King of the queen stage
Revered man for the Classics, George Hincapie, looked a far better bet of winning Paris-Roubaix than a mountain stage of the Tour de France. But today, under an ulterior motive, he did the latter, outriding and outlasting his 13 other breakaway companions to win his first stage of the Tour de France - and the hardest one at that, as Anthony Tan reports from Pla d'Adet.
How did he do it?
"Initially, the beginning was very hard and there were a lot of attacks. We didn't say anything about me going in the break or anything at the [team] meeting, but I thought if I go in one of these breaks with 10, 12 guys, I'll be able to get a good gap and definitely be there for Lance on the last two climbs," he explained. "So I kind of decided by myself to go on my own in one of these breaks, get a gap and be there when he needed me.
"But we ended up getting 18 minutes and once Johan saw that, he said: 'Listen, George - you're probably not going to come back here now, you can do your own race. From then on, I started thinking about the win and thinking it was possible."
No, George - how did you do that?!
Hincapie smiled before answering: "Well, two things. There was the '99 Tour, and all of a sudden, we had to pull up these big climbs. I just went up as many mountains as I can, and every year, I seem to get a little bit better on the climbs."
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