Monday, June 11, 2012

George Retires

I'm going to divert to one of my other favorite sports, cycling, for a moment.  George Hincapie, one of the leaders not only in American racing but across the professional peloton, announced today that this will be his final season.  Hincapie has raced for 19 seasons, all with American teams (Motorola, Postal/Discovery, HTC-High Road, and BMC). and has set numerous records.  Some of the most impressive is that in 3 weeks he'll take the start line for his 17th Tour de France, and if he finishes he'll have finished 16 of them, both all-time records for a rider.  He's also led teammates to victory a record 9 times (all 7 of Lance Armstrong's wins, Alberto Contador in 2007, and last year Cadel Evans).  He's also set records by completing Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders 17 times.

Hincapie is a 5-time Olympian (every Olympics since 1992) and will find out this week if he'll be part of this summer's team for the road race in London.  He's been the U.S. road race champion 3 times (1998, 2006, and 2009).  He wore the yellow jersey for the first two days of the 2006 Tour de France by winning the prologue.  Last August he won the Queen Stage (Stage 2) in the first USA Pro Cycling Challenge, the stage that took the riders over both Cottonwood Pass and Independence Pass.

George expects to race twice more before retirement.  As mentioned, on June 30th he'll start his 17th Tour de France which can be seen live daily on the NBC Sports Network.  Then in August he plans to be here in Colorado racing the USA Pro Cycing Challenge again.  Its the end of an era in American cycling but he hands the reins over to a good young group of riders like Teejay Van Garderen, Andrew Talansky, and Boulder's own Peter Stetina.

If you're in Colorado get out and see Hincapie's final race in August.  Above is a picture of George giving me (in the Rapids jersey) an autograph my my wife (besides me) takes a picture.  This was in Steamboat Springs last August before Stage 5 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.  The picture was taken by Karen over at Pedal Dancer, who should be your source for all the important cycling news with a Colorado viewpoint.

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