Hincapie to retire after 19 years

Mon, 11 Jun 15:18:00 2012

Tour de France stage winner George Hincapie is to retire from cycling after this year’s edition.

George Hincapie signs autographs before the 82.3-mile Stage-8 of the Amgen Tour of California from Santa Clarita to Thousand Oaks, California - 0

The three-times US national road champion, a winner of four Tour stages, will contest the world-famous stage race in June and July then the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in August before bringing down the curtain on a 19-year career.

"This is definitely not a decision that has been easy," Hincapie, 38, said. "I came to the conclusion that I want to go out while I can still contribute and make a difference.

“To be able to compete for 19 years as a professional cyclist has been something I would have never dreamed of doing. But at the same time, it's also going to be good to spend more time with my kids, who are getting to be the age where they miss me when I'm gone."

Hincapie said he still hopes to play a pivotal role in his swansong Tour, having

played an integral role in helping team-mates like Cadel Evans (third at the Critérium du Dauphiné) and Alessandro Ballan (third at Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders) to success recently.

“I'm still feeling strong and healthy and ready to make a contribution to the team these last two months,” he added. “I'm 100 per cent motivated to help Cadel win another Tour."

Evans, the defending Tour champion, said he was saddened to hear the news.

"I'm hoping that he'll change his mind, probably like many other cycling fans around the world will do when they hear the news," Evans said.

“George is incredible. He's the core of the BMC Racing Team and not just on the road as a captain, but also in the structure of the team. He's a part of so many aspects of everything we do because of his tremendous leadership.

"It's a dream at this point [to end his career with an Evans Tour win], but it's a dream that I'd like to deliver to George to thank him for all the sacrifices he's made for me over the past few years."

BMC Racing Team President Jim Ochowicz said Hincapie has cemented his legacy in the sport.

"George was the first big rider to believe in the BMC Racing Team," Ochowicz said. "He's led us through the past three years of the classics and grand tour seasons as both a leader and a team-mate.

“I am very proud that he was able to start as a professional with me on the Motorola team in 1994 and that I'm still with him at the end of his career. It's been an honor to bookend the career of one of the nicest people and one of the greatest cyclists America has ever produced."

Hincapie is a five-times Olympian (1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008) and will set a new record with a 17th participation in the Tour this year.

He shares the record of 16 Tour starts – he has 15 finishes - with Dutchman Joop Zoetemelk; he has helped a team-mnate to win the three-week race a record nine times.

Eurosport

Comment 1 - 21 of 21

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  1. A true athlete. One of the sports most unsung heroes.­ Sad to see you go George.

    From Robert, on Wed 13 Jun 12:53
  2. A great team captain who rode selflessly for others, it­ had to happen sometime but I wish him well and hope he­ stays in the cycling scene.

    From Simon, on Wed 13 Jun 11:34
  3. I'm a British cycling fan and a huge fan of Big­ George. Surely he'd have won much more if he­ hadn't given the best years of his career to­ helping another rider win 7 Tours. I, for one,­ appreciate your contribution to the sport and I'll­ certainly miss you. Farewell big man and chappeau.

    From Terry, on Wed 13 Jun 11:23
  4. A real loss to the peloton. One of them true stallworts­ of the pack. One of my favourite riders. He'll be­ missed

    From Paul, on Tue 12 Jun 20:02
  5. Comment hidden due to its low rating. Show

    finally mediocre cycling career ends, about time it­ should have ended 10 years ago

    From TamerAir, on Tue 12 Jun 19:52
  6. Hope he finally writes the book after his retirement­ and tells all

    From mutty, on Tue 12 Jun 19:20
  7. What a legend he's been to the sport. Gonna miss­ you George! Best wishes!

    From Deluded Dippershyte Muppets Gayson And Rogy PMSL, on Tue 12 Jun 17:06
  8. Unfortunately he wont get anywhere near yellow this­ year. His job is way too important unless Cadel­ crashes out. Maybe a gift stage would be nice.

    From si1268, on Tue 12 Jun 17:01
  9. WAY TO GO GEORGE!!! You should be proud of have given­ your best years to the sport you love... now is fair­ that you give your everything to the ones you love. No­ regrets.

    From Hector R, on Tue 12 Jun 15:49
  10. Sad to see you retiring George, you have been a­ mainstay of the Tour for a good few years and been in­ tems that have won them a number of times. Hope you­ enjoy your retirement

    From , on Tue 12 Jun 15:28
  11. Thanks for all the great years, George. Hope to see you­ on the road during this year's Tour, and to be able­ to say 'goodbye' and 'good luck'.

    From Francis, on Tue 12 Jun 13:25
  12. A great cyclist and teammate...and a really good guy­ all-around! Hope he has a fruitful Tour and a­ wonderful retirement!

    From Jim, on Tue 12 Jun 10:25
  13. If he gets the chance for a day in yellow this time­ around hopefully Garmin will keep out of the way.­ Chapeau G

    From RiChArD, on Tue 12 Jun 9:25
  14. I remember the first time I saw George. It was the­ Stowe Road Race held at the Trapp Family inn on­ Smuggler's Notch. The Pro I/II did two laps. ­ George just motored away from everyone including the­ likes of Knickman and Moniger

    From Bill K, on Tue 12 Jun 7:03
  15. 8 messages of congratulations for 19 years of toiling.­ May your retirement be greeted with more respect than­ you have received by the yahoo readers

    From webbski, on Mon 11 Jun 22:37
  16. nice guy george hope to see you in paris to wish you­ well

    From steve t, on Mon 11 Jun 21:12
  17. A true legend of the sport, has worked tirelessly for­ years in the aid of others. Whos going to drag the­ peloton around france for 3 weeks when hes gone ? ­ Hopefully a fitting tribute to him at this years tour .

    From S, on Mon 11 Jun 20:51
  18. sad news but going out on top is the best way!!!stayed­ in shape all these yrs,proved to be a great ambassdor­ for the sport,enjoy it big guy!!!

    From spartacus, on Mon 11 Jun 20:01
  19. Big George has never looked bigger!

    From Horatiu, on Mon 11 Jun 19:28
  20. legend!

    From Vítor, on Mon 11 Jun 16:29
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