Some things I think will never actually happen, like George Hincapie retiring. I reread the headline twice - George, are they sure, George? Yes, George's 19-year season will come to an end this year after the Tour de France and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado. The day has come - Big George is retiring.
Hincapie announces retirement by CyclingNews
George Hincapie set a number of new records so far this year - he raced the Tour of Flanders for a 17th time, the Paris-Roubaix for a 17th time, and he will race the Tour de France for a 17th time when July rolls around. Nine of those 16 times he raced the TDF, he helped a teammate win the yellow jersey. George is also a 5-time Olympian, and a 3-time National Road Race Champion, and a father of two (this achievement probably should have been listed first in order).
CyclingNews.com quoted George as saying, "I want to go out while I can still contribute and make a difference." This seems to me to be an odd comment from a man who has contributed not only to the outcome of races, but to forming the BMC cycling team, and has set an example for a number of young riders rising under his rank. George's family is so enmeshed in this sport they contribute to a U23 team, manufacture team clothing and cycling apparel, and aid in numerous fundraisers and events. The cycling community has become dependent upon the Hincapies (?Hincapi). I hope that George understands the impact he has had on the lives of people he may never have met. That kind of contribution doesn't just stop when the racing stops.
I think we can easily say George could go out on top and contribute, George could go out on bottom and contribute, George has contributed, George will contribute. What is worth reflecting upon is that a 39-year old man is himself reflecting upon his personal contribution, what he has done, what he intends to do. Something we all do a few times in our lives. Yet well-known athletes make their decisions and adjustments in public. Every cyclist walks this path of achievement and then reinvention. George Hincapie has left some big footprints down that path and will continue to do so. <
Thanks George, thanks from a fan who was first inspired to learn about road cycling because of you. You certainly changed my life, I hope the next steps you take in life will bring you happiness and joy, as you have given to so many others, all these long successful years. Looking forward to seeing you at both the Tour de France and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge this year, and for many years - as a fan yourself perhaps.
A collection of recent Pedal Dancer images of George from the 2012 Amgen Tour of California, May 2012. click any image to enlarge
|George waiting for the ITT at ATOC Photo ©by PedalDancer.com/Willie Reichenstein|
|The rider everyone knew and admired - George Hincapie Photo ©by PedalDancer.com/Karen|
|George Hincapie getting ready to race the clock Photo ©by PedalDancer.com/Karen|
|How many times has he looked down that ramp? Photo ©by PedalDancer.com/Karen|
|George racing the ITT Photo ©by PedalDancer.com/Willie Reichenstein|
|George Hincapie and his BMC time machine Photo ©by PedalDancer.com/Karen|
|A hot one after the Stage 5 ITT Photo ©by PedalDancer.com/Karen|
|George Hincapie arrives for the start of Stage 6 Photo ©by PedalDancer.com/Karen|
|Peter Velits, Ricardo Hincapie, Bert Grabsch, and George Hincapie Photo ©by PedalDancer.com/Karen|
|George and his father Ricardo Photo ©by PedalDancer.com/Karen|
|George Hincapie at Stage 6 start Photo ©by PedalDancer.com/Karen|
|George ready to sign-in in Palmdale Photo ©by PedalDancer.com/Karen|
|George climbing with the Peloton, Amgen Tour of California Photo ©by PedalDancer.com/Willie Reichenstein|
|George on Glendora Mountain Rd, Stage 7 Photo ©by PedalDancer.com/Karen|
|Tejay van Garderen and George Hincapie descending Mt Baldy Photo ©by PedalDancer.com/Karen|
|George rolls into Beverly Hills, Stage 8 Photo ©by PedalDancer.com/Willie Reichenstein|
|George Hincapie waves from the stage Photo ©by PedalDancer.com/Willie Reichenstein|
|George - forever a fan favorite Photo ©by PedalDancer.com/Willie Reichenstein|
|I think he'll miss this, I know we'll miss him. Photo ©by PedalDancer.com/Willie Reichenstein|
|George at the finish line of Stage 8 ATOC Photo ©by PedalDancer.com/Karen|
|A happy George in Los Angeles at the finish of another stage race Photo ©by PedalDancer.com/Karen|
|Thanks George! Photo ©by PedalDancer.com/Karen|
Can we get some mud for George
Hanging with the teams
BMC solid through 2016
Image of the Day: George Hincapie
For the love of a bike
Pictures that make me laugh: George!
Jerseys of the 2012 Tour of California (about Hincapie apparel)
All Pedal Dancer posts on George Hincapie: George Hincapie