George Hincapie’s long cycling career closes this year

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The record-setting cycling career of George Hincapie will end after the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado this August.

The 39-year-old member of the BMC Racing team made the announcement on Monday.

The August retirement will enable him to compete in his 17th Tour de France this year, the most ever by a cyclist.

Over that span at Le Tour, he’s helped teammates win the championship nine times — seven for Lance Armstrong, once for Alberto Contador and once for Cadel Evans. His team hopes he can help Evans defend his title this year as well.

In a statement from BMC Racing, Hincapie said:

“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.”

We’ll miss seeing Hincapie in the peloton during Tour broadcasts. He was always there, setting a pace for Armstrong through the mountain stages or driving the train near the finish to set up another stage win for Mark Cavendish.

He was more than a super-domestique during that time. He won Stage 15 at the 2005 Tour de France and wore the yellow jersey for a couple of days early in the 2006 race.

The Greenville, SC resident also earned the National Road Race Championship three times, twice on his home turf, and won many other races during his career.

He launched his career on the Motorola team, later riding for US Postal, Discovery Channel, and Team High Road (Columbia) before landing on BMC in 2010.

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