USA's George Hincapie was near the top step of the Paris-Roubaix podium three years ago, and has seen the race slip out of his hands in numerous other editions. However, as Gregor Brown of Cyclingnews discovered, the 34 year-old rider is ready to conquer Hell as part of his new Team High Road.
The most vivid memories fans have of the rider who resides in Greenville, South Carolina, are of him slipping into a muddy ditch in 2002 and of his steer snapping in 2006, but they are wise not to forget 2005. Three years ago, he nearly won the 'Hell of the North' when he made the winning move of four, only to be bettered in the sprint by his former team-mate, Tom Boonen.
Last year he was side-lined from his favourite event due to a wrist injury sustained in the Tour of California. However, the new year promises many changes for Hincapie, thanks to switching from Discovery Channel to High Road.
"We have a great team, guys that can work, guys that have won Paris-Roubaix before. I hope that I have good legs and that the team will work for me so that I can remain in the front and finally win," said a confident looking Hincapie in his new team gear.
"The team is great," he confirmed while readying to go on a training ride with his mates, the day before Sunday's 259.5-kilometre Paris-Roubaix. "The riders are fun to be with – strong riders, experienced riders. I am really enjoying my time with Team High Road."
Hincapie proved his form was on target in Three Days De Panne and then in the Ronde van Vlaanderen. In the latter, he rode aggressively and had the team support he needed, notably from Bernhard Eisel.
My confidence is "not really higher [after Ronde]. I had planned on being good this week. In Flanders, I did not have a super day but I rode good – I rode aggressively. I hope I have a super day tomorrow, and I can do that much better."
He downplayed his race in Belgium last Sunday even though he had suffered with the favourites in conditions that included snow and hail, eventually going on to finish fifth.
To read the full interview, click here.