News24

Hincapie to call it a day

2012-06-11 18:35

Paris - American rider George Hincapie, who is set to break the record of Tour de France participations next month, plans to retire later this summer, his BMC team announced on Monday.

Hincapie, who jointly holds the Tour de France record of 16 participations with Dutch rider Joop Zoetemelk, also competed in a record-equalling 17 Paris-Roubaix races and finished runner-up in 2005.

"This is definitely not a decision that has been easy," said Hincapie, who will also compete in his last race in the United States in August.

The New Yorker, who turns 39 later this month, is the only rider to have accompanied compatriot Lance Armstrong on his seven Tour de France wins from 1999 to 2005. Last year he was also helped Australian Cadel Evans win the race.

"I came to the conclusion that I want to go out while I can still contribute and make a difference," said the five-time Olympian.

"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."

He added that he hopes to stay involved in the BMC Racing Team and the sport in some capacity.

"I don't want to get completely out of cycling," he said. "But also know that I'm still feeling strong and healthy and ready to make a contribution to the team these last two months. I'm 100 percent motivated to help Cadel win another Tour."

Hincapie turned pro in 1994 and won three US national road racing titles, and also won the Gand-Wevelgem in 2001 and the GP West-France at Plouay in 2005.

He won a stage of the Tour de France in 2005, and wore the yellow jersey for a day in 2006 and helped Spaniard Alberto Contador to victory the following year.

AFP