff but with different outcomes? or the confirmation that the world has truly gone bat-shit crazy?


whatever it is, George Hincapie and his cheery band of fellow travelers have somehow managed – again – to write their own histories. Hincapie IS NOT a drug cheat. he is in fact a good ol’ boy who gave and still gives a whole load of something back to cycling. god bless him and the flea-bitten horse called Hypocrisy he rode in on.


for his Gran Fraudo this year, a whole raft of guys who know a crapload about hiding needle marks will be attending. Lance will be there, Michael Barry and Tom Danielson too. Dave Zabriskie was supposed to join in but has since said he can’t make it – perhaps he’s realised the absurdity of this thing that is nothing less than a de facto celebration of cheating to win. perhaps not.


a whopping 27 sponsors are lining up for the ride, that costs $215 to enter on the line. a gran fondo in Europe will cost somewhere in the region from $30 to $100. and it’s not a difference in scale – La Marmotte in France draws up to 7000 people and the cost is 50 euro. not quite sure why Georde’s Fraudiolo is so expensive – maybe you’re paying per doper?


cos you sure get your money’s worth if that is the case.


some are going to say ‘but hey, this is for CHARITY.’ well whoop-de-doo. let’s rewind. the reason these guys are drawing crowds is because they are famous, successful ex-professional bike riders. the reason these guys are famous, successful ex-professional riders is because they doped so very well and had the cash to get away with it. the message here is that doping pays. and the ‘it’s for charity’ stuff – only the truly naiive would fail to see that this can be used as a cloak to deflect criticism. it also means a nice little tax-break at the same time – double ker-ching.


there are countless other ex-pros out there who NEVER doped who would be happy to do a ride for charity who are not raging sociopaths, but for whom nowhere near enough people would turn out. why? because people are just plain f*cking stupid. if you are going to this event then yes, you also, are firmly tucked away in that category. and a quick note on Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp, and why is Vaughters letting you go?) and Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing), Brent Brookwalter, Tejay Van Garderen and Larry Warbasse (all BMC) – sort your shit out, fellas. you can read their reasons for doing this here at VeloNews – but be warned, cos it MAKES NO SENSE. it will hurt your head.


George has this to say on the whole Fraud thing:

“The Fondo is not supposed to have an intended or implied message; at least that’s not what we are shooting for,” he bleated. “It’s just a celebration of cycling with friends [italics mine] and fans that also supports what we feel are important causes.”
a celebration of cyclists who doped.
let’s get that straight.
“The Fondo also helps promote what a great region this is for cycling, and brings people here to ride. It even gets people who may have never thought about getting on a bike to challenge themselves and try it out. I have a few personal friends that are now totally into cycling as a result of the event, and it has changed their life.”
[hand slaps forehead].
George, the crap you and your buddies got up to changed many lives too – it forced countless riders from pursuing a career in a peloton they knew was dirty, it robbed clean riders of victories and contracts, and it worked the dirty great stain that is doping in cycling ever deeper into the fabric.
enjoy that alternate reality lads. looks like you’re having a blast.

Author: Lee Rodgers

Cycling coach, race organiser, former professional cyclist and the original CrankPunk.

32 thoughts

  1. Great stuff Lee, crap like this needs to be called out for what it is. i am as dumbfounded as you are that this is for real. and the worst part is the younger riders that are participating.

    1. The comments from the current pros were especially terrible. Teejay motor pacing with Lance, Warbasse, Howes, Busche joining the dopers admiration society tells you no one is protecting the integrity of the sport.

  2. Wow. I’m surprised Crankpunk that’s it’s taken you this long. Where was your outrage the last two years about this event? The same pros (and even more) have been at this event before and they even have some new ones like Joe Dombrowski. So maybe the fact that many pros return year after year to these Fondos is because they don’t give a crap about your opinions and realize the past is the past.

  3. So, it’s a friendly with a bunch of ex-professional riders. So what? Just because a bunch of these guys cheated means that they should not be allowed to ride their bike? It is a non-competitive event. Maybe we should make it illegal for Armstrong and any busted dopers to purchase bicycles. Yeah…that would show them. Maybe George shoud tell USA Cycling that they don’t want their “sanctioning”. These ex-professionals have done a lot wrong in their lives that was made very public. Riding their bike in a friendly is not one them…for sure.

    1. It’s a gran fondo sanctioned by USA Cycling. That means WADA rules apply. If the organizer had gotten their own event insurance like so many already do, then you would be right.

  4. Why do people show up at this and Levi’s event? I don’t get it. IMO, that means the fans are part of the doping problems.

    USA Cycling ignorance and behaviour around this event is shameful. No wonder the sport has credibility problems.

  5. I didn’t realize it was b/c they didn’t get their own insurance…I think, if I were George H, I might do that. I agree that people come out and watch these guys and they are “convicted” cheaters. Still, there are lots of people that never would have ridden seriously or followed cycling if not for these guys. So, I don’t begrudge them wanting to see them ride or, even, ride with them. I think that the argument that fans are part of the problem is a stretch. The fans just want to see awesome racing…it is hard to see something that Armstrong did…and it was pretty awesome…and then just turn that off in your mind. He cheated. But some of that racing was awesome.

    1. I think the real problem was how the international bicycling organizations treated doping. If you were American they threw the book at you. If you were a European then a slap on the wrist. Contadore cheated and only served a six month suspension. Spain’s judgment was even less severe. Then the media made him out as a hero! Since he and other got caught their performances have been feeble at best. I agree these cheaters don’t deserve or respect. However what do you want to do? Keep them from riding a bicycle? If people are willing to pay to ride with them they have thats their right. If you choose not to then that’s your right. Getting all bent out of shape only provides free publicity for their right.

  6. Nice read. I also ready your older George post. I always thought what about all the Euros that were on Postal at the time? They got off scott free… although a slap of 6 months is really the same thing. While I believe the devil must pay his due I thought the way that was handled was way off base and too late. This doper fondo just reminds us of it…….

  7. Ya know here is a thought…. If you hate these guys so much, why are you seeking places to bash them. OK — they were wrong in what they did – some said so, some didn’t — past is past. If these guys want to ride — Hell I am all for it. Just keep USAC out of the picture. In my opinion, they more or less said OK, we will sponsor this. WRONG CHOICE in my opinion.. Sorry but let GH and his buddies flip the bill on this one.

    1. Agreed RG. The Grand Fondo gets a lot of people out cycling in Greenville. They run a great operation. No need for USAC. Ive promoted races without them and they have actually turned out much nicer.

    2. I actually agree. Just get some event insurance and do registration through the half-dozen sites that already do it.

      But, the ties to USAC go a little deeper, George and his doper pals were paid sometimes handsomely by Thom Wiesel, the guy that owns USACDF and by proxy USAC. Thom did the USPS sponsorship deal. You don’t want to p!ss off the guy has a government sanctioned monopoly on bike racing in the U.S. (Except Oregon) George has a USAC development squad too.

  8. Nicely done! One wonders about the current guys so eager to prove pro cycling has turned the page and is now oh so clean. What do they expect fans to think when they pal around with all these cheaters? They want all the fans to forget about the past and see credibility in current performances, but refuse to distance themselves from the cheats. I think I know how it makes you feel and I’m feeling the same way. “Cheating for Charity” is still…….well……cheating. I’m happy the authorities told Tex he can’t play, if he wants to raise some dough for this charity he should show up and let ’em sell rotten tomatoes to be thrown at him. I’d pony up for a few!

  9. You think this years tour riders aren’t still doping? Lars Boom finishing Paris Roubaix with an average speed over 25 MPH on cobblestone should be a hint. Likely they are just masking better.

    1. Well, but Lars is a former CX world champion who is nearly always in the last selection in the Belgian spring classics before disaster strikes. That particular stage isn’t too long compared to say Paris-Roubaix either. We haven’t seen him transform to grand tour podium winner, or even a suddenly exceptional TT rider either.

      What counts against him is his time at Rabbobank and their formal voluntary doping program with Lienders. Maybe it didn’t work for him. Maybe he didn’t volunteer.

      The problem here is the UCI is not a reliable source of integrity for the sport so it’s impossible to say one way or another. We just don’t know. Meanwhile, we know very well that USA Cycling embraces doping. Thom Wiesel still runs the federation through USACDF.b

  10. Why are you so angry? Very few –
    If any – people were robbed from their place in the peleton by these “dopers.” It just made the gap a larger gap. I am tired of hearing all the whining from people who claim they would have been professional cyclists had other not been doping. Maybe you need to come back to reality and realize you were not good enough.

    1. hi Aaron, i’m generally content with my lot, and after i quit cycling just before i turned 18 i never entertained the thought of becoming a professional bike rider. didn’t regret quitting for a second. when i came back to cycling, to lose some weight, almost 20 years later, and ended up being a professional rider (for a short while and at what most would call a ‘low’ level) – all that was just a massive bonus – and a blast. i’m not ‘whining’ on my behalf, nor anyone else’s. personally i get tired of people who cannot see beyond their first knee-jerk reaction and refuse to listen to what others believe is wrong with all this. if you’re happy with cheats being lauded as champions and ‘good guys’ – and if you can’t see what’s wrong with current pros riding along with them – and them still making money out of their successes and ‘failures’ (getting caught for doping doesn’t seem too much of a hindrance to being successful over there in America), then, yeehaw. if you’d like to sit down and have a chat over this, and maybe talk to some American riders from big teams that rode clean and do feel they were cheated, i’d be happy to set that up.

    2. Aaron, you can’t understand someone being angry with a cheater? That’s bizarre. I hate dishonesty. Not sure why you condone it.

  11. Late to the game but YES I can’t believe a single person signs up for George’s ride or Eggtimer’s either. I have absolutely zero interest in riding with or paying to ride with a dirty fucking cheater. Just shows that people love celebrity more than they love morality. I have no idea why you’d forgive George his doping.

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