Hincapie to race another year. Watch out, Joop Zoetemelk
BMC’s George Hincapie, married with two young kids and at the ripe old age of 37, wants to race another year. That might be smashing.
Should he ride the Tour de France this year and next, he’ll break the record for most tour starts held by Joop Zoetemelk. He’d rack up an astonishing 17 tours and would also seriously boost sales of all Hincapie Sportswear apparel.
The man amazes us and we think George wants a cycling record that will never be broken, something impossible to surpass physically and mentally, a feat even his close friend with the seven Tour victories can’t come close to matching.
Yeah, sure, Lance you got those seven yellow jerseys but hate to say it, I got the golden record for tours of duty. You want livestrong? Try beating that endurance record if you think you’re tough.
17 Tour de Frances. You feel a little exhausted just saying the words and typing them out. Holy anaerobic nightmare Batman — the BMC must stand for Big Man Chronologically. He might as well offer to run the Tour de France for ASO when he finally retires. Who else would know more about the Frenchie grand tour? He’s got a Tour PhD and a French wife — why not skip South Carolina for Provence?
Meanwhile, George is still searching like the old U2 song because “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” That would be the elusive monster career-defining win in the Tour of Flanders or his beloved and bedeviling Paris Roubaix.
Who isn’t hoping the nicest guy in the peloton doesn’t somehow, some way pull out a major classics win this season? A victory that reverses a career beset by bad luck and almost wins? Let’s pool our mojo and will Mr. Hincapie to that Roubaix victory he so richly deserves. If there are gods and poetic justice and even half functioning karma, the cycling saints owe him one.
It’s been a rough go for all of us George fans. Lady luck has rarely given George a big smooch and when it came to a supply of good fortune, he was often George Handicapped.
Who doesn’t still doesn’t flinch at the memory of George in the 2002 Paris Roubaix, all planets aligned, podium guaranteed, only to watch him crash hard into a ditch while young teammate Tom Boonen rides on?
Who can’t still picture the Roubaix velodrome in 2005, Boonen, Flecha and Hincapie entering together only to watch with inevitable disappointment as the track-savvy Boonen swoops down the bank to take the win? So achingly close to that rock chunk trophy.
Who isn’t still shaking their head about what happened to George in the 2006 edition? Looking super-strong and riding at the front with confidence, George suddenly does a Cirque de Soleil flip over his bike. A snapped handlebar, another hard luck tale.
Hincapie has also had his share of bad luck in Le Tour. Who isn’t still bitter about July 18th, stage 14, Colmar to Besancon? George jumps in the breakaway and is the virtual yellow jersey. He battles to the finish-line, giving it everything, hoping for that personal reward after so many years in the service of Armstrong. He misses by five freakin’ seconds and the blame spreads everywhere — Garmin for chasing too hard, Radio Shack for being stingy and HTC-Columbia for not negotiating hard enough.
In any case, Hincapie just keeps riding. So maybe it’s time for all of us to give George Hincapie a boost, an out-pouring of psychic good will and positive vibrational energy. If we all focus over the next few weeks, that should equal a 1 to 2% increase in George’s power-output and deflect any potential mishaps.
We’re gonna miss the big guy and his Hollywood size jaw and his steady, unwavering gaze and down-to-earth friendliness. You could spend the next ten years buried in google trying to find a mean spirited remark from Hincapie about anyone or anything.
We’re glad to hear that George will race another year and maybe take a shot at breaking the record for most tour starts. He deserves a record of his own.