Hincapie heading for pastures new

George Hincapie descends, Tour de France 2009, stage 8

George Hincapie is set to part ways with the Columbia team at the end of this season, a team he has been a part of for the last two years.

The American, who spent 11 years riding for the US Postal/Discovery Channel outfits, is now widely considered to be moving to pastures new.

Since joining Columbia, Hincapie has become a key lead-out man for Mark Cavendish, a move which will certainly not be welcomed by the Manxman.

“I’m very happy at Columbia,” Hincapie told Cycle Sport in an up-coming interview, “but I’m definitely not set there.

“My contract is up and although at this point leaving Columbia would be very hard, at the same time I want to do what’s best for me, my family, my career and my company,” explained the 36-year-old American veteran.

Not just a lead-out man, Hincapie also helped to shepherd Cavendish over the climbs of Milan-San Remo earlier this year as the Manxman took his first win in the event.

Hincapie has since been linked to the burgeoning BMC team but refused to comment on the rumours.  

“I can't say any more because UCI rules mean that nothing can be announced until at least September 1. But I will still be riding next year, although I haven't decided what the focus will be and I don't know if I'll do the Tour next year.”

These comments appeared to corroborate the BMC rumours, as the team has yet to be confirmed for the Tour, but Hincapie continued: “I've done 14 years of the Tour and my body has come out pretty beaten and bruised so, for now, I'm not sure if I'll do another one.

“But I will definitely be racing the Classics, the Tour of California, and then we'll see where we go after that.”

See the November issue of Cycle Sport for an in-depth interview with George Hincapie, available in early October.   

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