George Hincapie: Veteran to End 19-Year Career in August

Michael HatamotoContributor IIIJune 11, 2012

ASPEN, CO - AUGUST 24:  George Hincapie of the USA riding for BMC Racing celebrates his victory in stage two of the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge from Gunnison to Aspen on August 24, 2011 in Aspen, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Veteran cyclist George Hincapie announced he will retire in August, ending a successful 19-year career in the professional peloton.

The 38-year-old will enjoy his birthday just one day before the start of the Tour de France, where he will look to help defending champion Cadel Evans win yet again.

“This is definitely not a decision that has been easy,” Hincapie confirmed in a press statement. 

“I came to the conclusion that I want to go out while I can still contribute and make a difference. 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.”

Hincapie, a longtime teammate of seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, also helped Evans capture the yellow jersey last year while riding for Team BMC. 

Hincapie is a three-time national US road race champion and has won stages in the Criterium du Dauphine Libere, team time trials in the Tour de France, San Francisco Grand Prix and Gent-Wevelgem. 

In an amazing show of overall fitness and mental toughness, he has 17 finishes at Paris-Roubaix and 17 finishes of Tour of Flanders under his belt—and will make his 17th start of the Tour de France in a few weeks. 

After years of training and racing, in addition to thousands of kilometers logged while training, his body will certainly enjoy a reprieve from racing professionally.

“George was the first big rider to believe in the BMC Racing Team,” said Jim Ochowicz, BMC Racing Team President. 

“He's led us through the past three years of the Classics and Grand Tour seasons as both a leader and a teammate. I am very proud that he was able to start as a professional with me on the Motorola team in 1994 and that I'm still with him at the end of his career. It's been an honor to bookend the career of one of the nicest people and one of the greatest cyclists America has ever produced."

Hincapie spent the majority of his career helping others towards cycling glory, while sacrificing his chances at victory.  He would turn himself inside out to help a teammate fight for contention in a spring classics race, or during a grand tour -- it didn't matter where and when he would have to ride, but it was guaranteed he would show up ready to race.

In addition to his strong riding resume, Hincapie has largely avoided any of the doping drama that has ensnared several teammates, including Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis, and Lance Armstrong.

The American cyclist is retiring from active racing but will still be an integral part of US rider development.  He’ll still lead the Hincapie Sportswear Company, along with participating in the BMC-Hincapie Sportswear Development Cycling Team—a team dedicated to fostering new US riders.