George Hincapie has been drafted into the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team's lineup for this year's Giro d'Italia, which commences this Saturday, as a replacement for Tomas Vaitkus. The American was slated on the team's roster after the Lithuanian decided to sit the event out and focus on recovering from a persistent knee injury.
Hincapie will also contest the Dauphine Libéré and Tour de France with his American ProTour squad, Discovery Channel announced. The 33 year-old is believed to have fully recovered after breaking his wrist at the Tour of California in February, where he won stages two and five last year.
"We are obviously happy to have George on this Giro team because it means he has recovered from his injury and is back on form. Anytime you can add a rider like George to a grand tour squad, you don't hesitate," said sports director Johan Bruyneel. "Tomas' injury is more of the nagging variety so with this change, he'll get some much-needed time to bring the knee back stronger."
Contesting the Giro d'Italia will be a new experienced for the popular American rider, with Hincapie's Tour de France lead up usually consisting of a classics campaign followed by the Dauphine Libéré then the Tour. In fact, despite having contested the Tour de France 11 times and the Vuelta a España twice, this will be Hincapie's first outing at the Italian Grand Tour.
The reigning US National Road Racing champion enjoyed a strong return to the pro peloton at the Tour de Georgia, with a third-place Stage 6 finish before going on to finish 20th overall.