Hincapie to race another year. Watch out, Joop Zoetemelk

Hincapie. 17 Tour starts?

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.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email
  • Jennifer Knecht

    Excellent blog about one of my (and many people's) favorite cyclists, and great news that he will ride another year!! I agree wholeheartedly with all you said, and the focus of all my good will and positive vibes will be aimed towards him to finally win P-R. Indisputably one of the classiest guys to ever get on a bike.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Thanks for writing in Jenn. We'll put your vibes together and see what we can do for him. Matt

  • ridesforbeer

    He needs a cool nickname… any suggestions??

  • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

    I like BMC — Big Man on Cobbles. Butmaybe something more aggressive like Hincapie the decapitator. Matt

  • greg

    zoetemelk finished all his tours (16); hincapie's finished 14 of 15; has anyone finished 15 tours?

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      A good question, my guess is no. I'll do a google and see what I can find. Matt

  • Capo Mele

    There are two riders who finished 15 times: Lucien van Impe and Vjatceslav Ekimov. Stuart O' Grady also has the possibility to finish for the 15th time as he finished his 14th Tour de France last year.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Hey Capo, thanks for the information. Ekimov was a beast and O'Grady is true to his nickname, the fightening freckle. Matt

  • Scouse Pete

    Great piece on George. I'm still fuming about the antics that snatched a Yellow-for-a-day from the Big Man in 2009. If I remember right, Wiggo admitted that Garmin were under orders to chase down the breakaway. Did George refuse to wear Argyle socks or something? Let's hope we see him in Yellow before he retires.

  • eddy

    Hincapie doesnt even get close to the class of Zoetemelk……Hincapie didnt finish his first tour de france , Zoetemelk became second in his first……

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Yes, but Hincapie has a better line of technical cycling gear. Remember, there isn't any Zoetemelkware. Matt