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July 17, 2005

Big George! Hincapie takes Tour queen stage

Hink's stage win
George Hincapie took a brilliant stage win on the hardest day of the 2005 Tour de France, climbing away on the ascent of Pla d'Adet.

Hincapie, who has ridden with Lance Armstrong in each of his 6 consecutive Tour victories, got his first career stage win in 10 years riding the Tour. He got into a 14-man breakaway with an eye toward being up the road late in the stage to provide Armstrong with some help, and was able to take it easy in the break.

When the time came, and the climbers launched attacks to eliminate the break's remnants, Hincapie covered them all, and was left shadowing only Phonak's Oscar Pereiro with the finish line in sight. When Hink wound it up, Pereiro couldn't match the big man's finishing sprint.

Hincapie became the 8th American with a stage win, joining Greg Lemond, Davis Phinney, Jeff Pierce, Andy Hampsten, Lance Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton, and Dave Zabriskie.

Armstrong held position, finishing with Ivan Basso, and gaining time on every other GC threat.

Jan Ullrich lost 1:25 on Basso and Armstrong.

Top 10:

1) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, in 6:06:38
2) Oscar Pereiro, Phonak, at :07
3) Pietro Caucchioli, Credit Agricole, at :37
4) Michael Boogerd, Rabobank, at :57
5) Laurent Brochard, Bouygues Telecom, at 2:19
6) Ivan Basso, CSC, at 5:03
7) Lance Armstrong, Discovery Channel, same time
8) Oscar Sevilla, T-Mobile, at 6:28
9) Jan Ullrich, T-Mobile, same time
10) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, at 6:31

Posted by Frank Steele on July 17, 2005 in George Hincapie, Oscar Pereiro, Stage results, Top Stories | Permalink


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» Hincapie wins mountain stage; Armstrong firm grasp on lead from Biking Bis - Bicycle Touring and More

US cyclist George Hincapie pulled off one of the most surprising moves of the Tour de France this year by winning Sunday's grueling 127-mile stage over six mounta... [Read More]

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» Hincapie Wins the Queen Stage of the 2005 Tour from Operation Gadget
I haven't focused on stage results in covering the The Tour de France this year, but I wanted to salute George Hincapie who won his first ever Tour de France stage today at the summit of Pla d'Adet. As many... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 18, 2005 4:15:02 AM


Congrats George!!

You earned it and you deserve it.

Be sure to sign the guest book at George's site:

Posted by: Devans at Jul 17, 2005 11:40:05 AM


Posted by: Mary Leon at Jul 17, 2005 12:04:39 PM

"When Armstrong wound it up, Pereiro couldn't match the big man's finishing sprint." We're more used to saying "Armstrong" than we realize!

Brilliant win, George!

Posted by: Freddy at Jul 17, 2005 12:35:53 PM

I agree with Freddy. We're too used to using Lance to carry our hopes and dreams. Please do George a favor and edit that so it reads properly. Thanks.

Posted by: Pat at Jul 17, 2005 12:42:26 PM

Done. I think Liggett cursed me when he called Hincapie Armstrong.

As penance, I'll post my up-close picture of Hincapie from the 1996 Olympics.

Posted by: Frank at Jul 17, 2005 12:50:04 PM

George, you rule! Totally proud of you, man!
I'm going to have to watch the replay of the show tonight...btw, Bob Roll still hasn't won anything. Darn it.

Posted by: voodoo at Jul 17, 2005 5:15:16 PM

It's great to see George get some long overdue acclaim and attention, but ... had the roles been reversed and a beloved American rider had towed someone else over 4 mountain passes, with the other guy refusing ever to take a pull, sitting on the whole day, then coming around at the end, we'd be howling and ripping the character of a rider who'd do that.

"But my guy is ahead of your guy on GC so I don't have to work with you" might wash if Pereiro had been a threat to Lance's GC standing, but he was not.

"I'd be just as happy if we're get caught by the chasers, because I'd rather have my team leader in that group contest the stage than me myself", disingenuous though it would have been, might have had some credibility over the 1st three climbs, but doesn't cover the final climb.

Sure Pereiro could and should have been more assertive in protecting his own interests. But this is a sport of unwritten rules, of class and sporting honor, where riders don't attack to win races while other suffer mechanical difficulties, or even from a crash (like Lance and Ullrich, and Ullrich and Lance), where it matters not just that you win, but how you win. Even in an otherwise meaningless weekend club race, a guy who pulled something like that would be shunned, or worse, wind up in a ditch the next race.

It's great to win. But it's important to win with class and good form.

Posted by: Anon at Jul 17, 2005 5:18:11 PM

Well, "Anon" said it a little more crassly than I might've chosen but it's what I was thinking as they were heading for the finish line.

Pereira worked his ass off today and has been working hard throughout this whole Tour. He certainly deserved the stage.

On the other hand, how can anyone begrudge George Hincapie his first Tour victory?

He was damned if he did (by Anon), and damned if he didn't (by Bruyneel and so many others).

Posted by: Rex Casteel at Jul 17, 2005 6:22:46 PM

Does anyone know the answer to this:

What is the highest percentage of riders from USA in the top 20? I'm going to have to get all my books out to check.

Right now, in GC, the country list shows:

USA 5 riders

If this holds out until the end, is one-quarter of the top 20 the highest the USA has had? I don't know. Also, it could be 30% of the top 10 (also higher than the other countries; poor France, it hasn't been a nice time recently for them).

Posted by: jerome at Jul 17, 2005 7:23:46 PM

To Anon and the other "honor" nuts... In a race the key is to win, if your opponent is dumb enough to lead out the whole race and let you tag till the end, so what. Pereiro always had two other options available to him, fall back or pull away from George.

I don't really care for Hincapie or Pereiro. I do respect a winner, and after the race I respect Hincapie a hell of a lot more than I do Pereiro.

Posted by: Thomas at Jul 17, 2005 10:02:48 PM


Anyone who has been observing cycling for more than a few minutes should know that this kind of activity has occured since the first cycle race (sometime before I was born, I think). The awesome Miguel was a specialist at this kind of tactic. Oh, yeah, the word tactic is important. If a tactic is an activity (mental leading to physical) that you exercise to give yourself an advantage, then saying you will help pull on a climb, and then sitting on a wheel, is a pretty impressive tactic; that is, if it works. Obviously it did. European peloton experience wins again over whining.

Imagine if the sport was governed by "Gentlemenly Regulations" instead of tactics. You think it's boring now.

Posted by: jerome at Jul 17, 2005 10:38:20 PM

The way Hincapie won the 15th stage, he showed one thing: that he is a total disgrace. Then when he gets interviewed, he gets emotional and tries to mimic Totschnig. Hincapie, you do not even come close to a man like Totschnig or Pereiro......

Posted by: Stayer at Jul 18, 2005 6:21:08 AM

What the heck are your guys crying about (Jerome). Hincapie has been the unltimate team player for a long time. He has done his duty time & time again. Don't start crying because you think, (Think) he didn't work. He deserved the win, it was a great win, he used his brain.
Yea, Pereira did work his behind off, but for him to start crying to Hincapie to work, hoping that it would zap his energy for the final sprint was a crazy suggestion. Pereira knew he was beat, 5K from the line.
The bottom line is that, no one deserves to win, no matter how much they have worked, or how long, or how many years they have been riding in the Tour. Please let me know when they stop calling it a race. This isn't little league where they want everyone to play & everyone to win, no matter how good or bad they play, kumb bi yah lets give everybody a trophy.

Posted by: Will at Jul 18, 2005 9:12:02 AM

Pereiro is 140#, Hincapie is 175#.
If Pereiro wanted the win he should have dropped Hincapie on the climb. (And it's not as if the entire peloton hasn't been sucking Hincapie's wheel for 6 years.)

Posted by: Out4Blood at Jul 18, 2005 9:44:40 AM

This is racing. Even the unwritten rules of not attacking during a feed or if a leader crashes go out the door sometimes. If you've ever raced or watched racing for more than an hour, that this type of tactic goes on everyday. Credit where credit is due: George has been the perfect team rider, giving his FULL support to someone elses wins. His tactics today were perfect. He rode for the team. And being towed up a hill is not the same as being towed accross a flat or rolling stage. Even the great Eddy Merckx talks of using deceptive race tactics. While he's well known for his vicious attacks, he talks about (in one of his books) acting tired, not taking pulls, looking extra dirty and beat, to conserve energy to win the race.

If only the people who worked the whole stage get to win, then we'd never get a sprinter to win a race. It's not always about who is stongest through the day, but the rider who is the smartest gets the win. George made a tatical mistake at Paris-Roubaix (though I don't know what he could have done differently except maybe attack at 1k to go) that put him in second there. Yesterday he rode perfect.

I think every rider has been taken by this type of tactic, and has used this tactic. From the greats to the local club rides.


Posted by: gundog99 at Jul 18, 2005 10:13:44 AM

Excellent and respectful argument on both sides. Personally, I loved to see Hincapie win and can forgive him the nature of it because of his years spent in the service of others.

Posted by: Mark R. Carver at Jul 18, 2005 1:45:15 PM

While i am happy that Hincapie won the stage, there is a black on him for not having doen his share of the pulling. He let Pereiro do all the work. It would have been proper for the last 3K for them to have shared and then let the "best man" win. Nonetheless congratulations to hincapie.

Posted by: giovanni at Jul 18, 2005 2:48:42 PM

In George's entire career riding the Tour this may have been his one and only chance to win a stage. And he does. And what does he get for it. A bunch of arm chair Monday morning quarterbacks pissing on his one moment.

Pereiro was neither strong enough to pull away from a bigger sprinter on the 6th climb of the day after almost six hours or riding, nor was he strong enough to out sprint George in the last couple hundred meters. Knowing if he pulled George he would lose the stage in the sprint, Pereiro pulled anyway. Nice tactic, way to use your brain.

If you want the stage win, drop the guy behind you who shouldn't be able to stay on your wheel on a climb. If you can't drop him, and you decide to "pull" him up the mountain, whatever the hell that means on that steep a grade on the final climb, then STFU when the sprinter beats you on a sprint.

Pereiro didn't deserve to win. He couldn't out climb a bigger man, he couldn't outsprint him either, and he certainly couldn't out fox or out think him. Why the hell should he have been given a "sporting" chance to be gifted a stage?

Posted by: Trée at Jul 18, 2005 3:25:22 PM

What does everyone mean by pulling when we're talking about a climb? It's not like there's a noticable draft to tuck behind. So what work is being done that should have been shared? Do these people even ride bikes? or is everyon just spouting off what the announcers and sports writers are putting out there? What's his face should have rode Hincapie off his wheel if he felt he should get the win. Oh wait... he wasn't strong enough. It's not like you can pull somone up a climb. You can pace someone, but if you're truely stronger you lift the pace and drop the guy.

Even if this was a flat stage, George won, hands down! Now I just hope he takes Paris-Roubaix next year.

Posted by: gundog99 at Jul 18, 2005 3:41:05 PM

Way to go George! How many times have we seen Robbie McEwen ride the wheel of Team Discovery Channel the entire race, just to sprint to the win at the las 100M. Hincapie was stronger and smarter. Pereiro couldn't have won even if George had taken a pull on the final climb and he new that. Way to go George!

Posted by: BHT at Jul 18, 2005 3:52:15 PM