Watching Filippo Pozzato’s uninspired racing tactics reminded me of another guy who plays it too safe. Yes, Filippo did a Hincapie in the Ronde.
I was a big fan of Geroge Hincape. I say that with an emphasis on the past tense. Every year at this time I’d start getting nervous for him, knowing something would inevitably go wrong again and he’d fail in the Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix. A crash, a ditch, flat tires, a moments inattention, a general unwillingness to race aggressively and take risks. Something always happens to George, no matter how good his legs are. The things that Lance would simply never let happen.
But I’ve let George go now, knowing his time has past. He’s never going to hoist that chunk of cobbled stone above his head in the Roubaix velodrome. I’m sad but resigned because Hincapie is a swell guy, a class act and he also married a beautiful podium girl which fills me with envy. I still want Geroge to win the Ronde or Roubaix; I just no longer have any hope or expectation.
You have to wonder what Pozzato was thinking. What — he’ll shadow Boonen and pray that all three Quick Steps simultaneously get flat tires on the Muur? That some freak accident takes out all three? That Patrick Lefevere chokes on some frites in the team car and out of respect for their fallen DS, Boonen and the boys stop riding? The only way Pozzato wins is to be the un-George. Attack, take a risk, ride for glory. At least have a story to tell at the finish line that’s better than “well, I stopped Boonen from winning so Devolder could win.”
Pozzato raced for nothing better than second place and got… fifth. Which was better than Hincapie who rolled in 34th. Ouch.