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September 04, 2006

Hincapie takes US title

Your podium
Your podium,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.
Discovery Channel's George Hincapie took the biggest win of his season yesterday, winning the US road race championship.

WIth a new course that covered roads near his house on Paris Mountain, and a new format that excluded amateurs and non-U.S. riders, Hincapie had only Jason McCartney as official team support, but Dave Zabriskie and Levi Leipheimer (about to join Discovery Channel) acted as de facto teammates.

McCartney and Zabriskie pushed the pace hard on the day's first trip up Paris Mountain, and -- boom! -- 40 riders were dropped. Next trip up the mountain, another 30 were shed. On the day, only 31 riders would complete the race.

The Hincapies
Happy family,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.
TIAA-CREF was the biggest team in the field, and placed 6 riders in the final 17 who led the pack in the 4th lap. Over the top of the mountain, only 9 riders survived, including TIAA-CREF's Danny Pate and Blake Caldwell, Navigators' Phil Zajicek and Burke Swindlehurst, Jelly Belly's Andy Bajadali, defending champ Chris Wherry of Toyota-United, KodakGallery's Ben Jacques-Maynes, Leipheimer, and Hincapie. The gap to the rest of the field was so large that only these 9 were allowed to enter the final circuit, with another 22 given prorated times.

Lead trio enters town
Leaders coming into town,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.
On the day's final trip up Paris Mountain, everyone knew Leipheimer, who last week set a new record for the climb at 8:54, and Hincapie would go for broke, and Hincapie got a 15-second gap at the summit. On the way into the city, Bajadali and Leipheimer recaptured Hincapie, and the trio worked together briefly, before Hincapie launched on the finishing circuits, and Leipheimer could see that Bajadali was through.

He bridged up to Hincapie and did most of the work on the last lap, before Hincapie attacked in the last kilometer, taking a 10-second lead that would hold up to the finish.

I've got a Flickr photoset up with about 60 pictures from the day, including Hincapie kissing podium girl Melanie Hincapie, the Hincapie family celebrating at the start/finish, the Hincapies with their daughter, action shots of Zabriskie, Leipheimer , and Hincapie.

There's also a USA Cycling Pro Championships pool.

Also:

CyclingNews | USA Cycling Pro championships | results | photo gallery

VeloNews | Hincapie wins U.S. pro road crown

Posted by Frank Steele on September 4, 2006 in Dave Zabriskie, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Podium Girls, Top Stories | Permalink

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Comments

I am still getting over the excitement of such a great race weekend here in Greenville. It was very cool to see top pros compete on the same roads that I regularly ride. Check out some of my pictures from the weekend as well:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jctdesign/tags/uspro/

Posted by: James at Sep 4, 2006 1:27:03 PM