August 31, 2009
Hincapie takes US title
Garmin-Slipstream's Dave Zabriskie launched the race with a blistering attack that's become almost as much a Greenville tradition as his metronomic victories in the Saturday time trial. Dave Z's pace shed a lot of riders, but he was recaptured at around the halfway point and the pace settled down a bit.
On the final climb of Paris Mountain, an 8-man group rode away from the field, featuring Hincapie, Andrew Bajadali and Matthew Busche of Kelly Benefits, Jeff Louder and Brent Bookwalter of BMC (rumored to be Hincapie's 2010 team), Patrick McCarty of Ouch, Phil Zajicek of Fly V Australia, and Chris Jones of Team Type 1, who had already spent a lot of time off the front.
Missing that break were all of Garmin-Slipstream and Bissell's riders, and a group of 9 chased less than a minute behind Hincapie, but could never close the gap. On the final short circuit of around 4 miles, Jeff Louder launched a solo move, but Hincapie and Bajadali matched it in the last kilometer. Bajadali tried to launch the sprint from a long way out, and Hincapie came around him on the downhill finishing straight for the title.
Hincapie was mobbed about 50 meters beyond the finish, even before the course was neutralized, by around 100 fans. He spoke fondly of his adopted hometown and what it means to him to win on his home roads, before Steve Johnson of USA Cycling and Greenville Mayor Knox White announced that the race weekend will return in 2010.
I've posted a few pictures to a Flickr photoset, with more to come.
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